It’s the last day of the 5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents Blog Hop! I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have. Today, I want to share some things I’ve learned about homeschooling high school. My oldest son is about to graduate, and I can’t believe we are at the end of our official homeschool journey! While I am so very proud of him and all that he has accomplished, it is a bittersweet moment, as I am sad about watching him move on, and I will miss having him home with me every day. However, getting him ready to start his own life has always been the goal, and I am excited for his future. These are a few of the things I would advise anyone getting ready to start high school to do:
1. Get Familiar with Your State Graduation Requirements: If your child is college bound, it will benefit you both to become familiar with your state graduation requirements. In most cases, homeschoolers are not bound to follow any state curriculum, however, state graduation requirements are written to generally line up with college expectations. For Florida, the Department of Education website has graduation requirements spelled out by year. When my son was in 9th grade, I found the expectations for his year of graduation and printed them out, then used these as a guide to plan his curriculum, making sure he had the same amount of general credits in English, Math, etc. for his transcript.
2. Find Some Method For Keeping Track of Your Classes: If you haven’t had some method for keeping track of regular grades and classes up until this point, you really should find one. It will make it much easier to create a high school transcript later on. You can use your computer to make your own system, print out a record form and keep notes by hand, or use an online system such as Homeschool Skedtrack or Homeschool Minder to help you stay on track. These are not the only options by far, there are tons of them out there. The point is, find one that is simple and easy for you to use and stay on top of it. Choose one day a week where you devote one hour to going in and entering information. TRUST ME, if you get too far behind you will feel overwhelmed and not do it, leading to a snowball effect. Also, make sure you back up your info somewhere. I had a computer totally crash on my son’s junior year and I lost a LOT of stuff. It was a disaster.
3. Keep an Eye Out for Dual-Enrollement : If you have a motivated student, watch for dual-enrollment opportunities. I am fortunate to live in a county where this program is offered free for all students. My son started taking dual-enrollment classes at the local community college as a sophomore, and he will graduate with quite a few credits (at least one full year of college). Now, here’s the thing, I never pushed him to do this, it was totally up to him, and I made him start with just ONE class because I wanted him to understand how much work it was. I don’t believe in making kids take on more than they are ready for. If he had decided not to do dual-enrollment, that would have been fine too, and every child is different. I have a feeling his younger brother may not be so into it, and that’s okay. But if your child WANTS to take it on, and you have access to it, go for it. It’s a great way to earn some credits and take care of some of those classes you don’t necessarily want to be in charge of.
4. Get Your Child Involved in Directing Their Learning: At this stage, my son was largely responsible for his at-home work. We went over his plan for the week on Monday, and he turned his work in on Friday and we went over everything and made sure it got done. I was always available for questions, but most of his work (we used MFW) was set up as more self-directed. I read the notes at the beginning of the week, and went over the things I needed to with him, but he was taking responsibility for himself at this point, which was good preparation for college.
5. Plan for Testing: Decide which tests your child needs to take. This largely depends on which path they decide to pursue. Some colleges put more preference on the ACT vs. the SAT while others are leaning towards their own tests now. At the end of their sophomore year, start thinking about where you child might want to go to school and look into what their options are. Schedule their first test for early in the junior year so they have plenty of time to retake it if they need to. Also, be aware, the tests are costly! So plan for that too.
6. Make Time for Fun! : You are nearing the end of your homeschool journey, and if it’s anything like mine, it’s been full of crazy, fun times. High school was stressful for me, but take some time to enjoy it, because your child really is growing up now. Earlier this year my son and I took a week to go up North and visit some colleges. Just me and him. It was really nice to have some time alone with my almost grown up boy. Sometimes, out of the corner of my eye, I swear I could still see that little kid that used to grab my hand and beg me to carry him when his legs got tired. Sometimes I still miss those days!
It’s been a lot of fun sharing with you this week. Be sure to check out the posts from other crew members today here:
Annette @ A Net In Time
Brenda @ Counting Pinecones
Carol @ Home Sweet Life
Cassandra @ A Glimpse of Normal
Chareen @ Every Bed of Roses
Cristi @ Through the Calm and Through the Storm
Crystal @ Crystal Starr
DaLynn @ Biblical Womanhood
Danielle @ Sensible Whimsy