4 Steps to Planning High School at Home

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When we began thinking about high school, it was a little daunting to us.  We had been homeschooling for years, but the thought of doing high school meant that we would have to make transcripts, assign high school credit and other things that we did not yet know how to do.

 I checked out some high school blogs, and talked with my friends, to get advice from them on where to start.  That helped a lot.  And we also continued with some of our curriculum favorites from our middle school years....

We went ahead and homeschooled all the way, and I am so glad that we did.  My daughter is in college now, studying leadership and communications. She is loving it!  Homeschooling prepared her well, and kept our family relationships strong, throughout the important teen years.

Today I'd like to share 4 steps for planning high school at home, based on our experience doing just that.  

Let's start with looking at the -:Core Studies and Graduation Requirements

Then, secondly, let's look at how your teen's special interests and how they can help you craft your high school planning.  

Next, let's talk about curriculum, then...

Finally, let's talk about the value of making an overall plan, or your best guesses for what to do for the high school years at home...

 Homeschooling high school is really not that hard! 

1. Core Studies and Graduation Requirements

When I talked with my homeschool friends about high school, they said to start at the end, not the beginning..

What?  Start at the ending?  

They recommended looking at where my teen might be heading, once she graduated from our homeschool.  By looking at what your teen will need to graduate, that will tell you what core courses will be needed, and that is a good starting point.

Since my daughter wanted to go to college, we researched the college entrance requirements at a few colleges that she might like to attend.  That gave us a list of core studies that she needed to complete.  I am writing an ebook all about that.

If your teen is not heading to college, you will likely have A Lot of leeway, as to what courses to do in high school.

Most states give the parents a lot of choice as to what to study during the high school years, and when to graduate your student from homeschool.  But some states do not.

So it's important to know the Homeschool Graduation Requirements for your state.  That way, we would know what was required, then we could add in all the extras, like electives, field trips, etc.

Here's resources for that, but keep in mind....many states do not set out a specific list of homeschool graduation requirements....

To find out more about homeschooling in your state, I suggest connecting with your state homeschooling group. This link lists all of them, throughout our country.

In WA state, for example, we got to decide these for ourselves.  But if your state has requirements for homeschool graduation, it is good to know that first.

Our second step was to consider what special interests my teen had, or was interested in developing...

2.  Special Interests and Electives 

Irish Dance served as an elective.
My husband and I talked alot with our daughter about her needs and interests.  My teen was excited about learning video-making, doing some photography, and taking irish dance classes.  We made sure to leave lots of room in our plan for developing these interests.  If your teen doesn't know what they are interested in yet, they will have plenty of time to discover that during their high school years.

Don't forget the play and electives, too.

What are your teen's interests and gifts?  High school at home allows us to foster, grow, and encourage them!  And homeschooling gives your teen lots more time to explore their own interests and discover their talents and gifts.

High school electives and activities can also help with getting into college, and my ebook will have more info. on that.

Thirdly, here's how we chose our high school curriculum...

3.  Choosing Curriculum

Searching for curricula - start with your old favorites first.

We explored around, as usual, choosing the textbooks, living books, and/or online courses that seemed to be a good fit for our teen.  We worked to meet our teen's interests and along with her college entrance requirements, since she wanted to go to college.  And we found that it wasn't hard to do....

She needed to complete her requirements in the basic subjects (LA, social studies, math and science).  But, we still did not forget about her interests.  They framed her electives.  

Field Trips are important too.  
We did a course in Government for one of her social studies requirements, and did activities centering around this interest as well.  And video making became more than one of her homemade electives.  All of her outside activities centered around her interests.

Now for finding curricula and other resources for your core courses....

Here's a resource that got us started in our search:

- CURRICULUM DIRECTORY at Let's Homeschool High School

This curriculum directory for high school is the most complete one I have seen!  And it includes TONS of links!

I share our favorite high school curicula, and some from my friends in my ebook, too.

Finally, we went about setting up our best guesses for making an overall high school plan.....

4.  Making an Overall Plan

Involve your teen in the process.

One thing that really helped us, was to create an overall plan for high school.  Of course, it was tweeted many times....

We just made our best guesses for what to do when...and wrote it out on notebook paper.  This helped me to feel confident, as I knew that I would not forget something that my daughter needed to get done before graduation.

I have tons more posts on high school on Pinterest, too:

Homeschooling high school yielded us so many gifts, for my daughter, for our family, and for her high school education.

Homeschooling high school is a gift to you, your teen, and your family.  

What are your favorite ways to begin planning for high school?  I love getting your comments,  and they can help encourage other families as well.  

Have you seen my book on college yet?

Get my best tips on college from a homeschool perspective!  Make your high school planning easier! 

Kindle and Paperback are on Amazon

Here's my book that I mentioned above  -  Homeschooling High School with College in Mind.

Note - This post may included affiliate links to products that we love and have used or would use in our  own homeschool. Please see my disclosure policy.   

Heidi, from Starts at Eight says:

"If you are planning on homeschooling high school then Betsy's book is the one that you want to have on the shelf"......click here to read the rest of her review."
Available on Amazon

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Thanks for stopping by BJ's Homeschool,


Betsy is mom to her now college junior, whom she homeschooled from day one.  She blogs at BJ's Homeschool, about the early yearshigh school & college and wrote the book - Homeschooling High School with College in Mind.   She offers free homeschool help through messages at BJ's Consulting

Want to stay in touch?  

Subscribers will get the first chapter free! 

Click here to get yours!

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