How to Plan High School at Home - Updated

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Coming up on the high school years, I was more than a little nervous. We had been homeschooling for years, but the thought of doing high school at home gave me pause.  Yet, at the same time, my daughter was thriving in our homeschool.

So to find out more, I checked out some high school blogs, talked with my homeschool friends, and my sister, who had already graduated one of her kids. That helped a lot.  

We decided to go ahead and homeschool all the way and we am so glad that we did.  My daughter is a junior in college now, studying leadership and communications. She is loving it!  Homeschooling high school has prepared her well and kept our family relationships strong, through the all important teen years.

Today I'd like to share 4 steps for planning high school at home. 

Let's start with --- Graduation Requirements as knowing them can really help with your planning........

1. Graduation Requirements

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

What? 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 have more tips on determining what your teen will need when applying, in my book, below.  But basically, it is just a researching job, where you pick likely colleges, and check their websites for admission requirements.

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, just in case you are in one of those states that do have homeschool grad requirements.  That way, you would know what was required, then you could easily 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....In WA state, for example, we got to decide on all of our high school courses ourselves.

To find out more about this in your state, I suggest connecting with your state homeschooling group. This link lists all of them, throughout our country.  They usually have a website that includes this information.  

Important Note - You do NOT have to do the public school high school graduation requirements for your state, as a homeschooler.  

Re ---- Community College ----

Most community colleges will test your teen in math and english as an entrance requirement, but not all community colleges do that. 

Many also have early entrance available for students who are wanting to do dual credit, and finish up their high school years while taking community college classes.

Now that we finished talking about graduation requirements, our second step was to consider what special interests our teen had, or was interested in developing...

2.  Special Interests and Electives 

Irish Dance

My husband and I talked a lot 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.

Here is a list I made of more than 100 High School Electives and activities, if you are looking for ideas on that.  It includes a new high school video based art program here.

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.

Thirdly, here's some tips for choosing your high school curriculum...

3.  Choosing Curriculum

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 that hard to do....

My teen needed to complete her requirements in the basic subjects (LA, social studies, math, foreign language and science) and to meet the specifics for these that her colleges required for admission.  But, we still also focused on her her interests.  They framed her electives.  

Field Trips are important to us, too.  

For example, we did a course in Government for one of her social studies requirements and found some community activities centering around this interest as well.  And video making became more than one of her homemade electives. 

Here's two resources that got us started in our curriculum search:

-1. --- 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!

-2. --- THE CURRICULULUM CHOICE is full of curriculum reviews from a team of veteran homeschoolers, and I am honored to be one of them.

For more ideas on curricula, I share our favorites and many from my friends in my new book, which is mentioned below.

Finally, we went about setting up our best guesses for what courses to do when, in an overall high school plan.....

4.  Making Your 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 us to feel confident, as I knew that I would not forget something that my daughter needed to get done before graduation.  

My book also has a chapter on making an Overall High School Plan, with a printable for doing just that.

Homeschooling high school is a gift to you, your teen, and your family.  What are your favorite tips for planning high school?  I love getting your comments,  and they can help encourage other families as well.  

-----Do you think that your student might want to go to college?  

Here's my best post on that:

Some bloggers over simplify it.   

I wrote a guide to college, just for homeschoolers, which give you EVERYTHING that you need to know if your teen wants to go to college.  And it is NOT that hard, really.

 Kindle - Amazon 
In print - Amazon   
Get your PDF version on Educents (No Shipping!)

I have experience helping my teen get into a wide variety of colleges, from easy state colleges to hard to get into privates.  My book speaks to all of them.  

Why re-invent the wheel?

Each chapter has at least one high school planning printable....

...including a transcript form, the kind the colleges are used to seeing, ready for you to fill in.

Subscribers get the first chapter free! 

Click here to get yours!

More high school posts are on Pinterest here: Homeschooling High School Pinterest Board.

Also on the blog:

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!

This post was shared on my favorite linkups here.
Copyright @ BJ's Homeschool 2017 
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