Planning on homeschooling your teens? Here’s an authoritative guide on how to homeschool high school.
An Authoritative Guide on How to Homeschool High School
We 7Sisters have homeschooled our kids through graduation as well as advising hundreds of local homeschool high schoolers. We’ve got a system down that has become our *unofficial authoritative guide* for homeschooling high school.
As you prepare to homeschool your high schoolers, take a look at our guide. Use it to develop your own way to homeschool high school. (Remember: There’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school. If our way doesn’t work for your family, you can create your own process!)
Here’s How to Homeschooling High School
Step 1: Pray
As 7Sister Kym always says, “Pray first, last and always!” Families who are homeschooling high school need God’s guidance and help. It would be a hard task to homeschool without God’s help! Here are some of our thoughts on prayer and homeschooling high school.
Step 2: Set goals
As 7Sister Marilyn says, “Why would I give up all my free time to homeschool if I didn’t have goals?” Why are you homeschooling high school? Then that’s your main goal. What are the other goals that you and your teen want to accomplish by the time they graduate? Here are some of our ways to set goals for high school. (Don’t forget to invite your teens to participate in goal setting!)
- How to Write Goals for Homeschool High School
- Homeschool Goals: How to Set Them and Why Your Teen Should Be Involved
- Homeschool High School: WAY More Than Transcripts!
- Setting Your Educational Vision
- Homeschool High School Planning Part 1
- Homeschool High School Planning Part 2
- Plan Wisely for Homeschool Electives
Step 3: Choose courses that will meet graduation requirements
There are 26 or 27 basic credits that homeschool high schoolers need to include on their transcripts. However, as you choose your courses remember:
- Each state has specific requirement for graduation (check Homeschool Legal Defense for your state’s requirements)
- Supervising organizations (like umbrella schools or charter schools) will have their own requirements
- Individual colleges will have different courses that they are looking for, check college websites for that information.
With those in mind, these posts will explain course requirement that will cover many students’ needs:
- Courses for Homeschool High School: What Needs to be Covered?
- 4 Necessary Types of Courses for the Homeschool Transcript
- What’s a Good High School Literature Course of Study?
- Must Include Electives for the Homeschool Transcript
- How to Choose the Best Electives
- 10 Tips for Turning Transcript Courses into Career Exploration
- Homeschool History and Social Studies Credits
- The Difference Between Extracurriculars and Electives
Step 3: Note the difference between college-bound transcript needs and non-college bound transcript needs
College-bound homeschool transcripts need some course that SPARKLE. These special courses help your homeschool high schoolers’ transcripts grab the attention of admissions officers. Here are some posts that explain choosing and naming these courses.
- Starting in 9th Grade: Making Transcripts College Attractive
- Why Generic Courses Aren’t Great on the Homeschool Transcript
- Making Sure Your Teens Get College Acceptance
Non-college-bound teens need to concentrate on other areas, like life and career preparation. Here are some posts with ideas for those teens:
- Planning Courses for Average Homeschool Teens
- Why Trade School?
- How to Create a Master Portfolio
- Is My Homeschool Student JUST Average?
Step 4: Decide how each credit will be earned
This is the big one! Will your teen use textbooks? Log hours for a Carnegie credit? Take a class online/in a co-op/at an umbrella school? As we always say: There’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school. Choose what is best for your teens. Here are some posts to make those choices:
- How to Prove Your Credits Mean Something on the Homeschool Transcript
- Combining Credits: Literature, History, Elective, Fine Arts
- Combining Credits: Literature, Geography, History, Writing
- Combining Credits: Literature, History, Art
- Pros and Cons of Taking College Courses in High School
- How to Power Up the Rigor of Average-Level Courses
- 3 Types of Language Arts Learners
- What Are Umbrella Schools?
Step 5: Choose courses and experiences to develop your teens’ strengths
Use the higher levels of rigor (such as College-Prep Level, Advanced Level and Honors Level) to build on your homeschool high schoolers’ strengths. This helps your teens to grow intellectually (and personally, as they stretch their abilities). Here are some posts that explain levels of rigor.
- Homeschool High School Transcripts: Course Level Do’s and Don’t’s
- How to Decide Levels on the Homeschool Transcript
- Showing Rigor on the Homeschool Transcript
Step 6: Choose courses and experiences to explore your teens’ interests and values (Career Exploration)
You don’t have time to not have time for Career Exploration. Much of what homeschooling high school is about is helping your teens explore their interests and values. What is important to them? What are their God-given gifts? What have they discovered about themselves so far? What do they need to know? Here are some posts to help you take next steps with Career Exploration:
- Why Waste High School Credits on Career Exploration?
- Can Your Teens Count Jobs as Career Exploration?
- Practical List of Career Exploration Electives
- 10 Tips for Career Exploration for Teens
Step 7: Choose courses and experiences to help your teens explore their callings
As 7Sister Vicki says, “You were created on purpose, for purpose!” Understanding God’s callings for your teens lives is a lifetime process, but they should get started in high school. Here are some thoughts about helping your teens explore their callings:
Step 8: Choose courses and experiences that develop character
When you homeschool high school your teens, you can teach them, as part of their education, skills that truly matter. Here are some posts about character building:
- Training Teens to be Ladies and Gentlemen
- 3 Character-Building Ways to Enhance the Transcript
- Character Development: Teach Your Teens to Time Audit
- Raising Teens Who Care
- 3 Ways to Help Teens Think of Others More than Selves
Step 9: Choose curriculum
You’ve got lots of ideas! Now it is time to choose your curriculum! This is a lot of fun…and a lot of pressure. Think about what is best for your family’s interests, abilities, budget and lifestyles. And remember: Just because one particular curriculum works for your friends, doesn’t mean YOU must use it. There’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school!
- How to Individualize the Curriculum for a 9th Grader
- How to Individualize the Curriculum for a 10th Grader
- How to Create a Powerful 11th Grade Year
- How to Make the Most of the 12th Grade Year on the Homeschool Transcript
- 5 Factors for Helping You Choose High School Curriculum
- How do eTextbooks Work and Why You Should Use Them
Step 10: Develop life and college or career preparation skills
Homeschool high school years are the time for life and career and college prep. There’s so much to learn. Here are a few skills:
- Teach Teens to be Thinkers, Not Parrots
- 5 Skills That Matter More Than the Homeschool Transcript
- Life Preparation Skills
- 5 Skills Teens Need Because They Will Become Leaders Somewhere
- 5 Practical Ways to Teach Teens to be Culture Creators
Step 11: Create a syllabus and/or course description for each course and keep them in a Master Portfolio
You need a syllabus and/or a course description for each course. You may keep them anywhere (a crate or binder). We suggest you create a Master Portfolio and include these in it. Here are the how-to’s on syllabi, course descriptions and Master Portfolios.
Step 12: Start a transcript
To work on the transcript, you will need to decide order of courses for each year, where to include extracurriculars, service hours, competitions, testing and how you will compute the GPA. Here are some posts to help with that:
- The Perfect Homeschool Transcript
- 2 Ways to Figure the GPA on the Homeschool Transcript
- GPA: Weighted or Not?
- 3 Things That Give Transcripts Sparkle Appeal
- Did We Miss Anything? Plugging the Holes in the Homeschool Transcript
- Why Your Teen Needs to List Competitions on the Homeschool Transcript
- 7 Tips for a Professional-Looking Transcript
- Should You Include Religion on the Homeschool Transcript?
- What are Extracurriculars on the Homeschool Transcript?
- What are Electives on the Homeschool Transcript?
Step 13: Decide how to assign grades for each course
We often get questions on how to grade assignments and how to assign grades for courses. This can feel overwhelming if you’re worried that there’s only one right way to do it. Think about your goals for each student. The grading process may look a little different for each one. Here are some posts that will help you decide how to grade:
- How to Score Tests in Homeschool High School
- Rubric for Grading Papers in Non-Language Arts Courses (7Sisters Writing curricula includes rubrics)
- 3 Ways to Assign Grades in Homeschool High School
Step 14: Set up a plan and a schedule (but stay flexible with it)
Homeschool high school is a busy lifestyle. If you don’t create a good schedule, you and/or your teens will get lost in the *forest of wasted time*. Here are some posts on planning and scheduling:
Step 15: Remain flexible
We can plan our ways but as we’ve often found out, things don’t always to our ways. It is God who directs our paths…and our teens’ paths. Sometimes you’ll end up ditching a curriculum, changing course formats, or dropping a course altogether. That’s okay! One benefit of homeschooling is being able to do what’s best at EACH moment. Here are some posts that help with flexibility:
Step 16: Do yearly reviews of your goals
Many homeschool high school families have a supervising organization or have reviewers by state regulations. That’s fine, but the most important reviewer is you. How are you and your teens doing with the goals you all have set? Here are some encouraging posts to help you do your own personal reviews:
- How to: Personal Goals-Review for Homeschool High School
- The WHY Question for a Yearly Evaluation of Your Homeschool
- Beware of the Desperate Need to Get it Right
Step 17: Decide if you will need PSATs, SATs or ACTs
Only college-bound teens need to take these tests. Some colleges are not requiring them any more. Here is some food for thought about whether to PSAT:
We 7Sisters have developed curriculum that teens like and helps them move toward the next phase of life. It is no-busywork and adaptable. Check out this post for more on what makes our downloadable curriculum a great fit for many homeschoolers.
For some excellent tips for start-up goals for your homeschool high school, check out this post from our friend, Marcy at Ben and Me.
Remember, God’s in charge of the outcome! Homeschooling high school: You CAN do it! Thank you for allowing your Sisters be part of the process. Thank you for being our 7th Sister!