Authoritative Guide to Planning Homeschool High School

You wouldn’t take a road trip without a destination. (Unless the destination was to NOT have a destination!) You shouldn’t homeschool without a destination, so here’s help: Authoritative Guide to Planning Homeschool High School.

Authoritative Guide to Planning Homeschool High School. Don't get stressed! Here's a comprehensive guide to goal setting and planning for homeschooling high school. #7SistersHomeschool #HomeschoolHighSchool #HomeschoolPlanning #PlanningForHighSchool #HomeschoolGoals

Authoritative Guide to Planning Homeschool High School

When I’m coaching homeschool parents and teens, I start with this illustration:

Let’s say your family is going on vacation. Everyone is excited and looking forward to the adventure and the break in routine. On the long awaited day, everyone merrily packs up the family car, climbs in, buckles up and heads toward the highway. When the car nears the entry ramp, the driver must choose: northbound or southbound. Which one will it be?

Let’s imagine that for some odd reason, no one had even considered where the family would be going on vacation. Everyone realized that in order to go on vacation bags must be packed and the car loaded. But if no one had planned on where to go on vacation, there would be a lot of confusion at key turns in the road…and you would never know if you ended up where you wanted to be!

In order to have success in vacation, you have to know where you are going and have a plan to get there.

Homeschool high school: You CAN do it! 7SistersHomeschool has a wealth of information on how to homeschool high school so that you can educate your teen in the best way for their needs and goals.

In this post, we will cover:

Planning homeschool high school

  • Homeschool planning: define the goals
    • What are your teens’ abilities and gifts?
    • What are your teens’ interests?
    • What are your family’s needs?
    • What is your budget for this year?
    • Bonus: Have teens create a mission statement
  • Now, work on the Long-Term Goals and the Short-Term Goals
  • Now, Define the credits your homeschool high schoolers will need for graduation
  • Next, teach your teens to use a syllabus
  • Optional: Create course descriptions
  • Now, teach your teens to create a schedule and manage their time

Planning homeschool high school

While homeschooling high school is NO vacation, it is similar in that in order to be successful, you and your teens need to know where they are headed in life. Then, together, you need to create a plan to get there.

Want some tips for homeschool planning? We’ve got them!

Start with the basics

There are a few questions that you and your teens can discuss that will help start the planning process. First, define the overall goals for homeschooling high school!

Homeschool planning: define your *Why*

A mission statement is a piece of writing that articulates, in summary form, the aims and values of an organization; it captures what is most important to you in brief statements or paragraphs. It is a tool you can use when you are trying to evaluate options and make choices, because it helps you recognize what REALLY matters to you most, so that you can choose actions that will move you toward your goals.

Parents who write a homeschool mission statement will find that the exercise helps them:

  • clarify priorities
  • set goals for the long haul
  • improve communication (inside and outside your homeschool)
  • stand firm against missional drift
Homeschool Mission Statement FREE Download from 7SistersHomeschool.com
Click here to download this freebie.

This mission statement is unique to your family, your homeschool. No two homeschool mission statements will be identical because there’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school!

Homeschool planning: define the goals

Start your homeschool planning by defining the goals for homeschooling high school. What do you want the outcome to be when your teen walks across the stage at graduation (or has the picnic party in the backyard for graduation…there’s not ONE right way to have a homeschool graduation ceremony).

How to Create a Simple Graduation Ceremony 7SistersHomeschool.com
Click image to read post.

What are your teens’ abilities and gifts?

This can be a tough question. Teens often don’t like to discuss what they can or can’t do. However, they do often know their basic abilities.

Do they struggle with academics? Do they hate doing math and writing papers?

There’s nothing wrong with having other strengths besides academics. Perhaps your homeschool high schoolers are called to:

In my years of coaching homeschool high schoolers, I’ve noticed something. ALL teens are gifted. All teens have abilities that are right for them.

Listen to this story about all teens being gifted. I shared it on the podcast: Mommy Jammies Night.

All Kids Are Gifted: It's Our Job to Pay Attention and Find That Gift!
Click image to listen to episode.

Is your teen academically gifted? Do they enjoy the challenge and stimulation of rigorous studies? Perhaps they are called to go to college and train for a profession.

God has plans for each teen as they discover and develop their gifts. Do your teens feel lost about their giftings? Here’s a post to help them discover those gifts.

Here’s a post with goals for developing your teens’ giftings (and remember, all teens are gifted in some way).

7 Things to Teach Your Gifted Homeschool High School Student. Give your gifted teens some life and success skills that will make a difference. #HomeschoolHighSchool #HomeschoolGiftedStudents #HomeschoolGiftedTeens
Click image to read post.

What are your teens’ interests?

Over all the years of working with homeschool high schoolers, I’ve noticed there are basically three kinds of teens.

  • Single-interest teens

These are teens who have ONE thing they are really interested in. They develop the interest in their spare time, they want to work it into their transcript credits, they talk about it, they want to do that interest for a living.

  • Interested-in-everything teens

Some teens have their hands in a million pies. They just love everything. That is certainly a gift because they can set goals and set contingency plans if those goals don’t work out. However, it can be hard to decide which goal to focus on when graduation starts to loom. It is a good idea to visit interest areas at least once a year through high school. Then try to settle on one during junior or senior year. Here’s an episode of Homeschool Highschool Podcast about helping teens who love everything decide on a career goal.

  • Teens who are clueless about goals

Lots of teens are clueless about goals at first. It might take them a year or two to settle down or gain confidence in themselves and the fact that God has plans for them. The most important place to start with clueless teens is to expand their horizons. Do new things (not just gaming in the basement, although that is fun). Here’s an episode of Homeschool Highschool Podcast with advice for homeschool moms whose teens are clueless about what they want to do with their lives.

Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Career Exploration for Teens Who Don't Have a Clue
Click image to listen to episode.

What are your family’s needs?

Does your family have things that will affect the way you homeschool this year?

  • upcoming special events like a wedding or missionary relatives coming for a visit
  • job changes
  • illnesses that impact academic decisions
  • homeschooling multiple children

These all affect the time and energy you can invest in your homeschool high schoolers’ studies as well as your academic calendar. You may need to include more curriculum that students can work on independently (that’s one of our goals at 7Sisters- to provide curriculum that most teens can complete on their own) or do more online or local group classes.

What is your budget for this year?

Seriously, budget affects homeschooling goals, especially at the high school level. While we might like to make limitless courses and extracurriculars available to our teens, each of us has at least some financial constraints. Being a good steward of financial decisions about homeschooling budget is being a good role model for your teens.

Bonus: Have teens create a mission statement

Your homeschool high schoolers may not be ready for this assignment until they are juniors or seniors. However, it is a good idea to get them thinking about it even as underclassmen. Download 7Sisters Writing Your Personal Mission Statement and have a discussion together.

Writing Your Personal Mission Statement 7SistersHomeschool.com

If they are ready for it, they will remember their mission statements for years to come and will find it a guiding force in their decision-making processes. If they are not ready for it yet, simply being introduced to the process will help them write their mission statement when they are old enough.

Now, work on the Long-Term Goals and the Short-Term Goals

5 Practical Tips for Writing Homeschool Goals. Make sure you actually accomplish what you need by good homeschool planning with long term goals and short term goals. Here's how. #7SistersHomeschool #HomeschoolPlanning #homeschoolGoals #HowToWriteHomeschoolGoals
Click image to read post.

Now, Define the credits your homeschool high schoolers will need for graduation

There’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school. In planning homeschool high school credits, you’ll take into consideration all the things above (student’s abilities, interests, family’s needs and goals).

If teens is headed for the workforce after graduation, they will not need as many credits or the level of rigor in their credits that a college-bound teen will need. What you want to do is what is right for your teen.

With that in mind, there are 26 basic credits that you can pull from. The requirement for public school graduation varies state to state with between 14-24 credits. For homeschool graduation requirements for your state, check Homeschool Legal Defense Association’s website (it’s a good idea to join HSLDA, btw).

Here is a post that breaks down the 26 requirements that you can chose from.

Homeschool High School Transcripts 26 Credits Needed for Graduation 7SistersHomeschool.com
Click image to read post.

College-bound teens need more than just good academics. Check out this post for the 7 components of a college-attractive transcript.

Non-college-bound teens can minimize the rigorous academics and put more energy into life preparation, career exploration, and preparation for a trade or non-college profession.

One of the best life-preparation courses for teens, college-bound or not, is Financial Literacy.

Here is a post for teens who are not called to college with ideas to get them started thinking about future careers, plus a popular interview on Homeschool Highschool Podcast with our friend, Angela, whose homeschool graduates are successful in their trades.

Explore Careers That Don't Require College. Non-college bound teens can find success in many careers. Here are some ideas to explore with teens who don't want to go to college.
Click image to read post.

Next, teach your teens to use a syllabus

Of course, this means you need to create a syllabus for key courses. Syllabi inform teens about what assignments to do and when, along with key information on texts used and grading expectations. Here is a freebie download that gives instructions on how to create a syllabus.

Here are sample syllabi for several of our homeschool high school courses. You can adapt them to your needs.

Helping Teens Become Independent Learners: Using a Syllabus 7SistersHomeschool.com
Click image to read post.

Optional: Create course descriptions

Course descriptions are useful if you think:

  • Your homeschool high schooler might want to switch to a new homeschool umbrella/hybrid school that issues credits
  • Your family might move to another state and the new supervisory organization may want to understand how credits were earned
  • Your teen may be transitioning to a traditional school setting, so will need explanation of credits earned
  • Your homeschool graduate might attend a college that is not familiar with homeschooling
  • Your teen may be interested in the military and the recruiter is not familiar with homeschooling

Here is a post with instructions for writing course descriptions.

How and Why to Create Course Descriptions for Homeschool High School 7SistersHomeschool.com # CourseDescriptionsForHomeschool This photo shows a woman drinking coffee while writing course descriptions for her teens.
Click image to read post.

Now, teach your teens to create a schedule and manage their time

Homeschooling high school is the best time to learn to manage time. Once teens are on their own at work or at college (or both), they will need to manage themselves and their productivity without mom helicoptering.

There’s not one right way to create a schedule and manage time. Teens (and moms) will be most successful when they find something that fits their personalities. It might take some experimenting. Here are a couple of ideas:

Download our freebie: Scheduling Backwards.

scheduling backwards by Sabrina Justison
Click here for more information on this freebie.

Scheduling Backwards takes teens (or moms) through the process of breaking down a project or course, beginning with the end in mind. Teens start at the desired outcome (the end of the course or project) then work backwards, choosing checkpoints for different parts of the project or course to be completed. It is a simple and useful tool that many of our homeschool high schoolers have loved and used through college.

Use a scheduling planner. One of our favorite planners is Melanie Wilson’s The Organized Homeschool Life. (We are not affiliates, we just like Melanie’s various formats for her planner.) Check out the The Organized Homeschool Life at PsychoWith6.com.

Planning homeschool high school: Three last pieces of advice

Hold plans lightly, we never know all the twists and turns there will be during the high school years. We can plan but we have to be flexible! We know that a mom’s mind plans her way, but God directs her paths.

Remember, God is in control of the outcome.

Want some encouragement? Take our self-paced video course just for parents: Homeschool High School, You Can Do It!

Here’s a post with more how-to’s on planning from our friend, Pat, at Breakthrough Homeschooling.

We are participating in Homeschool Success Hacks for Homeschooling Blog Hop. There’s a curriculum giveaway so check out the Rafflecopter and the other cool blogs.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


7Sisters email subscribers receive periodic practical encouragement, special offers and NO SPAM EVER.

Sign Up for 7SistersHomeschool.com Emails
Click the image above to periodically receive real homeschool value in your inbox.

Educational settings for homeschool high school

Authoritative Guide to Planning Homeschool High School

Vicki Tillman

Blogger, curriculum developer at 7SistersHomeschool.com, counselor, life and career coach, SYMBIS guide, speaker, prayer person. 20+year veteran homeschool mom.

2 Replies to “Authoritative Guide to Planning Homeschool High School”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *