Homeschooling is scary enough at the elementary grades.
- Teaching children to read has a very undeserved mystical quality about it that intimidates many moms. Even I was scared of this! I have a degree in English and a master’s degree in education, and yet somehow I thought that teaching reading was the holy grail of all things education. It’s not.
- In a desire to answer the socialization question, we drive back and forth across town to make sure our children have every possible opportunity to be with other children. Little kids really don’t need that many socialization experiences.
- We fear gaps and agonize over choosing the perfect curriculum.
If we persevere through those early years and trudge through middle school, we realize a lot of our fears were unfounded.
I can’t homeschool now that my child is in high school
But once a child reaches high school level, we re-evaluate once again. We start getting goofy questions like “What about prom?” and “What about dating?” But we also have to consider more valid concerns like college admissions, transcripts, and SAT/ACT tests.
The self-doubt can undermine a homeschool mom’s confidence in her decision to homeschool. And she might want to throw in the towel and enroll the teen in a private or public school.
We ignore the fact that our previous fears about elementary and middle school turned out to be toothless lions. Now we are convinced that these high school fears are the real deal. The stakes are so much higher now that are teens have just four more years with us.
So we are tempted to conclude, “I can’t homeschool because my child is in high school.”
- I can’t teach algebra, calculus, geometry, physics, chemistry, (etc).
- I can’t provide the social experiences that come from the high school environment.
- I don’t know how to make a transcript.
- I’m scared that colleges will not accept my child.
You can homeschool high school if you want to.
If you are convinced homeschooling is the best choice, you can do this. But you need to be reasonably sure. You will probably continue to struggle with doubt. But that’s a part of being a parent. We are never 100% sure all of the time.
Doubts are not a signal to stop. They are a signal to burrow down to your core. Why did you choose to homeschool? Grab hold of those reasons once again with firm conviction. If those reasons are no longer valid, maybe you should stop homeschooling. (I’m not a militant homeschooler. It’s not for everyone all the time.)
[This post, like most of my posts, contains affiliate links to products that I use and recommend.]
Getting the resources you need
There are so many sources of support to overcome all the obstacles to homeschooling high school, both online and locally.
I suggest you start with these two books
- The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Teens
- The HomeScholar Guide to College Admission and Scholarships: Homeschool Secrets to Getting Ready, Getting In and Getting Paid
These will help you put your fears into perspective and give you concrete tools for managing this venture.
Still scared about transcripts? There is really no need. See Lee Binz’s Total Transcript Solution for very detailed help. Like teaching your child to read, it’s not as hard as it seems.
Terrified about the SAT or ACT? Read this encouraging post from veteran homeschool mom Lynn Schott. It is possible to get into college without them. Really.
Teaching the hard stuff
Your teens should be almost totally independent at this stage, so don’t feel guilty about handing them a textbook and letting them figure it out. That is good for them. Of course, you want to provide support where needed. And hopefully you’ve been working up to that level throughout the middle school years. (I don’t encourage a cold turkey “You’re on your own, Bud” attitude.)
Weekly check-ins are all your teens need to stay on track. (Or at least that is the goal you should strive for.) If the textbook isn’t enough, supplement with extra videos or tutors.
For teaching the scary, tough subjects, consider outsourcing them either with local co-ops or with online teachers. Typically the live classes cost more than self-paced. Emma earned high school credit for these outsourced classes in 9th grade:
- art via local co-op class
- psychology via live online class
- Arabic via local private tutor plus Rosetta Stone study at home
- economics via live online class
And for 10th grade, we plan on these outsourced options:
- art via local co-op class
- chemistry via local co-op class
- Arabic with local private tutor and possibly an online option
It does take some research to find the best fit for each class. But there is no reason to be terrified by the scary subjects. There are lots of options for getting high school credit no matter what kind of learner your teen is.
So if you decide not to homeschool your teen, don’t let it be just because she’s a high schooler.
This is just one of the posts in the I Can’t Homeschool Because series by iHomeschool Network bloggers. See them all here.