Can you Homeschool in High school?

It is totally possible to homeschool in high school. There are several ways to accomplish this but I will only mention a few in this post.

Some homeschooling families chose to do their own program without the concern of meeting learning outcomes or diplomas. This can work very well for some families and there can be a lot of joy in following your children’s interests and building an education around them. These families may choose to put together an academic record (portfolio) themselves.  I have known several homeschoolers who have chosen this route and have gone on to post secondary education very successfully. Many colleges and universities require grade 12 English but some will allow entrance with a portfolio, essays and/or a basic English 100 course. In most cases, whether the student stays in the college or university is conditional to the GPA attained in their first year.

Another way to gain entrance into a post secondary institution without a diploma, is to take an online or night course at a college and transfer into a degree or diploma program.  In many cases you do not need a high school diploma as long as you pass the courses.

In British Columbia, Canada you have the choice of graduating with a “Dogwood” diploma or a Certificate of Completion (marks for the courses taken). If you want the diploma, then the student will be required to write provincial exams from grade 10 through to grade 12 therefore the student has less flexiblity of what they can study. Of course this is the easiest transition into a post secondary institution.

I know a few homeschool families in the United States, as well, who have homeschooled through to graduation and transitioned into college and university successfully. Many colleges and universities in Canada and the US have a link on their websites for homeschooled student applications. More and more universities are realising that the majority of homeschooled gradutates are well prepared for university even though they have never attended a public school. The reason for this is most likely that homeschooled kids are taught to find information on their own from a young age. They are more independant and self motivated in their studies.

By high school, we chose to do the provincial exams and go for the high school Dogwood Diploma. An excellent online school is Heritage Christian Online School. I have known many, many kids (including my daughter) who schooled and graduated this way, which allowed them the freedom to tailor thier education and have experiences they wouldn’t otherwise have, being at a school every day.

This was our high school experience….

Grade 9 hit for my oldest boy, and things began to be a little bit of a struggle. He was ready to go to school. Up until this point he was happy to be homeschooled. I enrolled him at the local school for grade 10. It was a difficult transition, mostly for me, however, it was the right one for him. Academically the transition was a smoothe one. The way I taught science and socials was through unit studies. We never did a socials or science textbook and I wasn’t overly concerned about meeting  learning outcomes. He did fine. Actually on of his teachers was quite impressed with all of the “facts” he knew :).I have to admit I breathed a sigh of relief when I found out he was going to be okay academically in high school!

My daughter on the other hand, did well homeschooling through to graduation. She had a different learning style than the boys. She was textbook driven. She loved them. Textbooks and workbooks worked well for her and by high school she could basically teach herself. I became more her educational manager than her teacher. We were enrolled with Heritage Christian Online School and I assisted her in setting up her courses, ordering curriculum and facilitating tests and exams. I also helped tutor her where I could. I would communicate with her teachers online and also accommodate her other educational  needs. For example, she worked as a volunteer in a veterinary clinic and a museum for work experience. She took the necessary courses to be a lifeguard and swimming instructor. She took music and art lessons. We even went to a couple of writer’s conferences together!  In grade twelve, her graduation year, she went on a fantastic six week trip to Mexico with her online school. It was mixture of courses, missions work and cultural immersion. She would have never had this experience if she went to public school; not where we lived anyway.

However, I have to be honest and say that if you asked my daughter, online homeschooling or distance education is more challenging academically than sitting and being taught in a classroom. She eventually ended up taking a couple of courses at public school in her grade twelve year,  while homeschooling full-time. She had a secure peer group through homeschooling , and felt no need to experience high school life for the sake of the experience. She just found it easier to complete these courses in a classroom setting.

My youngest son, went into the high school when he was in grade 10. I realize now that I should have put him in school in grade 9.  He was not self-motivated like his sister and found it difficult to be alone. By waiting a year longer and not hearing his heart, caused some strain between the two of us which we are still working through a year later.

If I was asked, as a veteran homeschooler what I would have done differently, I would have probably put both my boys in school a year earlier than I did. Boys, more than girls seem to want to experience a degree of separation and independence from their mothers around this age. Perhaps if we had lived in a center with a larger youth group or homeschool group, things may have been different. For about the first 9 years of homeschooling I would have never considered the possibility of putting my children in public school! We loved homeschooling….all of us. And when I did put them in school, I won’t deny that is was super difficult for me.

I would encourage any homeschooling mother to really pray about the needs of each child individually. Listen to the hearts of your kids, especially your teens. They are all so different. I am so grateful that we were able to homeschool however, I am also grateful to our local public school for loving our kids as well 🙂

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