With the CDC’s new guidelines and the understanding that school will probably look different for some time, a lot of families are considering home education when they never did before. However, for high school families, there is often a lot more worry about whether it’s really the right decision. There is more at stake for high school.
Luckily, homeschooling at the high school level can be just as rewarding as for the younger grades. There are many individual online classes for homeschooling high school. There are also lots of great resources for high school students at home, such as massive open online courses offered by universities for free (MOOC’s), lectures series such as Great Courses, software based learning options, dual enrollment courses at community colleges for credit, AP classes at home, and textbooks and traditional curricula. Plus, you can tailor courses just for your student.
Best of all, homeschooling high school has a lot of advantages for students applying to college. Colleges know homeschoolers and don’t fear accepting them anymore. While a few institutions do make homeschoolers jump through a few extra hoops, most do not and an increasing number even want to recruit homeschool students.
Homeschooling can allow your student to take unique courses that stand out to colleges. It can let them go deep for subjects that interest them. Colleges love to see that from their applicants. If a student is applying to a particular department or expressing an interest in a specific career and has a transcript that shows multiple electives in that area, then they know that student is a good bet. Not to mention that it benefits your student not to have to wait to study in their area of interest. Maybe it helps them realize that biology or computer science or creative writing actually isn’t for them and find a new interest.
Homeschooling lets you also take charge of their assignments. You absolutely should never give a student a grade they don’t earn. On the other hand, with homeschooling, your student can take longer to get the work done if they need it. You can ask them to work to mastery and not accept anything below an A. You can ditch the busy work and focus on assignments that really matter. That benefits their education. In a large classroom, teachers have to focus on proving that students have done “enough.” In your homeschool, you don’t have to do that, even for high schoolers. If, after a meaty discussion, you know that your student understood the material, you don’t have to give three tests. You can move on. You can also tailor those assignments for a student’s goal. If a student is headed toward a selective college, they’ll need experience with academic writing and tests. If a student is not, then you can focus on life skills and relating subjects like science and history to current events and understanding the world around us.
Finally, homeschooling makes you the school counselor. That gives you a special power in college admissions. You get to write the counselor letter. This is like a cover letter for the whole application. You get to frame your student’s strengths and explain any issues that might have arisen. School parents don’t get this power and it’s incredibly useful if a student is headed toward a selective school.
Homeschooling high school can also mean greater flexibility for outside activities. Some of those activities may not be accessible now, but as we head into an uncertain future, flexibility is going to be the key for connecting with jobs, volunteering, arts, and other outside activities for students.
There are downsides to having all this power! It can be a lot of work and responsibility. Your student has to stay motivated. You need to keep records so you can write a transcript and make sure your student is on track. However, it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. There are great outside classes that let your high school work with other teachers and take the load off your plate. Consultants like us can help you organize and connect with those resources and figure out the right plan for you. However, there are a lot of free resources out there too. You just have to ask smart questions. Start with our free credits checklist to get a sense of what you might need and check out our resources page. Plus, ask questions on local homeschool groups and include details to help get the guidance you need.
The most important thing you need is a willingness to do it and an openness to learn.