This week's Blog Cruise topic is Homeschooling High School. High School is a scary thought for homeschoolers years before it even begins. My first year of homeschooling my oldest daughter was in the third grade. One of my fears before we made the commitment to homeschool that first year was, "What happens when she is older and her knowledge surpasses mine? How will I teach things like Algebra and Chemistry to my daughter when I didn't like them when I went to school and did terrible in those subjects?" My daughter was 7 years old and I was already terrified at the thought of homeschooling those upper grades. Thankfully there was a very wise veteran homeschooler who was able to encourage and counsel me.
Now that Chelsea is actually in High School, I have to tell you that truthfully homeschooling High School is easier than homeschooling Elementary School!! Why? By the time your child is High School age they can take responsibility for a large portion of their education. With a little help and guidance they can write and complete their own schedule and do their work independently. That is not true in the younger years when mom has to sit side by side with the child almost all of the time.
How do you teach advanced subjects or things you have limited (or no) knowledge in? In today's day and age their is no limit to what your child can learn in your homeschool. Many homeschool textbooks are written so that the child is able to teach themselves with little or no teacher input necessary. There is a huge variety of DVD and internet courses available. Currently Chelsea is taking an online writing course (Time4 Writing) and using a DVD course for Latin (Latin Alive!) and Algebra (Math U See.) If you own an iPad or other tablet or Smart Phone there are a ton of educational apps available. Many areas offer homeschool co ops classes or workshops. There may people who are knowledgeable in your child's area of interest that would LOVE to share their knowledge with your child. The possibilities are truly endless!
Is High School more expensive to homeschool? It depends on the curriculum you choose. Courses that use DVD's or online schooling usually are more expensive. Many times if you keep your items in very good condition you will be able to resell them when you are through and for me that helps to offset some of the costs. We also use as many free resources as possible. For Literature, instead of buying all of the books that go with the curriculum, we use the library or find free ebooks online.
How do you know what classes your High Schooler should take? Check first and see if there are any regulations for your state that homeschoolers need to graduate. Arkansas does not have any specific regulations but our Education Alliance recommends this course of study for a college bound student:
English 4 credits: Suggested courses to choose from: Composition, American Lit, British Lit, World Lit, Rhetoric,Creative Writing, Speech/Communication, Journalism, Debate;
also consider AP courses
Math 4+ credits: Algebra 1 & 2, Geometry, Trigonometry, Pre-Calculus,
Calculus, AP Calculus
History: 3-4 credits ESSENTIALS: World History, American History, American
Government. CONSIDER: Economics, Geography,
Constitutional Law and AP courses
Science: 3-4 credits Physical Science, General Science, Earth Science, Biology,
Chemistry, and Physics. CONSIDER: AP courses
Foreign Language: 2-4 credits French, Spanish, Latin, German, Russian, etc. (2 years same
Physical Education: 1-2 credits Many options available
Fine Arts :1-2 credits Art, Music, Drama, Photography, etc.
Electives 5 credits : Practical Arts, Life Skills, Home Economics, Bible, Computer
Total Credits: 23-27 credits
How do you count credits? As a general rule, most courses that the textbook takes a whole year to complete in the main subject areas (math, science, english, foreign language, history) will equal one credit hour. Elective courses that only take half of a year to complete receive 1/2 credit. Another way to figure out how much a course is worth would be to figure out the number of hours your child has worked in a particular subject area. This way if you are using several sources or unit studies and not a traditional "text book", or if you review 5 different math curricula in one year (does this happen to anyone else?) you will know how much credit to give. 120-180 hours is worth one credit. Many traditional text book course take about 150 hours (50 min/day, 5 days/week, 36 weeks.) Courses with labs may take closer to 180 hours and electives will be in the 120-150 hour range. Using those numbers as a guideline you can figure out 1/2 and 1/4 credit courses also. As she finishes a course I keep track of the name of the course, how much credit it is worth and her grade in the course. There are many programs out there for making your own transcripts, and in Arkansas the Education Alliance will make one for you with any donation amount if you send all of your information to them.
There are several great resources for homeschooling High School. TOS has several great homeschool planners (one is made especially for High Schoolers) that are all free with a membership to Schoolhouseteachers.com. Donna Young also has some great information and planners on her website which you can find by clicking here. Lee Binz has a ton of information and advice for parents homeschooling High School. Go to her website by clicking here.
Don't let the thought of High School intimidate you! Don't let people make you feel incapable or unqualified to teach your High School children. They are the same children at 15 as they were when God blessed you with them as infants and commanded you to, "Train them up in the way they will go." Many people successfully homeschool their children through High School and they get to go out into the world as intelligent, confident, prepared adults. You can do it! Enjoy the time you have with your children because before you know it, they will be heading out the door to college or a career.
Stop by and see what other crew mates had to say here.