Tips for Graduating your High Schooler

homeschool high school

I have had some requests for tips on how to graduate a high school student who is ready to go to college… to be honest, I was scared to death the past several years as we were homeschooling high school. I kept hoping that I was doing enough and helping her enough to make sure she was able to go to college. I think I was still sweating it up until we actually got the acceptance letter!  I surely don’t have all the answers, and I am sure there are other homeschool moms out there who do it way better than me. Still, here’s a summary of the things we did to get her through…

1)  Keep homeschool records. Every homeschool should keep detailed records, however, once your child reaches high school that is even more important! Those records become their

hope for college entrance. It is much easier to keep the records as they go along than to have to remember what they did and how they did to create them just for college entrance. 

2) Keep course descriptions. It is beneficial for most colleges to be able to see exactly what your student studied for each of his/her courses. You can do this simply by keeping a log of an approximately 100 word description of the course. (Also easier to do as your take the courses than waiting to create it when a college asks for it.)

3)Have a goal. In 9th and 10th grade you should be encouraging your child to examine themselves to determine exactly what they LOVE to do. (I’m not talking about video games here :) Ask them to make an inventory of the subjects that they are taking in school, and to rate them as far as the level to which they enjoy them. As a parent you can help them by paying attention to the activities that they enjoy. These will often align with their school strengths. Once you have their strengths narrowed down, challenge them with courses and experiences that will grow this passion.

4) Take the PSAT or the SAT in 11th grade. This was one of the bets things that we did. It gave us an idea of what we needed to study and review to get the score we needed for scholarships. Don’t be afraid of taking both ACT and SAT. Whichever one you score better at… take again! We took the ACT 3 time during her senior year.  The last two tests she scored identical grades on, and we both felt that she had reached her full potential on the test.

5) Check out dual enrollment at your local college. This is a great way to challenge your high schooler, and also a nice head start to college.

Book Review: High School Prep Genius

highschool prep

High School Prep Genius an Academic Guide to Excellence by Jean and Judah Burk is a beneficial tool for any parent with a  student entering high school. In fact, this book really took me by surprise! I was blown away by how MUCH material was here.  Each chapter is full of amazing content and tools to help safely and successfully navigate high school with a view to your child’s future success.

What’s it all about?

Covering not only academic success this book addresses personal success as well. Using innovative methods to encourage the student to find personal areas of interest that will enable lifelong benefits. I really appreciated how this book took a step by step approach to providing everything a student needs to be successful in life.

For those homeschool families who haven’t had experience with high school yet, this would be an invaluable resource to obtain. With clear delineation of high school requirements as well as suggested courses of study, this book makes mapping out your high school plan easy. High School Prep Genius also addresses each grade of high school individually coaching the student on specific milestone goals that should be accomplished by month.

What are the pros?

As a parent I loved the way this book really encouraged  parent/student teamwork. Truly a successful high schooler is in league with his/her parents to make the most of those four years. Another indispensable aspect of the High School Prep Genius is the plethora of copiable templates and documents to help record your high schooler’s accomplishments. I would dare say, anything… and I mean anything… that you would need to track your high school progress is contained within these pages!

In addition to helping the student navigate high school waters, there are sections with an abundance of instruction on how to manage career choices, choosing a college, and creating life goals. This is truly a comprehensive look at making the transition to adult life.

What are the cons?

Well, to be honest there really weren’t that many cons. I think this book is well written and very practical. It takes into account a wide variety of students. My only thought is that they could have addressed homeschoolers in a little more depth.

Disclaimer: I received this book free in exchange for a candid review.

Two FREE resources for Planning Your Homeschool High School

homeschool high schoolI think I’ve mentioned that my favorite time of the year is summer… maybe… at least 100 times. I love the time to rebuild myself, but I also love planning my next year’s homeschool. Ever since I can remember, I have loved playing school. As a child when other kids wanted toys, I wanted notebooks and pencils so I could go home and play school.  I must admit – teaching, organizing, and putting together a new school schedule makes me “happier than a teacher in a book store!”

So, as I’m looking through the amazing homeschool curriculum that is out there I realized that I had to share some of this with you. I love using Saxon books for the serious math and language arts that I’m doing with my elementary and middle school children. However, for my highschoolers I have discovered two awesome sites that have made all the difference in the world and I want to share them with you. The first is the site Let’s Homeschool High School and the second is Homeschool College USA. These two sites enabled me to get my first daughter graduated last year. I know without all their valuable insight that I would have been lost. They both present an amazingly vast array of FREE homeschool curriculum and online learning possibilities. The Homeschool College USA site also gives you free high school course links that all lead up to taking CLEP tests for college credit. Which in and of itself is an amazing idea. You see, your highschooler can take these courses for high school credit, but then when it’s time for the final – go take the CLEP tests and earn REAL college credit.

We often will use the Apologia science courses, glencoe math, and abeka history as our foundation and then enrich with the free offerings from these sites. I hope that you get a chance to visit and start planning your fall homeschool with this in mind!

Hip Homeschool Hop Button

It’s so scary… Preparing for college

I have to admit, as I am trying to help my oldest daughter prepare for college…I’m scared. I worry that what I’ve taught her over the years in ourhomeschool, just might not be enough. I also worry that I am missing a vital step somewhere. I’m sure it might all be because she is the first to graduate from our homeschool.  The first time for anything is always scary.

My daughter is a rising senior, and wants to eventually work as a librarian. We are having difficulty finding a college that has a supporting major.  On top of all that, we need to be able to get scholarships. Sports scholarships aren’t an option, so we have been trying to beef up on ACT/SAT test scores.

Other options that we are trying to keep in mind are taking CLEP tests for some of the courses that we will be taking this year.

So, am I alone, or are there others of you that are a bit scared of the whole high school to college transition?

What do you fear the most???

For a homeschooling parent… that just might be high school subjects!! I have often hear how many homeschoolers are terrified of just not being able to teach their high schoolers the advanced courses that they need.

Really, there is no need to fret. The advanced courses that our homeschooling high schoolers need to take are right at our fingertips. If you have access to the internet you can offer your children high quality courses online. If you don’t have good internet access you can always use other high quality – independent study courses, tutors, or even homeschool co-op courses. There really is a viable way to educate our highschoolers at home without cutting corners.  Just take a minute to check out all the great course offerings available online – and even through distance education.