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.

Homeschooling High School

homeschool english

Yes, all of us “homeschoolers” seem to balk a little when we talk about homeschooling high school. It’s the big time – the big league – the life altering last few years of school. I think all of us are afraid that we are going to mess our kids up for life! I know that I was! well, good news… if I can do it – anyone can!  We just graduated our oldest daughter, and she is on her way to becoming a full time college student at Mercer University. It’s over, and we did it. (Though I am still shocked and suprised at times!)

We have always chosen courses that were an eclectic mix. Over the years we have found that a little of this and a little of that really fits us better than buying one complete curriculum from one publisher. In years past, some of our favorites have been Apologia, Saxon, and Institute for Excellence in Writing. We have even used several of the free online classes found at Homeschool College USA. My daughter did the Forensics course last year and loved it! This year we are giving the new Time4Learning High School a try. It is new this fall, and we have used T4L before with our other children. So, we will see if it’s a fit for us – it may work like all of the other currciculum before it… a piece here and there might be just what we needed!

Some of the best things that we have learned over the years are simple. Follow your children’s strengths… What is your highschooler good at? Then feed him/her a diet of challenging classes in that area. Make them an expert at what they enjoy…

Homeschooling high school can be a challenge, it can be frightening… but you can do it… I’m already working on #2 in 10th grade…SHEW!

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!

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Homeschooling High School

Homeschooling High school students isn’t easy!

High school is crunch time… it’s the beginning of responsible adulthood… High school students are faced with a myriad of decisions from what course of study to follow to getting a job –  to what college to attend. One of those decisions includes what standardized test to take.

Initially, students should take whichever test is required by the college they wish to attend. Before taking your SAT or ACT be sure to check with the college you plan to attend to see if they have a preference.  However, taking each test can be beneficial, yet most students don’t know the difference between the two tests.

Just as an additional fyi point, I am having my children take the tests several times. This will give them more confidence, and will help them obtain a better score in the long run. Since we are a homeschool family their college admission will rely heavily on these tests.

A Break Down of ACT and SAT testing for homeschooling high school

To break it down, the ACT test includes the following.

25% reading

25% English

25% math

25% science/reasoning

The ACT does not have a required essay section.

So, if your high schooler struggles with writing this may be the test to take. Though it includes science, it presents facts and concepts and then requires students to make logical conclusions.

The SAT is presented a little differently and consists of:

50% reading

25% math

25% essay section

The SAT does not include a science module, which might be the choice for students who don’t care for science. However, the essay section requires a great deal of thought. If you plan on using the SAT make sure to plan plenty of time for essay preparation. Try to encourage your student to write at least an essay a day for a month before taking the SAT test. This will enable them to easily and without stress – write their SAT essays!

For more great information on homeschooling high school – check out one of my favorite sites… Let’s Homeschool High School!