Switching to a High School Mindset in Your Homeschool
As I have said before, there is not one way to homeschool. However, when homeschooling a high school student, there are often some accountability standards in place in order to achieve graduation. It is recommended to begin moving into a long term plan at this stage of your child's academic life. Graduation requirements vary by state and individual colleges can require different credits additionally. Therefore it is wise to take the time to make a four year plan in advance so that all the necessary credits can be found and earned.
Pre-planning all your child's high school classes in order to reach your child's graduation goal is not uncommon. But, this requires a shift in some homeschoolers, because they might not be used to making a four-year plan all at once. This is best begun when your child is in middle school so you have plenty of time to hunt for credits you might not be able to fulfill at home. But if you're later in the game, fear not! Just breathe and take your time researching all the information you need, and don't be afraid to ask for help.
Daily homeschool life will take a big, but exciting shift at this point. Often students in high school are now self-directed learners with teachers from multiple sources. No longer do high school kids do the same subjects every year. For example, English will continue all four years of high school, but Health might be only one year. And how many years of a foreign language will they need? Where will you find a science lab? Or a good math teacher? And how do you write a transcript for all the classes taken? These are all important things to figure out, but it can be, and is successfully done, all the time!
At first this shift to a high school mindset can seem overwhelming. How can I plan out four years of homeschooling at once? Fortunately this does not have to happen quite that way. First, one should find out what is required from the state and any potential colleges. Lay out a plan that will only include what is absolutely necessary for graduation and then see what kind of space is left. Typically the freshman year is pretty full, but the senior year has room in it. So you will have some time to decide what to do then.
And don't forget to include your teen in this journey. As they are becoming adults, they should have a say in what they want to do and they need to understand what is required of them to reach their own goals. Are they planning to attend college or would they prefer the occupational route? Do they enjoy online classes, co-ops, or home-based studies?
High schoolers will be stronger college candidates if they have a well-rounded portfolio too. It's never too early to find out about local sports, clubs, volunteer opportunities, etc. A resume and personal essay will likely be required by the college of their choice. This will paint a picture of who they are outside the classroom.
I will be glad to help you get started on this journey. High school can be a fun time of learning as well as planning as teens begin to look forward to their future. Let your child explore things they love and invest their time in what makes them happy.