Getting Started — What are my options?

The best way to achieve success in any venture is with a plan. Homeschool is no different. When considering your plan for high school years, start by researching your options. Here are some:

Every state, school and school district has its own policies and procedures for accommodating homeschool students. Some schools will let homeschoolers dual enroll in classes and participate in sports and activities. Some restrict homeschoolers from doing so. The best way to find out is to contact your local school district and/or high school.
There are many distance learning programs your students can enroll in — ranging from individual classes to entire programs. They are offered online on the Internet and all course work is submitted to the instructor online. Both for-credit and non-credit options are available. There are also many that offer religion-specific programs. Start with a simple internet search.
Most parents would be surprised at the educational opportunities available to their children right in their own community. Museums, discover centers, zoos and libraries offer a multitude of educational programs for youth of all ages — many specifically tailored for homeschool families. There are also camps and programs your student can enroll in for a week or longer. Everything from Space Camp to Writers Camps are available. It’s also a good idea to check with your area colleges and universities to see what programs and camps they have available.
If you are looking for something specific that you cannot provide your child, there is a good chance there is another mom or dad who can provide it! Co-ops and parent networks are a great way to share talents and resources. You may really love writing but have no interest in science. Chances are, there is a mom who has no interest in writing but loves science. Connect the two and both families now have two great opportunities for their kids. Joining a homeschool email network, blog or Facebook page is a great way to find out what is available in your area and you might be able to offer in trade.
The idea that College has to begin at age 18 is a thing of the past. An increasing number of colleges and universities are offering dual enrollment opportunities to homeschoolers. And with the emergence of the Smart Degree Homeschool Advantage program, college is more accessible than ever. When your children surpass you in math or English, maybe it’s time to consider a college course. You would be surprised just how ready they may be. Kip & Mona Lisa Harding, authors of The Brainy Bunch, have enrolled all their children in college by age 12. This is not something that is only for the “smart kids”. The difference discovered by the Hardings is that actively promoted and supported unique educational opportunities for their children that fit their interest and skill level. There are more opportunities than you might imagine and with college degrees becoming such an important factor in finding a good-paying job in today’s world, starting and/or completing a college degree in high school is a great jump start for your kids. Smart Degree is a free program that provides assessment and readiness tools to help determine if your child is ready for college and help get them ready. That is a great place to start.
There are so many opportunities for kids to gain skills and experience. Apprenticing, shadowing, volunteering and even internships are great ways to develop good work skills and find those areas that interest your children. Once they start high school you may already know what some of their interests are. If they like building things such as with Legos or Erector sets, then shadowing or apprenticing with an electrician may be a good option. If they like animals then maybe volunteering a local veterinary clinic or animal shelter would be something they would be interested in. You may have a friend who would be willing to let your child shadow them at work. Look around your social network at church, in your neighborhood, at work, wherever you interact with others and always look with opportunities in mind. You will be surprised at just how many opportunities there are for your kids to engage in the things that interest them.

Developing a Plan

Once you have done all your research you can start making lists of all your options. With these lists, you are ready to sit down with your child and develop a plan that will be personalized to them—meeting their needs and interests. After that, homeschooling in high school is simply a matter of following through with the plan and making adjustments as needed. A plan is important, but it is also important to be flexible. If something isn’t working, don’t be afraid to revisit it. Most of all, enjoy the experience! The years go by very fast and you are making memories that will last a lifetime!

Related Videos: