Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Homeschooling High School Part One: Planning & Record Keeping

For part one of my series on Homeschooling High School, I would like to briefly discuss planning and record keeping. As your student works on finishing their junior high courses, (grades 7-8), you can begin the really fun process of thinking ahead to the high school years, and begin charting a course for them to sail.

My biggest piece of advice is to NOT stress over homeschooling your high schooler! Yes, they are getting older and will have more of a say in what their studies will be, as you guide them through, but don't let it be intimidating. As a family, once you have made the decision to stick with home schooling through the high school years, you can bravely face whatever comes, knowing that with a little help, your teen can successfully navigate high school and graduate with full honors. They can have a strong foundation to build a successful adult life on.

I would like to share a few ideas that we have implemented with our teenagers - two have graduated already, and the third is just starting her high school journey this coming fall.

First, study your child to know what makes them tick. Take notice of what their interests are, and learn what some of their goals and dreams for their future are.

Last year we reviewed a program called Victus Study Skills. While the main purpose of the program is to teach effective study skills to middle school and high school students, there is an extremely valuable piece in this program that guides the student through a self-assessment, where they determine short term and long term goals. This really helped me understand what interests my children had, which helped shape their future high school studies.

Second, call a 'meeting' with your soon to be high schooler, and interview them to see what their goals, hopes, and expectations for high school are.

Perhaps they are interested in one day opening their own business, so a year of studying business math would be beneficial. If they are interested in a health science path, then you know they will have to take four years of challenging math and science courses, and that you will be investing in all the materials to complete the corresponding lab work as well.

Third, draw up a plan, knowing that it must remain fluid and subject to change over the next few years, as your high schooler matures and their purpose becomes more focused.

I have used a basic transcript template for each of my daughters, and then fine tuned the course names according to what they planned on taking. This is helpful because it shows tangible progress through their course load, and makes it clear how much work is left until completion. It also allows the parent to save it on the computer and update grades as soon as the course is completed. (No more hunting down papers years later!)

Fourth, know your states' homeschool requirements and make sure that your plans meet them.

Perhaps your state requires a certain number of years of Math, for example, for graduation. It is your responsibility as the home school parent to make sure that all requirements for graduation are met, so that your student is not hindered down the road from graduating on time, and moving on to the next phase of their journey, whatever that might be.

Fifth - Test out those interests and give your high schooler as many experiences as you possibly can, to help them develop their talents and abilities.

Maybe your freshman has their heart set on being in medicine, but when they take some basic first aid courses, they find they can't stomach the sight of blood! This would be a great time to find that out, before they have invested time and money into pursuing higher education or a career that will not suit them. The only way they will truly find out their likes and dislikes is by experiencing them firsthand. Plan on arranging some type of travel for your student, such as a missions trip to a third world country, to not only help them appreciate their own station in life, but to open their eyes to the needs that are out there in this world, and see if something sparks their interest or talents. Let them visit and "shadow" or apprentice with someone who is currently working in their field of interest, so they can get a firsthand taste of what the job demands. This can either cultivate that interest and make the desire to work and pursue it stronger, or it will redirect their goals.

Lastly, have fun and make the most of these years!

For many families, these are the last 4 or 5 years that you will have to closely and (almost continually) spend time making memories with that child before they move on in life, going to college, working, or joining the military. High school students are a blast! They have a great sense of humor, and love to talk and hash out their thoughts with a caring parent. Be that parent and connect with your high schooler as often and as deeply as you can. Pray for them! And pray for your home school that the work you invest will pay back great dividends in years to come.

Homeschooling High School Blog Hop 2015

Visit the other blogs on the Homeschooling High School Blog Hop Tour!

Meg from Adventures with Jude on Planning Your Homeschool High School
Chareen at Every Bed of Roses with thoughts on Planning to Homeschool through the High School Years
April from ElCloud Homeschool shares Homeschooling High School: Planning For High School
Debra over at Footprints in the Butter asks: You mean I have to PLAN our Homeschool High School?!?
Michele at Family, Faith and Fridays shares Here's the Plan
Lisa at Golden Grasses says Don't Panic! Homeshcooling High School Blog Hop
Debbie at Debbie's Homeschool Corner Planning Out a High School Program
Gena over at I Choose Joy! shares her The Top Tip for Planning Homeschool High School
Kym at Homeschool Coffee Break shares on Planning and Preparing for Success
Tess from Circling Through This Life shares on Planning the High School Years
Jennifer from A Glimpse of Our Life on Planning For Homeschooling Highschool
Carol over at Home Sweet Life on Making A Plan
Wendy at Life at Rossmont shares thoughts on Planning for High School
Cristi from Through the Calm and Through the Storm shares on Making High School Plans
Dawn Oaks at Double O Farms shares Planning for the High School Years
Leah from As We Walk Along the Road shares her thoughts on Making Plans for Homeschooling Through High School
Leah from As We Walk Along the Road shares her thoughts on Making Plans for Homeschooling Through High School

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