Even for many families who have been homeschooling since their kids were young, the prospect of homeschooling high school can seem daunting. It is a lot to be responsible for geometry, chemistry lab, SATs, preparation for college requirements, and all the rest. But, as many homeschoolers discover, sticking it out through high school can offer great academic benefits.
Specialization and Depth
Homeschooling high school allows your student to delve deeply into areas of interest. Homeschooling teens have the time to become highly skilled in what interests them. Whether that’s a foreign language, creative writing, mathematics, auto repair, or violin, this specialization can offer a number of benefits. For some, one of the challenges of adolescence is the strong drive to grow up and be seen as adult-like. Specialization can channel that energy into a beneficial direction and help kids mature in ways that are safe and positive. People who develop their talents tend to be happier people. Exploring topics in depth while in high school can give a head start on career planning. Also, students who have developed their talents are better positioned for college admissions and scholarships.
Flexibility in Subject Matter and Pacing
The flexibility of homeschooling, which is important in elementary and middle school, becomes even more crucial during high school. While homeschoolers who wish to be prepared for college will need to meet certain requirements, families are allowed the flexibility to adjust the pacing. Some kids struggle with algebra but breeze through geometry – or the reverse. Homeschooling high school allows you to customize courses to make sure your child learns what he or she needs to. If your daughter has already mastered grammar, you may skip it entirely and focus on other areas of English, like reading literature or creative writing. Take more time when needed, and move more quickly when it is not.
Busy work isn’t just found in elementary or middle school. I regularly hear complaints from students enrolled in brick and mortar schools that there is a lot of time wasted at the high school level. I even know of a public high school that banned crayons because they were frustrated with teachers giving out so many craft assignments, even in AP classes! Completing schoolwork in an efficient manner gives your teen greater freedom to pursue interests, work, volunteer, and spend time with friends and family.
Develop Personal Responsibility
One comment I’ve heard from college professors is that they are impressed with the ability of homeschool graduates to take on learning challenges. Time at home allows students to learn what it takes to master more challenging material without the constant supervision or everything being broken into tiny little assignments with the possibility of extra credit. This common high school practice or grading every small homework assignment does not help students develop good habits for college, where homework is often ungraded, but material still needs to be mastered. Your homeschooler can learn to use time efficiently and be better prepared for college.
Earning College Credits While in High School
It isn’t for every student, but increasingly homeschool families are looking at the possibility of earning college credits while homeschooling. These credits can come through dual enrollment courses, AP, or CLEP testing. These early college credits can offer significant savings in college tuition and also improve student’s chances of graduating college on time while still allowing for a double major or study abroad.
Homeschool high school can be a challenge, but it pays off both academically and also in positive social, emotional and family experiences. I’d love to hear more about your family’s experiences in the comment section.