High school is a wonderful time to start or continue homeschooling. But for many parents, this is when they actually STOP homeschooling. And that’s a shame. Homeschool high school is a bogeyman for many homeschoolers, because of fears about getting into post-secondary, about careers and future job success, and even more fears about the infamous “socialization” question. But homeschooling high school can actually be the best years of homeschooling ever.
So where do you start with homeschooling high school?
Here’s some suggestions
If you registered your child for high school, call the school and make sure they know you aren’t sending them. You will need to follow the procedure for withdrawing your child from public school.
Then, go and meet your local librarian.
Ask them for their favorite list of books for teens. Sign up for book clubs, teen drop in, writing clubs, tech groups, and whatever else they have for 13+. Go weekly.
If your child hasn’t been involved in music or art programs before, now’s your chance. Sign up for a community choir, for sculpting, for paint nite or painting lessons, for improv or drama class. Maybe learn an instrument!
Music, drama & art can help with emotional & social development, along with confidence, literacy & communication skills, which are essential to a homeschool high school education — or even just life.
There are other types of opportunities as well.
Try a cadets program, for leadership, deportment & citizenship, along with social opportunities, fun outdoor experiences, and a host of life skills — first aid & survival, navigation & communication skills along with other specialties, depending on which branch you choose.
Or perhaps lifeguarding, refereeing, umpiring, or other sports & recreation leadership positions will be of more interest.
There might be political or environmental causes your teen is interested in.
Join up with a political campaign, volunteer with a conservation or activist organization, or attend local municipal council meetings.
Sign them up to volunteer!! Not only does this help with all the soft skills like task management, reporting to a manager, etc, but the networking opportunities are invaluable. You never know who they might meet who can help with their future plans. So work at the local foodbank, help organize walk-a-thons and races, serve at banquets & galas, pick up litter with the local neighbourhood, or help run a kids’ camp. Teens can make a difference and learn new skills at the same time.
Join a gym & sign your child up for fitness classes.
Whether it’s a dance-based cardio or sports skill-based clinic, physical activity is a great outlet for helping teens manage their emotional & physical changes. And sports teams are always an option as well. If your child doesn’t want to play competitively, they could coach younger children’s teams instead!
Go to a local college for a careers exploration day.
Talk to the college counsellors about academic foundations, funding, and supports available. Explore part time, interest-based classes. Many are available for kids as young as 16. And many scientific institutions offer free public lectures on a wide variety of topics. Not only is this a great way to learn, but you can meet with university professors and researchers, which can help with future post-secondary admissions.
At the teen years, field trips are so much fun.
Now is when you want to day trip as much as possible. Get history, science & geography with museums, observatories, and ruins. Go geocaching, fossil hunting, or fishing. Stay up late and stargaze or join the local astronomical society for a star walk. Or get really creative — ghost walk and get a different perspective on local history!
Focus on independence-building skills.
Skills like budgeting, cooking, laundry & car maintenance should be front and centre. Help them set up a bank account. Take cooking classes. And drivers’ ed as soon as they can. If they haven’t done it thru another program, a first aid & CPR class is also a must.
By the end of homeschool high school, they should:
》Be able to think critically about media, money & health-related information
》Have a thorough understanding of their national history, and a basic knowledge of world history, especially 20th century.
》Be able to communicate confidently, respectfully, clearly & assertively in spoken and written format, including text & email
》Have a basic understanding of the scientific process, and be able to read & understand statistics, charts and other scientific data.
》Be able to grocery shop on a budget, cook a full meal & clean up after, including putting away leftovers safely.
》Be financially literate, understanding common household finances such as rent, mortgage, insurance, utility bills, credit scores, loans & budgeting.
》Have solid routines for task management, planning ahead, hygiene & getting ready to go out.
》Be able to fill out forms, and understand basic functions of government, including voting & where to go for particular problems (ie bylaw, police, issues with tax refunds, health care, etc)
》Have the skills to do basic car and home maintenance and small repairs
》Be able to get themselves from point a to point b, using any method of travel, including driving themselves in a personal vehicle.
》Read regularly, with understanding, and have a familiarity with the stories and literature that shape their culture.
》Be able to get along with others respect differences, treat *all* others with respect regardless of age/gender/cultural background or beliefs.
》Be able to respectfully debate, handle disagreement, and work through conflict.
There are a few more skills and concepts to consider, but this should get you started with homeschool high school.
No curriculum necessary.