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How We Homeschool in High School

How to home-school through high school

Hi Kristen,

I’ve been a reader of your blog for a few years.  I’m a homeschool mom of 4 from Washington state, and my oldest, 13, is getting ready to start high school next year.  I always thought I’d send him to public school for high school, but now the time is approaching I’m not so sure.  I’ve searched your blog to see how you homeschooled your son through high school.

I know the focus of your blog isn’t on homeschooling, but I’m super interested in hearing how you made sure you planned and organized high school!

Thanks so much,

Jessica H.

Yep, I homeschooled Joshua through high school, and Lisey is about to graduate from high school this spring.

Sonia just started high school this past fall, and Zoe starts this coming fall.

So, we are definitely in a high school homeschool phase of life around here. 😉

I am part of a homeschooling umbrella group, which means that we report to this group at the end of each year to prove that we have done sufficient schooling for that year.

How do you know which classes to teach?

Our umbrella group gives us a form to fill out for each year of high school, detailing which classes we’ve done with our kids.  The form itself lets us know how many credits of each type students need over the four years of high school and that makes planning easy for me.

Your local homeschool government office should be able to provide you with a list of the requirements, but this site also gives a rundown, state by state.

How do you keep records for high school transcripts?

We send in the high school record keeping form each spring, and the umbrella group then keeps high school records and provides a transcript, which is very handy.

If you aren’t part of an umbrella group, your local homeschool office should be able to advise you on the way they want you to keep high school records.

Our umbrella group also sends an official diploma at the end of high school.

Did you use any outside instruction?

Joshua and Lisey both started taking community college classes during their junior year of high school. They just had to take a math and English placement test, and then they were able to enroll in regular classes.

used college textbooks

Before enrolling in college classes, Lisey took two classes at a homeschool tutorial during her sophomore year.  Sonia’s in her freshman year, and she’s currently taking two classes at the same tutorial.  She will likely do that again next year before she starts at the community college.

I find that outside instruction is helpful for high school science classes, particularly because I am not naturally a science-leaning person.  I’m happy to outsource that! And gathering experiment supplies for one kid is a little frustrating; a class is definitely more efficient when it comes to experiments.

Math is another common class to outsource.  So far, my kids have done all their high school math at home with me (I am pretty good at algebra by this point!), but Sonia might take geometry at the tutorial next fall.

math dinosaur

(I tried two different geometry curricula with Joshua and Lisey and I hated both. So I’m up for letting someone else give it a shot.)

I do think it’s helpful to take at least a class or two outside the home during high school.  I took no outside classes when I was in high school (such things didn’t really exist at the time!) and it was a tad bit overwhelming to jump right into a full time college load. 

It was manageable in the end, but I think it would have been great to get a little classroom experience first.

What curriculum did you use? Did you make up your own?

I did some DIY curriculum when my kids were littler, but I was not about to do that for high school.  We used purchased curriculum for all of their classes in high school.

Was it overwhelming?

In some senses, homeschooling can be overwhelming when you have multiple students just because of the sheer amount of work.

But I didn’t feel like homeschooling during high school was vastly different than, say, homeschooling during middle school.

(Since I know someone will wonder, Sonia’s backpack is Jansport, from Amazon.)

Also, because I am a second-generation homeschooler, I was not feeling particularly stressed about whether or not my kids would be getting a proper education.

Since I knew that my siblings and I did well in college after graduating from homeschool, I figured my kids would be fine.  And they are. Joshua and Lisey have been straight A students thus far.

*To be clear, we would not have considered it to be a failure for them to get something less than an A. I’m just pointing out that they were definitely prepared enough for college.

In closing, I’d just add that homeschooling through high school is not as impossible as you might imagine, especially if you utilize a tutorial or community college courses for credits you feel a little less qualified to handle.

I hope that answers your questions! If I missed something or my answers sparked another question, let me know in the comments.

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Monday 17th of February 2020

Awesome information! I’m a certified teacher and professor in Virginia, we’re relocating to California and I’m hoping to home school my seventh grader. I’m sure I’ll have tons of questions as the time draws nearer, just reading and enjoying for now!


Saturday 23rd of March 2019

Wow. I just realized how long I’ve been reading your blog. I remember when Zoe started “Kindergarten”! The years do fly by, don’t they?

With my own son starting in the fall, I bought the BOB books on your recommendation. What a great investment! He is sailing through them and I am so proud.

I am a second grade teacher, so I will be taking my children to the school where I work instead of homeschooling, but I just want to say that I admire your approach to schooling. I have no doubts that your children will be self-sufficient, lifelong learners. Great work, Mama!


Saturday 23rd of March 2019

Bob Book are just the best! I'm so glad that they're helping your little guy.


Thursday 21st of March 2019

I missed this post yesterday. I'm a fellow homeschool mom, but my kiddos are 6 and under. High school is a long way off, but I do have experience as a former high school teacher. The education you are providing your kids is similar to our plans.

We hope for our kids to do some public high school classes (mainly band/orchestra/choir), some distance learning, some self directed learning, and some University classes (because we live in a college town). If we piece it together right, they could have an associate's degree by the time they graduate high school.

The public school I taught at had an associate's degree program, and about 70 students a year finished it while many others took some classes. All of those students had quite the eclectic schedules to complete high school and college at the same time. I suspect they're lives weren't much different from many homeschool high schoolers' lives. Freedom of education is wonderful in all its various forms.


Thursday 21st of March 2019

I should proofread. "they're" Cringe!

Deb W

Thursday 21st of March 2019

My younger two were homeschooled all the way thru. Took classes at the Community College for their last 2 years of high school and were advanced placed for their 4 year schools. One is about to graduate with her BA (3.0 GPA) with no debt, and the other is on track to finish with his degree with very minimal debt (he lives away at school so extra costs were a factor).

My oldest child was only hs-d a few years and spent the majority of his time in public school. He has learning disabilities that are NOT obvious (dyslexia and processing issues). He didn't go to college at all, but has a good job and is a productive, good man. One might consider that a parent is tryinig to HS a child with not obvious challeges and that can appear that they are failing at HS-ing but that the PS option is worse for their particular child.

I've seen good/bad parenting and good/bad teaching, and even good/bad "being a human!" - we might all consider that the vast majority of people are trying the best they can and there is no one-size-fits-all for any method of education or parenting or life for that matter. A little grace goes a long way. :-)

Diane C

Wednesday 20th of March 2019

My sister has four home-schooled boys. When the oldest two got to high school and discovered GIRLS!, they demanded to go to their local public high school. They both did well in HS, completed some college and each now owns their own successful business. The next one went to a charter school that was a combination of study at home and in a central location with others. He also works a non-traditional job and does quite well for himself. He was also the first to marry. His wife works in her mom's business. The youngest is a bit more complicated and did a combination of everything. They all turned out fine.

Hmmm - is there a connection here - home schooling followed by successful business ownership? It probably helps that they have developed good habits over the years and are self-starters.

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