Homeschooling High School Students
While children around the country are slowly filing into their respective schools for those
uncertain first few days, we are quite settled in here. Our first day of school started on August 7
this year. As a family, we decided that if we started even earlier than the year before we could
school four days a week. I let the children decide which day of the week they would like to have
off. I had planned on Monday, not because I liked the idea, but because I know that Monday is
the hardest day to get moving.
Surprisingly they chose Friday, explaining that they felt it would be a break from their
week of hard work. I had sat down with the calendar and calculated exactly when we would have
to start and end in order to meet the 180-day requirement of our state. This year, having a high
school student, I had to make sure I knew exactly how many minutes he would have to work each
of those four days to earn a "unit" needed in specific classes.
I have numbers written throughout my "homeschool" notebook so that I know exactly
what is needed. 180 days of school, 990 hours per year, 6,480 minutes per academic per year, 4
units of English.....the list goes on and on. When it comes to homeschooling your highschooler,
suddenly everything changes. So I guess you could say that my children are settled in. I, on the
other hand, find myself as anxious as I was the very first day, three years ago, when we began our
Just as things get more complicated as a publicly schooled child progresses from middle
school to high school, it gets a bit more complicated for the homeschooler who suddenly has to
keep track of the minutes he or she spends in each subject. Add to it the fact that in our state a
highschool student needs three electives and you've got me, the anxious and eager "to get it just
In my quest to get it right, I have joined an additional yahoo group. This new group is for
homeschooling moms with high school students who wish to pursue college after
My son loves math and science and is deciding between pursuing some kind of business
degree or becoming a veterinarian. It finally dawned on me....the great responsibility I have for
his life. I can make or break his future. It's up to me to make sure he has all the right classes
during his high school years so he can pursue either of his interests. I've never doubted my ability
to homeschool until this particular year. It reminds me of climbing the high diving board at the
pool. When you're going up the ladder, you're all ready to go. When you get to the edge of that
diving board, it hits you. Can you really do this? Though there are two ways down, once you've
gone that far you hate to climb back down. So it's sink or swim.
Never having been a quitter, and always enjoying a challenge, I decided to swim. I can
do this, I told myself. I just need to learn as much as I can, talk to other moms who are
homeschooling high schoolers and cull pearls of wisdom from moms who have "been there and
done that". I dove in headfirst. Now you may recall that we belong to a wonderful and supportive
homeschool group already. We love the activities, sports and events, but we also happened to be
one of only two families with high school age children. So I needed to go outside my comfortable
group of moms and find moms who were doing what I had to do as well as moms who had done
it and succeeded. Fortunately I found Barbara, a homeschooling mom of three college students.
Though she lives far from my home, the gift of email makes it possible to "chat" back
and forth. I learned that Barbara had three homeschoolers in college and one senior left at home.
Barbara was only too happy to "translate" the high school regulations laid out by the board of
education. She helped me figure out roughly how many minutes each academic needed spent on
it and how to choose electives. Electives were causing me endless anxiety. Barbara explained that
electives can be anything your child is interested in. Once I heard that, I sat down with my son
and he came up with three electives he wished to pursue: Spanish, Real Estate and Public
Speaking. From there I had only to do a little research to find the materials I would need to make
up my own lessons.
Slowly I am learning that when it comes to elective courses, making up a curriculum is
not as difficult as I thought. Though more challenging it's possible to teach these "new" courses,
thanks to the tremendous amount of books, CDs and information available on the internet and in
the library. And I also found out that I don't have to "get it just right" by myself. Many moms
were happy to let me know that my son can take courses from outside sources, tutors and even
the community college. I've still got all those numbers scribbled in my homeschool notebook but
I'm calming down. As Barbara would say "Don't get too caught up in the numbers. Enjoy
homeschooling your highschooler!"
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Christina Lorenzen is a full-time freelance writer specializing in parenting and health issues. With more than 125 articles published, she also offers her wisdom and experience to other writers by teaching writing workshops through local libraries, bookstores and online. In addition to this column, she is also a columnist for Connecting @ Home magazine. She can reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Listen to an Interview About Homeschooling with Christine Lorensen