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High School At Home
"I Don't Know if I Can Teach High School Subjects!"
Although I've heard many parents express this concern before they begin homeschooling through high school, it's a worry that seems to evaporate once they really get started. Just as you discovered while homeschooling through the lower grades, anything you need to teach can be learned or delegated. You don't have to teach chemistry or calculus- just sign up your student for an online class, swap services with a local expert, join a co-op, or let your student get a jump on college while finishing high school. You remain in charge, and your student learns what is needed.
I hope you'll enjoy browsing through the recommended books and visiting some of the suggested websites. You'll find encouragement and support, for there are many parents who've gone before you, and are willing to share what they've learned. Enjoy!
Homeschooling Through High School: A World of Options
When you make the decision to homeschool through the teen years, you open the door to many exciting options for your student. Teens not only have the opportunity to develop as individuals, but they can also pursue special interests, start microbusinesses, travel, accelerate their education, sample different careers, and more. Let’s look at each option.
Have you noticed who is winning spelling and geography bees, music competitions and chess tournaments, debates and robotics competitions? Homeschooled students are often at the very top of these competitions. Why? It’s because they have time to pursue special interests. If they want to spend three hours a day practicing violin, there are no deadlines. They don’t have to put down the violin after 45 minutes and go rushing off to algebra or soccer. A homeschooler’s world is a world almost without deadlines, which means that time can be spent for things that really matter.
Resource: 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey
What could be better than a summer job flipping burgers? Entrepreneurship, for one thing. Just think—instead of spending time in a mindless entry-level job, teens can start and run small businesses, and not only earn money for the future, but also learn about planning, budgeting, organization, marketing, and customer service, and perhaps even gain experience for a future career. What kind of businesses can be operated as a microbusiness (small scale, no loans, minimal overhead)? Possible service-based businesses include tutoring, web design, pet sitting, calligraphy, landscape maintenance, and many others. Potential product-based businesses include selling produce, flowers, or baked goods, jewelry making, leather- or wood-crafting, or selling items on eBay. Almost any business that can be headquartered from home has potential to be a microbusiness.
Resource: Working from Home by Paul and Sarah Edwards
There are few things more educational than travel. Homeschooled teens have the flexibility to travel at any time during the year, and if they happen to have a microbusiness and need to travel for it, they may even be able to deduct some of their travel expenses from their taxes! Family vacations tend to be less expensive and more pleasant when taken during off-peak seasons—homeschoolers don’t need to wait for summer break! I took our boys on a two-month trip around the country one year—it was a geography, history, and culture lesson rolled into a very memorable package. We’ve also taken a wonderful 2-1/2 week trip to Europe, and several shorter trips in the states, all on a very tight budget. Homeschooling offers families the opportunity to travel for competitions, for business, and for pleasure whenever and wherever they want to go.
Resource: Europe Through the Back Door by Rick Steves (and any of his country-specific guide books-- his recommendations are excellent and best of all, cheap enough to be family friendly!)
In traditional school, you’re lucky to get one day off each year to shadow a worker at his or her job. Homeschooled teens can try different careers through informal mentoring relationships, formal apprenticeships, or volunteering opportunities. Although formal internships and other programs exist, it is possible to make private arrangements for a teen to volunteer in the workplace. It is easiest to begin with personal friends and acquaintances with potentially interesting careers, but it is possible to approach strangers with a polite business letter and a resume. Career sampling is a wonderful way to try out a job before committing to several years of college or other training. You can think of it as the Goldilocks option!
Resource: Do What You Are by Paul Tieger and Barbara Barron-Tieger
These are just a few of the many options open to teens who are homeschooled. The thing I have most enjoyed about homeschooling my boys through high school and into college is seeing them develop as individuals. Without excessive scheduling or peer pressure, they were free to learn things they really wanted to know, to sample small business ideas and careers without the pressure of having to immediately earn enough to live on, and to get a jump start on life by accelerating through high school and college. There’s nothing more exciting than seeing your teen become the person he or she wants to be!
Would you like more on this topic? You'll find links to additional articles in the sidebar, and don't forget my audio workshop, Homeschooling Through High School: There's Joy in the Journey!
8.16.06- Has anyone tried The Scholarship & Grant Guide? It offers a centralized way to search 40+/- scholarship databases at one time, and it seems that it would be very efficient. I haven't used it, but I would love to hear from anyone who has. If it's a good resource, I definitely want to share it!
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