One of the most rewarding times to homeschool our children can be during their high school years. At this point, they may already know what they wish to do 'when they grow up' and you can start to narrow down the curriculum, courses, and classes they take during the school year. If they don't have any idea of their future job or career choice, they can start exploring the possibilities through a variety of interesting resources, experiences, and discussions. While it may become more difficult to get them to complete assignments and work, they can start to learn about taking care of a home and other important life skills (if you haven't already incorporated these into your homeschool days).
Our Experience Homeschooling a High School Student
Our oldest son came to homeschooling in his 10th-grade year. (Read more about this decision here A Teacher Turned Homeschooler). We already had some idea as to the plan of action that we wanted to take, basing the course choices upon our state's requirements for a graduating senior. We then filled in his homeschool year in 10th, 11th, and 12th grades with courses that could prove to be helpful for him if he pursued a future as a photographer.
How do we schedule our day?
While some children are self-motivated, we have found that we need to check in with our homeschooled teen on a regular basis regarding his completion of assignments. With the freedom we have given our son, we also need to make sure he uses this freedom wisely. I create a schedule for the work he should accomplish during the week but I allow him to decide how he structures his individual days. For the most part, he likes to get all his assignments for each class done in one day. So he might work on his religious studies (Introduction to Worldview and Philosophy) on Monday, complete his spelling on Tuesday, and so forth. In most cases, this works for our homeschool. If he was completing more assignments alongside his younger siblings, we might need to take a different approach (like how our younger children complete their spelling together) but this works for our homeschooling family.
Unless you come to homeschooling in the middle of your child's school life, you probably have an idea as to whether your child learns better with one method of teaching or another. Perhaps an online curriculum works best or your child does better with a written/textbook approach. And what about the courses that you should choose?
After you find out if your state has any homeschool requirements, you should determine whether or not your homeschool high schooler has any future career plans. Then, you can work from there with scheduling electives and the rest of the core academic courses. For example, we scheduled our high school homeschooler's courses based upon what our state requires for a high school graduate. So he has taken four years of English (one in public school), three years of math, three years of science, and so on.
What About Grading?
A lot of grading homeschool high school assignments depends upon the individual courses and curriculum chosen as well as the future beyond senior high school graduation. As our son is not looking to attending a four-year college at this time, my approach to grading is different than if he was looking at a four-year college or university.
This does not mean that we do not correct work for accuracy or completion, but I do not necessarily assign as many written assessments as other homeschooling families. We complete the written work provided with the curriculum we use, but we also spend time talking about the classes and courses.
When grading high school work – actually when grading any homeschool work, having answer keys is important. If you don't have answer keys, then you will need to read the assignments along with your children or you might need to have an understanding of the material. For example, I like essay assignments that have a rubric with possible answers or facts that should be included for subjects that I may not be super familiar with myself. And if you are using an online program with self-correcting assignments, that's an even better bonus!
Homeschooling during the high school years does not need to be a challenge. Once you are set on the path, it can be easy to continue. With so many wonderful resources for school and for extracurricular activities, your high school student can succeed in various areas of life with a little bit of help and guidance from you.