Wednesday, February 10

Starting to Homeschool in the High School Years

For so many families, 2020 has brought many unexpected changes. From working at home to distance learning, families are facing challenges they may not have seen coming. While some have decided to maintain as much of the normal schooling process as possible using distance learning, others have jumped into homeschooling for the first time. They withdrew their children from school and decided to homeschool – maybe just for a year or maybe for good. However someone came to the decision to homeschool, it can be challenging especially if you jump into it during the high school years.

First Steps to Take 

After you have fulfilled any legal requirements to start your homeschool journey, you and your child will need to formulate a plan to continue their high school education. For many homeschooling families, you will need to look ahead to the future after high school graduation. Where does your child see him or herself in a few years? Do they want to go to college, a trade school, or start a business? This should help lay the foundation for your high school curriculum.

In addition to seeking help from local, state, and national homeschooling advocacy groups and associations to navigate the legal steps, you can also use them to help you determine just what courses your high school student should be taking. And if your child wants to further their education, it is a good idea to look at the requirements of those schools. I also found it useful to refer to the state requirements for high school graduation for our own son when planning his tenth–twelfth-grade years.

  • Find out how you withdraw from your high school so you can begin homeschooling.
  • Where does your homeschooling high school see themselves after graduation?
  • Will your child need specific courses to fulfill state requirements or to aid them in future career goals?

Teaching Your High School Homeschooling Student

As a former high school teacher, I discovered what high school students need most to succeed is a combination of guidance, encouragement, discussions, and reminders. You can provide them with the materials to study and sit back and let them work. As the homeschooling parent, you will need to familiarize yourself with the materials and content so you can have discussions with your child, but you might not always need to teach the concepts yourself. And play to your strengths and those of your child. If you need help, you can find it through online communities, online curriculum, local co-ops, and more. For example, we have found outsourcing our mathematics courses to be very useful for all our children. 

Once your homeschooling high school student has started studying, you may find yourself needing to remind them to complete assignments. When they were in public school, their teachers may have put systems in place to ensure they turn their work in on time (or even late). You will probably need to work out a system with your child. For our son, I type up a weekly schedule and provide him with the necessary materials either in print or via email. I then email him to send me links or have discussions with him at the dinner table when work is missing or late. This worked especially well during his 11th-grade year, but this year, his 12th-grade year, we are finding we need to have more discussions to encourage the completion of assignments. There are seasons to everything – including homeschooling. 

Your High School Homeschooling Student Needs

  • Guidance
  • Encouragement
  • Healthy Discussions
  • Timely Reminders

Encouraging the Homeschool Parent 

While it may seem like a much scarier prospect to begin homeschooling during the high school years, there are so many great resources available to parents to help them teach their older children. Plus, the fact that older children can accomplish much more on their own is a benefit. It is often possible to enroll them in online courses for homeschooling students as well. In reality, the possibilities seem endless for all the wonderful homeschooling opportunities for high school students. Take courage in knowing that you will be able to provide your high school student with a good education.


Even though it may seem like a daunting task, you can start to homeschool your child during their high school years. If you take one day at a time, you will be able to meet their educational needs, as well as help your child become a compassionate citizen. You are qualified to homeschool your high school student. And if you need help, you only need to ask.

Enter to all of the series giveaways on the Homeschooling Upper Grades landing page!

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Kristen is a housewife and mother to a teen stepson and two younger children. She is a certified social studies teacher and has worked as a volunteer at a National Park site, in the education department of a metropolitan zoo, and as a high school history teacher. Kristen has maintained a blog where she relates her family’s learning experiences at A Mom’s Quest to Teach since 2015. A Mom’s Quest to Teach can be followed on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.  

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