For many homeschooling moms, high school just sends them running. Many fear that they aren't equipped to teach high school from home, but from my experience the saying ‘knowledge is power' is true for this situation as well.
We have graduated two of our children using the Charlotte Mason method all the way through high school. Although neither of our children have decided to continue to college, they both knew exactly what they desire to do before graduating and were equipped to follow the path that they both desired.
Isn't that the key to the homeschool journey? Equipping our children for their future?
Here are the things that I found crucial in teaching high school from home and having confident graduates that entered the adult world, still wanting to learn and follow their unique path.
7 Ways to Prepare for High School at Home
- Learn about Your State's Requirements for a Diploma – I would recommend knowing what your state requires for a diploma when your child is in middle school. To do high school at home correctly, you need to have a well laid out plan for how they will earn their diploma. Once you know exactly what is required, you can write down a 4 year plan (or less) to reaching that goal but putting down the courses needed in the year that you plan on teaching it.
- Talk to Your High School About Their Interest – We start talking to our children early about their strengths, their gifts and their interest. We have found that their strengths and gifts were exactly what was needed to accomplish their interest. We tried hard to allow our children to decide on their own, but offered suggestions of areas that their strengths and gifts fit, allowing them to see that life after graduation isn't just a box of chocolate but an opportunity to do great things with the right focused and determination. Parents are the world's greatest life coaches, but they need to be at the practices to impact the game.
- Know if Your Child is College Bound – Assuming your child wants to go to college can be a waste of time and energy. The other can be true as well, if you don't desire your child to go because of resources. Talking about this early in their high school and having an open discussions about the pros and cons, the possibilities and what needs to happen if they do or they don't is really important for their direction in life. It helps them learn the necessary steps to making good choices that can impact their life forever, like marriage, a house and even a career.
- Does Duel Enrollment Fit Your Needs – If you know that you child is college bound or if you need help teaching them advance math, or other subjects out of your ability, consider Duel Enrollment at a local college. How this works is that as early as 11th grade, you child can attend a local college taking their high school classes, while earning credit for their high school diploma and their college diploma. This could be a great experience for those that aren't sure about the college decision, as well as an advance student that needs a little challenge in life. This option is growing in popularity within the homeschool community because it saves a lot of time and money.
- Consider Electives that Will Help Their Plans – If your child already knows what they will likely do after graduation, planning their electives to benefit their future is the best thing you can do for them. Our daughter wasn't sure what she wanted to do after graduation because her only desire was to be a wife and mother. I believe it is very important to not only redeem your time but use the gifts each person was gifted. So, her electives were based off her gifts (music) and her interest (photography and writing). Toward the end of her Senior year in high school, she decided to use her gifts to learn blogging, since it would be something she could still do as a wife and mother. All of her high school prepared her for the important elements for what she is doing and what she doesn't know, she learns online or at conferences.
- Consider Life Skills as Important as Academics – If you go shopping and have a cashier under 22 years of age (sometimes older) and they aren't able to give you change because something went wrong with the register, you will understand why I'm pointing out what use to be obvious… Life skills are important! Be certain that your high school understands not only how to make change, but the value of a dollar, how to bargain shop online and in stores, how to use eBay, Amazon and Craigslist, how to open a checking and savings account, how to balance a check book, how to understand credit cards and interest, how to invest and how to grocery shop. Additional skills to fix things around the house and vehicle are just additional life skills that will help them financially down the road.
- Mistakes are a Part of Life – Remember being in high school and the choices you made. Realizing that our children are human and will make mistakes are really important for them and you. My husband and I decided a long time ago that we wanted our children to learn from our own mistakes, then find out for themselves while under our own roof, since no one really learns from other's mistakes. As soon as our children had licenses, we gave them our debit card and told them to make a list for groceries and go shopping for us. We told them what we normally spend on groceries and sent them off. Knowing that I had taught them about price comparison and how to menu plan, gave me the confidence to do this. Most importantly, it taught them that we trusted them with our own money, with their decisions and when they made a mistake it cost us far less then what it cost others who have to bail their children out of a horrible bounced checks and over the limits on credit cards.
A few weeks after our second child graduated, I had went to a local store and realized that he never returned my debit card in my wallet. The elderly customer in front of me was still putting things back into her purse, when the cashier asked me how I was today. I replied, “I was doing good until I realized that my son still has my debt card.” The elderly customer turned to me and said, “And you trusted him!” A little shocked and taken back by her response, I replied, “Why yes! He has proven my trust since he was 17. Why wouldn't I?” She turned to walk away and said, “Well, that is your mistake!”
I didn't say this to her, but I'm going to say this to you… “Her lack of trust with her own children is her mistake, but my trust is my children is not a mistake, but my reward for the investment I put into my children's education.” There were a few times they went over our budget by $50 or so, but it didn't harm us and it showed them the importance of grocery list and meal planning. You can't buy that kind of education, you can only life it!