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Once your children enter high school, your homeschooling experience begins to shift. For those just beginning the high school years, choosing the proper curriculum is sometimes a challenge. Initially,your children will become more independent, which is a good thing because it will give you more free time. But you’ll find that your free time is now taken up by other things, such as collecting school records, transcripts, creating progress reports, and for seniors beginning the college application and scholarship process
Homeschooling high school definitely requires a bit more from both students and parents. Below you’ll find a few tips that will benefit both new homeschooling high school parents as well as experienced homeschoolers.
Choosing the proper high school curriculum
High school is a training ground for your student’s future and the fundamental criteria for choosing a high school curriculum should be your student. It’s wise to choose a curriculum based on their learning styles, as well as their interests. Has your student decided what career they want to pursue? If so, plan your curriculum and high school schedule to support that. If they aren’t sure about their future, choose a curriculum and courses that will leave them open to options. Don’t be afraid to jump out of the box! The options for homeschooled high schoolers are extensive, and it’s easy to plug in to great opportunities. Also, don’t be discouraged thinking that you’ll have to teach all of that difficult high school subject matter. There are co-ops, web-based curriculum, and even dual education opportunities that take the teaching burden off of the parent. It is possible to find the right curriculum for both you and your student!
Collecting school records and progress reports
Record keeping is definitely an essential part of successfully navigating high school homeschool. It’s very important that you keep detailed records of your student’s accomplishments throughout their high school experience. You’ll need to keep grade records (a google spreadsheet works wonders), a high school transcript, a description of all extra curricular activities like sports or clubs, a record of volunteer experience, and a documentation of any awards or certificates your student may receive. Depending on the curriculum you choose, some of that record keeping may be alleviated. Most web based curriculum will have an automated progress report and grade record which makes documenting your students work a breeze.
College application process
The college application process actually starts as soon as the student enters high school. Of course, for beginning high schoolers there is a learning curve as they focus on getting good grades and thinking through their future. Once they’ve gotten direction or know what they want for their future, it’s time to think about college. It’s a great idea to plan vacations around a prospective college that your student might want to visit.
Your next step would be scheduling the ACT or SAT test. You don’t want to put this off! Since you can take the test as many times as you wish, it’s great to start early. Colleges will want to see an ACT or SAT score right out of the gate along with all of those awesome high school transcripts you kept.
The college application process usually starts the fall before you plan to attend. Today, most colleges accept applications right through registration, but if you want to guarantee admission – start early. You can use the common college application on the College Board website to get the ball rolling. This will give you the ability to fill out one application and submit it to several colleges at once. Time saving for sure!
Great news! Financial aid, such as Federally Subsidized Student Loans and Pell Grants are available to home schoolers, if the students meet the requirements. This is another reason why the ACT or SAT is so important. If you take the test several times, chances are higher that you’ll receive a score that will ensure federal/and or state financial aid. But, remember to fill out your FAFSA Form early. You can fill it out as early as October for the following year’s aid. As a rising college student you are more likely to be set aside for verification and that process takes time, so do it early!
Great scholarships are also available. This process is not as difficult as you may think. It’s good to find a site that lists many scholarship opportunities and apply to as many as you can. As a matter of fact, College scholarships.org reports: “While most scholarships don’t specifically exclude homeschoolers, more and more are actually targeting them specifically, even encouraging homeschoolers to apply.”
You can see that keeping good records and being proactive in planning out your high school years is important — especially if they’re planning on receiving a college education. Don’t forget to take advantage of the opportunities available for homeschooling high school. Local colleges, co-ops and even online curriculum resources help with the record keeping, but you can also visit many websites for additional assistance and invaluable tools such as free templates and downloadable materials.
This is an exciting time for both you and your children. Have fun and enjoy the many memories you create as your students strive toward graduation.