Sign up to receive 10 free downloadable workbooks! Sign Up

Homeschooling a High Schooler Who Is Not College-Bound

So you have a high school student who is definitely not college-bound. How do you educate him? What does she REALLY need? Are there alternative training options available? I asked myself these same questions not so very long ago. Here is what I discovered…

Looking for a curriculum your kids will like?
An online homeschool curriculum can open new doors by creating an interactive learning experience that brings concepts to life.
online curriculum
Homeschooling should be fun.
With Time4Learning, it can be!

Homeschooling a Student Who Isn't College-Bound

College isn’t for everyone, and that’s OK. That became my new mantra. You know what? It really is OK. If you’re in the same boat, don’t row like CrAzY in an attempt to try and motivate your student into following an educational ocean wave when all they really need to do is competently maneuver around the the lake.

Repeat after me…college isn’t for everyone. Excellent.

One of the beauties of homeschooling high schoolers is the freedom it allows for non-traditional students to explore and learn… differently. So where can you find non-traditional learning opportunities? Everywhere.

Volunteer Opportunities

Many homeschool students volunteer. It’s a great way to serve others and learn while doing. And, volunteer opportunities abound–you literally can’t turn around without bumping into the perfect volunteer position. Businesses, non-profits, self-employed entrepreneurs, libraries, farms, fire stations, animal shelters and rescues, and even freelancers are always on the lookout for a little extra help.

My son, Jeremy, had no interest in attending college. When he developed an interest in horses while in high school, we found a wonderful resource in Flint Hill Farm and Educational Center . The owner relies on a large team of volunteers to help with a variety of tasks and chores. Jeremy learned how to properly care for and feed many different farm animals, how to safely handle, wash, and store chicken eggs, and all about daily farm operation. He often showed visitors around the farm and helped to answer their questions. To supplement his new interest, I created several agricultural-related electives. Ah, the beauty of homeschooling!

Volunteering teaches both academic and non-academic skill sets.

Academic skills include:

  • Computer proficiency
  • Writing
  • Public speaking
  • Organization
  • Training in the trades and subject-specific areas

Non-academic skills may include:

  • Time management
  • Responsibility
  • Tolerance
  • Patience
  • Social skills
  • Accountability

Jobs

What teen doesn’t crave a little extra cash?

A job can serve two purposes–teens can earn a little spending money while also learning the skills necessary to work in a specific field someday. Even being a gofer can lead to a basic understanding of how things are done in a particular business.

Jobs can even develop from volunteer positions. Our daughter, Emily, always loved children. She was a mother’s helper from a young age which led to frequent babysitting jobs. In high school, she volunteered at our church’s preschool, and you guessed it… that eventually led to a teaching position.

Volunteer positions and jobs teach similar skills; however, having a job has an added bonus–an introduction to finances. Your kids will learn all about debit vs credit, taxes, budgeting, and more. If they don’t yet have a savings and/or checking account, now is the perfect time.

When helping your high school student find a job, do your homework and be sure to access and follow the Federal Labor Laws. This may be especially important if your teen is out and about a lot during traditional public school hours and is very visible to the public and non-homeschooling eyes.

Mentoring

Mentoring centers on relationship.

According to Barbara Hettle, a fellow homeschool mom and experienced professional consultant, “Mentors can enrich a student’s academic performance and also provide an important support as students move from adolescence to adulthood.” A mentor can be anyone who shares similar interests with your student.

The beauty of mentoring is that it typically develops naturally as the result of an already established relationship between your student and someone within your community. Interest attracts interest.  “Mentors who share subject interest can provide additional depth to homeschooling subjects,” Barbara says.

Apprenticeships

When you think about an apprenticeship, does your mind wander back hundreds of years to colonial days? Apprenticeships have a rich and historic past and still provide excellent learning opportunities for high school homeschoolers today.

Apprenticeships can be paid or unpaid and can be found within a variety of trades and businesses. Two great resources recommended by fellow homeschool mom Susan Raber are the United States Department of Labor Apprenticeships USA and the Vocational Information Center’s Apprenticeship Training Resources page. Susan says that although she didn’t actively seek out apprenticeships for her children, the opportunities came about naturally due to her family’s strong connections within their community.

Creative High School Courses

As you can see, there are plenty of opportunities for non-college bound students to learn and receive training.

Another way to incorporate interest-specific training into your homeschool is through creative course work. This can be in the form of co-op classes, local community college classes, or personalized curriculum that you create for your student. Don’t worry. You don’t need to be an expert in your child’s specific area of interest because there are abundant resources available. Begin at the library and check out books on the subject. Search online–there are often free courses, interactive tutorials, and articles that you can incorporate into your courses. Add a little up close and personal view and seek out someone in the field for your teen to shadow.

Does your son really need to take higher math courses and a complex high school Chemistry course? Absolutely not! Here is an opportunity to get really creative. When my son was in high school, it was clear that he was not college bound. With a little creativity, we mixed several chemistry courses together to create just the right balance for his needs and ability while also doing a lot of  kitchen science. He learned the basics and that was sufficient for high school credit.

Are you concerned about your non-college bound high school student? That’s only natural. You’re a homeschool mom, after all. So, take a few deep breaths, grab a nice hot cup of tea, and check out this great resource at LetsHomeschoolHighSchool.com–College Alternatives.

How do you supplement your high school student’s coursework with real world experience? We’d love to know. Please, share your ideas in the comment section below.

Karen Doll

Karen Doll is a freelance writer based in the beautiful countryside of eastern Pennsylvania. As a veteran homeschool mom, she specializes in writing about home education topics and creative learning. Karen's work has appeared in Home School Enrichment Magazine, Seton Magazine, Oak Meadow Living Education Journal, The Organized Mom, and Write Shop. In her free time, she enjoys reading, watching old movies, gardening, bird watching, and fishing the day away with her sweetheart in his dad's old rowboat. Stop by and visit Karen at her new cyber home: athomewithkarendoll.wordpress.com

Read Next Post
»
Read Previous Post
«

Homeschooling a Student Who Isn't College-Bound />

TheHomeSchoolMom may be compensated for any of the links in this post through sponsorships, paid ads, free or discounted products, or affiliate links. Local resource listings are for information purposes only and do not imply endorsement. Always use due diligence when choosing resources, and please verify location and time with the organizer if applicable. Suggestions and advice on TheHomeSchoolMom.com are for general information purposes only and should never be considered as specific to any individual situation, nor are they a diagnosis or treatment advice for any kind of medical, developmental, or psychological condition. Blog posts represent the views of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the views of other contributors or the publisher. Full terms of use and disclosure

Comments

  1. Robina

    Karen,

    Thank you for sharing this article.

    A few years ago I asked a group of homeschool moms (in our co-op) if they would be disappointed if their children did NOT attend college. They unanimously replied, “Yes!”

    It was saddening to think that so many parents (and their children) are locked/brainwashed into the traditional mindset that your child should/MUST cross a stage to receive a diploma in one hand with a packed suitcase in the other…headed for college. Many are entrapped into thinking that college is the end-all/be-all; college is the only way that a person could ‘amount to anything’ or ‘the only way to get a good-paying job.’ So, so, so, so sad.

    Age (50’s), experience, the ability to think for myself, life lessons, and examining things with the eyes/mind of Christ has freed me from the traditions of men that keep people in bondage. Praise God for liberty!

    So much more that could be said, but I will keep it succinct. The greatest pursuit is that of knowing God, seeking first His Kingdom and His righteousness, seeking Wisdom, and getting knowledge and understanding. Then, we can boldly approach the Throne of Grace to seek the mind of God as to what His plans and calling are for our lives/our children’s lives. The world’s standards, expectations, and traditions DO NOT define who we are in Christ Jesus.Lastly, as believers in this day and age, we REALLY need to be trusting the strong arm of God (translation: live by faith), not in degrees, salaries, and intellectual capacity.

    • Thank you, Robina 🙂

      As homeschool moms, we want the best for our children. We have a stake in their education, and we’re passionate about helping them to succeed, not only in school, but in life as well. So it can be difficult when they’re just not interested in college. We can’t put motivation into them, we can only encourage and help to shape and mold who they are already. It’s wonderful to see so many options for these students. As a mom who raised both a college-bound student and one who was not college- bound, I know there are pros and cons for each path and both my husband and I worked alongside each of our children to help them navigate their chosen path. I think that if we’re willing to allow our children to follow their hearts while also helping them to get the best training possible, we’re giving them a firm foundation to enter the world as a happy and successful adult.

      Thanks so much for your kind words. I appreciate that you took the time to respond to my post.

      Best wishes 🙂

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *