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Bad News/Good News of Starting Homeschooling in High School

TheHomeSchoolMom Blog: The Good News/Bad News about Starting Homeschooling in High SchoolFirst the bad news about beginning homeschooling in high school:

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  1. If your child might return to public education in a future year, the school will have the right to determine what grade the child should be in.
  2. If your child returns to public school after homeschooling, he might have to pass end-of-course tests and standardized tests or show other work to be granted credit for work done while homeschooling. Accepting or denying credit for such work is at the school’s discretion.
  3. It may be harder for your child to adjust to homeschooling because she’s been in school longer. Homeschoolers typically go through a process called deschooling — an adjustment from attending school to homeschooling. It may take longer for older kids.
  4. You might think an online program or “all-in-one” curriculum will work well because at this age your child should be able to work independently, but some curricula are inflexible and don’t stimulate the interests of some kinds of learners. It might take a while to find what works.
  5. Homeschooling communities are harder to join when you start with older kids. Many homeschoolers do attend school for the first time during their high school years, making it harder to find homeschool classes and social opportunities for older teens, especially if your kids didn’t “grow up” in homeschooling. As a parent, you haven’t had years to grow into the networking.

Now the good news about beginning homeschooling in high school:

  1. It’s never too late to learn with home education. Kids are always able to benefit from a more customized approach to education and greater one-on-one time.
  2. Many high school age homeschoolers can take community college classes through dual enrollment, usually beginning around age 16 (varies from state-to-state and within some states). This provides both academic experience and social time with other students.
  3. The high school years are a great time for parents to facilitate or support special opportunities such as apprenticeships, mentorships, and entrepreneurship. Your teen can learn by starting her own business or working alongside someone in an interesting field.
  4. Older teens are frequently welcomed as volunteers and can learn a lot in great service environments.
  5. Teenagers benefit from getting out of negative school social situations, if you can provide something safer and more productive at home.
  6. With your guidance, your homeschooled high schooler can prepare for admission to college or prepare for a vocation. You’ll need to help with a transcript — both knowing what to put on it and helping your child with the appropriate learning.
  7. Many high school age homeschoolers have a great capacity for creativity and work. During these high energy years, they can spend generous time making art or music, studying dance or drama, building things and doing experiments, writing code and tinkering with hardware — or earning money. Let them make!
  8. Older teens may be driving or secure in their ability to use public transit. Homeschooling moms of many little kids find they are driving the mom-taxi for many hours each week — but your child may be closer to being able to make his own way to activities and classes.
  9. You’ll have more time to spend with your teen than when he or she was going to school. The high school years go by in the blink of an eye; homeschooling gives you more time together.
  10. Yes, your homeschooled child can have a diploma — the one you give him.
  11. Your homeschooled teen will be able to sleep more and on a better schedule for the developmental stage.
  12. A teenager who wants to leave school in order to homeschool is often happier. That’s an amazingly good thing. Just sayin’.
Jeanne Faulconer

A popular speaker at homeschooling conferences, business groups, and parents’ groups, Jeanne Potts Faulconer homeschooled her three sons in North Carolina, Mississippi, and Virginia for twenty years. Jeanne is director of Brave Writer's Homeschool Alliance, which provides homeschool coaching, community, and "grad school for homeschool" for parents. She is the contributing editor for TheHomeSchoolMom newsletter and writes the popular Ask Jeanne column, addressing homeschool parents' questions here at TheHomeSchoolMom. She is a former college faculty member, former editor and book reviewer for Home Education Magazine, a long-time editor for VaHomeschoolers Voice, and a news correspondent for WCVE, an NPR-member station. Holding her Master of Arts degree in Communication, Jeanne has conducted portfolio evaluations for Virginia homeschoolers for evidence of progress for many years.

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  1. Keisha Warren

    I’ve been homeschooling my 16 year old son since September 2018. I am concerned about his social interaction as he’s always struggled with that. I have been and continue to look for a homeschool support group near Griffin, GA but am having a hard time locating one that’s fairly close and still active. I want him to be able to socialize and go to functions and do activities with others his age and go to a prom and experience a high school graduation, if any support groups offer such things and for his age group. Would you have any resources for me?

    • Jeanne Faulconer

      Hi Keisha,

      Check out our state and local resources to see if you can find someone in your area who can give you information. I moved a lot during our twenty years of homeschooling, and I found that things like prom and graduation were easy to find in some communities and non-existent in others. I sometimes even had to create homeschool groups, drawing people together from across a broad part of a state. “Fairly close” was easy in some places but quite difficult in some of the rural areas and small towns we lived in. I hope you will be able to find something by talking to people in your state. If there is nothing in existence, I encourage you to try a simple meet-up to find families in your area. From there you can decide if there is enough critical mass to create the things you are seeking for your son.

      Good luck!


  2. nicole

    I am a junior in high school thinking of doing homeschool senior year , where do I start and is it difficult?

    • Jeanne Faulconer

      Hi Nicole, here is a link to our Getting Started information. You will need to look at your state laws and see how they impact you. In many states, you would not get a school diploma but a homeschool diploma from your parents. While a homeschool diploma is effective for college admission and jobs, there are a few states whose colleges are more strict to be in line with their state law, so you want to be sure you understand that in case you want to go to college. Homeschooling varies a lot, with some people enrolling in online programs and others learning independently through projects. Many teens dual enroll in classes at their community college. There are a lot of ways to put it together, so do some research to find out what might work for you. Good luck!

  3. Laurie

    I am interested in home schooling my 9th grader . I have no idea where to start and how to choose the best curriculum. I have never home schooled before and have no one willing to help me through this. We are a low income family and I don’t know what the cost will entail. Please help

  4. Angie

    Thinking of homeschooling my 16 and 13 yr old girls. They are being hit, hair pulled out by several female students and, black eye and body slammed by a male student. They both hate school and it’s tears every morning. Text messages all day begging to be picked up from school. Don’t know what else I can do but to pull them out of school

    • Mary Ann Kelley

      Hi Angie – I’m sorry to hear about what your girls are experiencing. As the mother of two (graduated) homeschooled daughters with the same age spread as yours, I can’t even imagine watching them go through what you describe.

      Homeschooling high school is, in my opinion, the easiest time to homeschool. If your girls have always been in public school, it’s beneficial to take time to deschool – both for you and the girls. Our 5 part parental deschooling series will help you to start out on the right foot.

      While it can be intimidating to start homeschooling in high school, at that age students often are, after a period of deschooling to shake off the toxic effects that they have experienced in their previous experience, ready to take on responsibility for their own learning. Even reading for pleasure and playing games is a learning experience. I think you’ll find this post from contributor Nick Perez, an unschooler and self-educated web developer, to be inspiring:
      Dropping Out of High School Was a Great Idea

      Homeschooling can help your girls prepare for almost any future they want to pursue from college to a trade to the military (the caveat might be NCAA sports, which has strict requirements and not all states allow homeschoolers to play on public high school sports teams). To give you an idea of how I approached homeschooling high school, you can take a look at our 10th grade plan here:

      I highly recommend that you find a local homeschool group for support and guidance. If you can’t find a group that meets in person, there are many state and local homeschool groups on Facebook – just search for the name of your city or state and the word homeschooling with Facebook’s search tool.

      Best wishes on your homeschool journey!

  5. Dorraine

    I am thInking of homeschooling my three children. We have recently moved to Florida from CT the schools were awesome there, and I keep hearing from a lot of people that the school systems here in Tampa aren’t standing up to the children’s needs. Two of my children have ADHD and it is harder for them to keep up with the rest of their classmates. I really do not want them to fall behind on their grades because the school down’t have the programs to help them.

    • Mary Ann Kelley

      Hi Dorraine – I’m sorry for the delay responding. The past month has been crazy and I’m just getting caught up. Jeanne isn’t always available to reply to comments but so I try to check in on her posts. I think you will find that homeschooling helps ADHD students in many cases since it allows you to meet their needs as well as allowing them to progress in the areas where they are ready while not pushing them in the areas where they need extra time to learn (or gain readiness). The following two articles should be of help to you:
      Will Homeschooling Help Add/ADHD?
      The Goldilocks Effect: Learning When It’s Just Right

      Here is a success story from a journalist who has ADHD and believes that homeschooling helped him to succeed:
      How Homeschooling Gave Me a Solid Career Foundation

      • Passion Pressley

        Hello my name is Passion Presley I am interested in enrolling my 3 childrens but not real expensive

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