Sunday, November 1, 2015

How Will I Teach High School?

Many parents shudder when they think of teaching High School subjects at home. Maybe it's the whole idea that your little children are now teenagers, or maybe you're just dreading a particular subject that you didn't do well in yourself. Whatever your concern, we're here today to let you know teaching High School at home doesn't have to be scary.

If you've been teaching your children at home , it helps if you spend part of the Middle School years helping them transition to being independent learners. With each child this works differently. Your goal should be that they can at least begin or end each lesson by themselves. If you've been very hands on as a teacher, use these Middle School years to start letting go and letting the student have more responsibility. Don't plan to lecture-teach during High School, you will set yourself up for disappointment, and your student for boredom. High Schoolers should be working on learning the material themselves, not being spoon-fed.

I truly think that Homeschooling High School is easiest if you've been following a Charlotte Mason, Classical, or Unit Study approach. Though High School can be taught at home with any teaching style, you'll want to make it as easy on you - the parent/teacher as possible. 

Some parents have concerns about a specific subject. What if you did poorly yourself in Math or English? Good news ~ you can either learn alongside your student or find another teacher for that subject. Co-ops are popular around our area for High School because the parents who feel confident in higher level Math, Science, or English can teach those classes while their own students learn from someone else in other subjects. We have not been involved in traditional co-ops during High 
School, yet I know several friends who say they are a great boon for them.

For those who aren't part of a co-op, or who are still unsure what to do for a particular subject, start researching. There are a wealth of options for online or DVD based courses. If a particular subject makes you cringe, budget yourself some extra money for that subject. If you're a pro at English or Art you can do more of the work in that subject with your High Schooler from a less expensive resource. English can be taught completely from books available at our local library. Check your own library to see what resources are available in your area.

For our own daughters, I could have taught them their High School math myself from an older textbook. Instead, we ended up using online and DVD-based courses for them. We had reviewed these course with The Schoolhouse Review Crew and they worked so well for the girls that we had them continue with them. Arlene understood Algebra well using Math-U-See's curriculum, so we ordered their Geometry for her to use as well. Emily has used VideoText Interactive's Algebra (a complete level 1 & 2 course.) I am still available to help explain any concepts that the girls get stuck on, yet I have more time available for other things they need me for.

High School is a four or five year experience for most homeschoolers. Before you begin Homeschooling High School you should spend some time finding out about your state's requirements for a diploma. How much of each subject is required? How are credits recorded in your state? In our state each semester is recorded as a credit, whereas most states give a half a credit per semester. Also talk with your teens about their goals for after High School. If they plan to attend a college or trade school, you'll want to make sure they are covering the correct subjects in the necessary amounts.

If your student is wanting to do an internship or take dual-credit classes you'll need to plan for that as well. 

High School can be a great time to homeschool. The conversations you can have with your children are so much more varied and surprising. Your students can amaze you with how much they understand, and how much they need to talk to you! It can be challenging to have High Schoolers, sometimes their internal clocks are so very different than the rest of the family's. Work with some boundaries, and some freedom, on this part of the planning. Some days they just need to sleep in, but they also need to know how to fit in when they get a job with set hours. Require them to complete their assignments. Encourage them to always do their best work, but be ready to help them when they struggle.

Overcoming High School Fears

High School is a wonderful time to incorporate field trips in your schedule. Your older students can get a better understanding of what is being portrayed at historical reenactments, and they often enjoy a leisurely stroll through the art museum ~ especially if they can take a friend along! Your older students can develop deeper relationships with their peers, and they can enjoy some freedom in their class schedules. You are raising young adults. Help them understand time management. Classes first, jobs and family responsibilities second, and free time third. (Of course, sometimes life demands family responsibilities come before Algebra or English!)

One last thing . . . your homeschool during High School should be unique for your family just like it was when your children were younger. Think outside the box. Use a variety of resources. Watching a history documentary while exercising or listening to an ebook while cleaning the house can be just as valid of a part of an education as reading a textbook. You cannot cover everything, but you do want to make sure to cover those essentials needed for a diploma.

If you're wanting to read some more about our out of the box learning, pop on over and read herehere or here.

Our friends have been sharing about their Homeschooling High School experiences. Click on the links below to read their stories!

  •    Leah from As we Walk Along the Road shares Help! I Can't Homeschool High School: Facing Your Homeschooling High School Fears 

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