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So you’re doing this homeschool thing . . . have you wondered if you would continue to homeschool through high school?
Or have you had many people ask you if you were planning to homeschool through high school?
For years I wondered about this same question. We started homeschooling when my kids were little and it took me a while to formulate a good and answer. As we went along we finally found a very simple answer that not only satisfies people’s questions but has also proven to be the perfect method to help us make the best decisions for each child.
So here’s the basic answer I give to the question, “Are you going to homeschool through high school?”:
“We plan to continue for the long haul, but each year we evaluate how things are going, what each child’s needs are, consider options, pray about it, and decide how to proceed.”
At face value, this may seem like a generic answer, but it really has helped us with the unique needs of each of our children and provided the best situations for each of them.
Having now graduated 4 kids from high school and have one child who is currently in junior high, I’ll briefly share the story of each of my 5 kids and how this method has worked out for us.
He was our guinea pig. It was he who we started practicing this homeschool thing on when he was just three years old. A super bright kid, he was reading at age 4 and was interested in everything. We homeschooled him with learning activities at home, as well as participated with other homeschoolers in various activities. Things were going along very well.
Then in 7th grade, he did the unthinkable . . . he started asking if he could go to public school. Aaaack!!! I thought, “No way! Things are going well and we’re going to keep on going. Besides, junior high is the armpit of public school!” (No offense to anyone – I just remember vividly how ridiculously hard junior high was for me with all the social and emotional garbage that went on.)
It was at that same time that I had done some investigating and decided to have him and his next oldest brother join a homeschool co-op. We had a great experience in the co-op and did it for a couple of years.
But still, every once in a while, he would ask to be able to go to public school. He told me there were just some classes he wanted to take and I could hear the sincerity in his voice. So sometime during his 8th-grade year I finally decided to consider it and to pray about it. And you know what? It felt right. Boy did I resist it, but it was indeed the right thing to do.
He went part-time in 9th grade then full time for the 10th-12th grades. No, he didn’t graduate with a typical high school diploma, but he graduated from our homeschool high school nonetheless. We’ve obtained diplomas for our kids through HomeschoolDiploma.com mainly just so they could say yes to any future questions of ‘do you have a high school diploma?’
And as for college, he was accepted to Brigham Young University on scholarship and has since graduated with both a bachelors and masters degree in Cybersecurity and he’s doing very well. And in the middle of it all, he served a mission for our church.
Two questions you may be having right now:
#1: I know a lot of homeschoolers wonder about needing to have transcripts and such, but in our experience, we haven’t needed them. You’ll want to be sure to do your own research about transcripts, accreditation, diplomas, etc, as these things may be important for certain types of post-high school education or certain types of careers that your child may be interested in. For our kids and their interests, these things haven’t mattered.
#2: Another big question homeschoolers have is: “Won’t my child need a high school diploma in order to be accepted to college?” This is how it has worked for us… In our area, high school students take the ACT at the end of their junior year and apply for college about that same time. So whether a child is a public school student or a homeschool student, nobody has a high school diploma at that point. Nobody has graduated yet when they begin applying to college. So that hasn’t mattered. The two main things my son used in his application to college was his GPA and his ACT score. Also, he wrote quite a bit about his homeschool experiences and they also helped him get accepted.
Here are a couple of resources to help you get some more info:
Our second son also participated in a homeschool co-op for older youth starting at about age 10 and we continued in that co-op for a couple of years.
Then we found out about a gentleman in our area who was offering scholar classes to youth age 12 and up and it sounded like a fantastic fit for this son. I drove him a half-hour each way to these classes twice a week and paid a good price for them. I didn’t have to teach or contribute in any other way to this opportunity except to pay for it. (Which was nice at that time since I had a brand new baby.)
He did very well in these scholar classes for a couple of years. Unlike his older brother, he had ZERO desire to go to public school. He couldn’t think of anything worse than that. 🙂 He was very self-motivated and participated in homeschool speech and debate, mock trials, mock constitution conventions, classical book discussions with other amazing homeschooled youth, etc.
Then towards the end of his 10th-grade year, he and I both began to feel a push to consider something different. To me, it felt like a hand was placed on my back and guiding me to consider something different. We looked around and considered options.
We talked with other homeschooled youth to see what they were doing, and we also talked with their moms. After a couple of weeks of going through a process of elimination of these options, discussing things and praying about them, we decided on a path for him to follow.
In the state of Utah where we live, there’s a pretty cool opportunity called the New Century Scholarship Program. In a nutshell, this program helps students earn their Associates Degree from a local university at the same time they graduate from high school. For his junior and senior year of high school, he attended concurrent enrollment and distance learning classes at our local high school (yes, he had to go to classes at the high school, much to his chagrin. 🙂 )
He was able to continue his junior and senior years of college on scholarship at BYU and he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Political Science. And in the middle of it all he served a mission for our church.
Our third son contracted meningitis at age 2 and has struggled with physical and mental challenges ever since. He’s an amazing young man and as we searched, pondered, and prayed about his situation over the years, it all turned out that his education story was pretty simple and straightforward.
He was homeschooled all the way through high school and participated in a super awesome homeschool co-op specifically geared toward youth age 12-18. He participated in various plays, including Shakespeare plays, went on a humanitarian trip to Mexico, served as a youth leader in a local and incredible group called Heroic Youth, and really enjoyed the friends and the classes, especially history classes, at our homeschool co-op.
After graduation from high school, he served a two-year service mission for our church and really excelled in his growth and development. He’s one happy guy.
This is the son who recently graduated from our homeschool high school whose graduation I wrote about here.
It was when this son and our third child started their tween/teen years that we got fully involved in a serious homeschool co-op. I say ‘serious’ because it is a co-op that has resonated with so many people in our area and people keep on coming and coming to it each year, that we’ve instituted by-laws and recently even became a 501(c)(3).
This homeschool co-op helps fill the needs of so many youth. While there are a lot of co-ops out there that cater to all ages, we have found that for our youth, it has been best to focus on the junior and high school years so that we could really focus on them and do exceptionally well with them.
Every single year of his and child #3’s tween/teen years it felt right to continue with this co-op.
This son has absolutely loved his years of participation in this homeschool co-op. He loved the classes and the things he’s learned, and he loved all the extra opportunities he was able to participate in. He went on a couple of humanitarian trips to Mexico, swam on the city swim team for a few years, served as a youth leader in a local and incredible group called Heroic Youth, helped plan, organize, and run an event called Simulations Week for a few years, interned with the Eagle Forum at the state legislature for a couple of years, participated in Shakespeare plays, participated in ballroom and an amazing choir called Millennial Choirs and Orchestra.
He is currently working full time and preparing to serve a mission for our church. He has his sites set on going to a business college after his mission and studying entrepreneurship.
Our daughter is still in her early teens and has been involved in the above-mentioned homeschool co-op for the past three years and absolutely loves it. While I thought we would be involved with this co-op forever, I was surprised to begin having different feelings about this at the beginning of this year.
I don’t know for sure yet what her coming year of school will look like, but we do know that it will be changing somehow. We’ve been praying about it, doing research, discussing things with my husband and with her, and we will soon be making some decisions.
Wrapping it up:
It’s amazing how well homeschooling allows you to totally customize the education to the child. No cookie-cutter, conveyor belt education here.
Each child brings with them unique and powerful potential and purposes to fulfill in this life. They each need to be looked at individually and have their educational needs considered independently. This really is the best way to help them gain the education, skills, and experiences they need to be prepared to fulfill their purposes in life.
So the answer to the question, “Will you homeschool through high school?” really can be excellently answered with, “We plan to continue for the long haul, but each year we evaluate how things are going, what each child’s needs are, consider options, pray about it, and decide how to proceed.”
This has certainly worked well for us in our homeschool.
And just for a bonus help, here’s a great short video done by a friend of mine about the #1 Secret Rule about Homeschooling a Teenager. Enjoy!