This year my two sons are in 6th and 8th grade. I started homeschooling them because of COVID and thought this year long experiment would end with them returning to public school. Homeschool has been an amazing fit for our family, and we all want to stick with it next year. But, next year my oldest son will be in high school. So now, it’s time to plan for high school.
As soon as you start thinking about starting high school, it’s also important to think about finishing high school. What is required, and how can you as a homeschool parent ensure your child is able to graduate. There are a few different options for how to approach homeschool high school. I’ll list each option below with the basic details.
Charter School: Technically, this is not homeschool, but it is what I’ll be doing next year. My kids were accepted into a home based charter school. I will essentially still be homeschooling them, but the charter school covers some of the cost of books/materials and provides oversight. The biggest thing the charter school does is ensure my sons are learning everything they need to know and assigning grades/credits to the courses they take. So they will graduate from high school with a recognized diploma from a real school. I’m SO glad we were able to get into this charter school, because it makes everything else I’m listing below moot.
Dual Enrollment: High school students can take community college classes beginning at age 16 for both high school and college credit. If you are homeschooling your student, you will likely have to pay for all of these community college classes. The charter school my sons will be attending actually covers some of these tuition costs making it an even better deal. Even if you aren’t a part of a charter school, taking dual enrollment classes is a great way to build a transcript for your high school student that will be recognized by other colleges and universities once you’re making plans for after high school.
GED: The General Education Development Test, or GED, is a test that can be taken in place of a high school deploma. The test has sections for language arts, math, history, and science. It’s not a pass/fail test, but is actually scored. Most colleges and universities are well versed in the meaning of the scores and understand what type of score would correspond to the high school GPA they expect for admission. Having your homeschooled high school student take the GED is a great way to prove they know everything they need to enter college.
Create Your Own Diploma: Many homeschool families don’t use any of the options listed above. Instead, they teach there students what they want and simply keep track of all the subject material covered and then create their own transcript. “My mom says I got straight A’s” might not be the best argument for getting into a top tier college. But if your high school student has enough interesting/challenging courses on their homeschool transcript and a completive SAT/ACT score, it is definitely possible to get into college with nothing but a parent created homeschool diploma.
One other important item to think about when starting to homeschool a high school student is that homeschool credits are not transferable. If you homeschool your child for 9th grade and then try to send them to public school for tenth grade, your local public school is unlikely to accept the credits from 9th grade. This could potentially make it very difficult for your child to graduate from high school on-time. Charter school credits are transferable, which is why I’m so glad my kids were able to get into a charter school. It is, however, important to go into homeschool high school with an awareness that you can’t always transfer back to public school.