Tuesday, April 30, 2013

{ten things} I learned our first year of homeschooling high school


Top Ten Tuesday at Many Little Blessings

We are about to wrap up our first year of homeschooling a high schooler.  Here are a few (or ten)things that I learned after our first year of this new adventure.

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1.  Algebra is not so bad.

Ok.  So it is a little bad for someone who preferred English and writing in high school.  But it’s doable.  You just have to put Algebra in its place and let it know that you’re the boss.

And how do you do that?  You need a solutions manual if you are using Saxon.  Or you need Teaching Textbooks that checks the work and helps the child correct it.  Or you need a nifty little online review program like Aleks or  All of these things help the parent to teach Algebra by giving us the tools that put us in control.   

2.  Not all subjects are necessary.

I know she didn’t just say that

What I’m about to say might get me a little flack.  But some things are not important to learn.  Or maybe it would be better to say…since we homeschool, we are able to tailor the education for our child to make it useful for his or her life.

The subjects that my children complete over their high school years will be determined by their goals and dreams for their adult lives.  My child or children who are not college bound will not be required to master some courses…say Algebra.  

(I’ve got more thoughts on this but don’t want to make this any longer than it all ready will be. Maybe more on that later…)

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3.  Give the child a choice in his or subjects.

Upon planning our new school year, I have asked my oldest son to let me know some of the things he would like to study.  So far, he has told me that he would really enjoy a year of American History.  We also give our kids a little say so in the literature that they read.  I do require some books to be read even if they don’t want to read it.  But once they finish a “hard” book, I let them choose one that they prefer.  This keeps us all happy.

4.  Keep good records.

I think this was a bit of a weakness of mine this year so this summer will find me trying to fill in the blanks of my son’s records.  This is important because at the end of these four years, we will be giving him a transcript.  Good record keeping needs to start at the beginning of the 9th grade.

5.  Your state will have a list of high school credit requirements.  You will need this.

Check out your state’s department of education website and find our what your child needs to have completed in order to receive a diploma.  I did this at the beginning of the school year to ensure that we were working on subjects that would count towards his diploma.  This is very good information to have from the beginning also!

6.  You can make your own diploma.

Yes!  You really can! You can also purchase one. 

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7.  Your child can and probably will do most of his work on his own.

Other than needing some instruction for math, writing, and grammar, my child does most of his work on his own.  I simply check over it and meet with him often to make corrections or to discuss & evaluate his learning. 

8.  Many homeschool moms have blazed the course before you or are currently sailing this same course.  Be sure to look to them for advice.

I wrote about that here.  I don’t have many real life mentors for high school because most of my friends are where I am currently or they aren’t here yet.  But the internet is a good thing for connecting us to those who are walking our walk.

9.  High school is kind of fun.

Yes, there are days of bad attitudes from the mood swings.  But honestly, I’m finding that we are having fun with this high school thing.  I especially love the days when he is proud of the work he has completed.  Today he was positively beaming about a paper he had written. Or the talks we get to have because we are here together.  Or just the interaction between him and his siblings.  These are the simple things that make life joyful!

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10.  High schoolers need to flex their independence wings.

Our son just recently received his driver’s permit.  For him it means a step towards his life as an adult.  For me, it means stress.  But I have to let go and let him make mistakes and learn from them.  Not just in driving but in all things.  Since he is home with me all the time, it could be really easy to make all of his decisions for him.  But I’m letting him grow up.  And seeing as to how he will be on his own in a few short years, I’m letting him flex those wings by giving him the space to fly.

 If you homeschool a high schooler, do you have any thoughts that you could add this list? 


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  1. Great tips! We only have one more school year before we start high school and the whole thought is overwhelming.

    1. Thanks, Angie! I have found that this year has been a lot easier than I had anticipated. And those moms that I have refer to in number 8 above really do have some awesome advice and experience that they share with us all. Best wishes as y'all look forward to beginning those high school years in your future!

  2. Hi, I have eight children and my son just finished his first year of college. I have three high school girls right now, plus the littles. You gave some great advice. Because of health reasons and because we are not a math head family we hired a math tutor for algebra. Yes, my kids do mostly independent study as well. Keep relationships a priority. This is the time they need lots of reasons for believing in Christ. Teens/young adults need just as much hugs and kisses as little kids. Praise improvement not perfection. And pray openly with them so they hear your heart cry for their spiritual well being and their future. God is so faithful, I was very sick for most of my sons high school years but God covered it. He was on the dean's list and is a 3.9. Really and truly no credit to me, God receives all the praise. He will make a way where there seems to be no way. Thank you for your blog. I have been a silent follower for years.

    1. You truly gave some excellent advice in your comment. And I thank you for leaving it for those of us who are just beginning this high school journey. I too have noticed that my oldest son seems to need the hugs and kisses just as much as the littles. I always thought teenagers would shun that affection (though my brother never did as a teenager or young man so I'm not sure where I came to that conclusion) But I've been very aware of his need to be loved on lately. Surprised, actually. But I don't mind making sure he gets those hugs and kisses. :)

      And yes to the relationships being a priority. Actually, yes to every thing! Such fantastic advice!

      I am so sorry that you have been dealing with illness these past few years but am glad to see how God kept you all in His hands and took care of you & your family. That means a lot to me because of some of the circumstances in our family. So thank you so much for leaving this comment because I so needed to hear your words!

      Again, thank you for sharing your words and visiting here! I hope to hear more of your advice and wisdom in the future. Blessings, Adriane


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