Homeschooling your High Schooler? OTA’s Checklist Can Help
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When you begin homeschooling, it is hard to imagine continuing through high school or even through high school graduation. The years fly by quickly. It is hard to imagine when you were teaching your preschooler the letters of the alphabet or your first grader how to read. But here you are, after years of hard work, countless hours and obstacles, helping your child get ready to homeschool high school, thinking about college and how to prepare a high school transcript.
Why Do You Need A Checklist?
We can easily equip ourselves with an organizational system or graduation checklist; however, there is more than just “academics” needed when we are homeschooling a high school student..
First off, academics. I often hear in various places and with various homeschooling Facebook groups about state high school graduation class requirements. The truth is that yes, some states have requirements, but those requirements often do NOT apply to homeschoolers. With this said, COLLEGES do have requirements for admission. You want to make sure that your child, if college bound, is competitive enough for admission to the schools of their choice.
In 2003, the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) commissioned the most significant research survey to date of adults who were home educated. Over 74% of home-educated adults ages 18–24 have taken college-level courses, compared to 46% of the general United States population. What does this mean? Simply put, this means that homeschoolers are doing a great job! Kudos to you!
But still, so many of us often ask, “What can we do to make sure our homeschooler gets everything they need during high school?”
Help Your Child Become Prepared
First and foremost, if you have ANY idea of where your child MIGHT want to attend college, it is best to first speak to the person at said college in charge of homeschool applications. Find out what the college is looking for. This can NOT be done too early… 8th or 9th grade is ideal. It will give you an idea of how to plan out your child’s four years.
To make life easy, you can use a high school graduation checklist. Here is a checklist that Open Tent Academy has prepared to assist you along the way. Please feel free to use as you see fit as education is NOT “one size fits all.”
Extracurriculars and Basic Life Skills
Then, on top of academics, make sure you plan out extracurricular activities, sports and volunteering opportunities over the course of the next four years. Whether or not your child is college bound, these types of activities can benefit them.
Additionally, make sure your child understands “basic life skills” before graduation. All too often in today’s world of technology, people are so busy teaching coding, technology or engineering that they forget to teach the basics like how to read a bank account statement, how to read a lease, how to rent/lease/buy a car, how to purchase insurance, how to save….. Make sure you child can do this plus make a basic meal do laundry, iron clothes and clean a bathroom.
Thinking Ahead: The Next Steps
Finally, yes, it is your job as a homeschooling parent to help prepare them to think ahead to college. This can come in many forms. To begin, talking with your children and encourage them to explore various occupations they might want to pursue and the majors that match up to them, for them to consider in college. Secondly, college visits. My family went by the slow and steady wins the race method with college visits. Throughout high school, whenever we traveled, we incorporated a visit to the local college or university. We took an informal tour, sat in on a class (if possible) and spoke to admissions. Additionally, we began looking out for various scholarships! Yes, there are so many scholarships that go untouched because people don’t go looking for them. Put your child’s writing skills (and give them writing credit for it) to the test by having them apply to a slew of scholarship!
With all this said, enjoy the ride. The time flies by quicker than you imagine. Be sure to stop. Breathe. Smell the flowers and take a look at the fabulous human being you raised.
Eva Goldstein-Meola is not only co-founder of Open Tent Academy, but an instructor as well as a former homeschooling mother. She has lived in New Jersey, Florida, Western Massachusetts, Northern Virginia and now resides just outside of Jerusalem. Eva holds a Master’s Degree as a Consulting Teacher of Reading and Writing, IEW certification and a Bachelor’s Degree as an Elementary Teacher. She has also been involved in education since 1986 as a Private Tutor, Teacher, Reading Specialist, Homeschooling Mother, Homeschooling Teacher and Business Owner of an Online Education Consortium.
Eva is offering the following courses for the 2019-2020 year: