There are so many families choosing homeschool, and we are one of them! Here's how to homeschool high school for first timers.
Why I Chose Homeschool
Choosing to homeschool a child is a very personal choice. There are so many factors that go into the decision. These are some that influenced mine:
Special needs requirements
Quality of public school education
Freedom to change routines
More freedom to do life
Coming to this decision rubbed some people the wrong way. They don't understand why I'm choosing to keep my child at home instead of sending him off to the public school. I only have this answer:
They are my children, and I choose to be responsible for them and their education. I choose responsibility for the people my children grow up to be.
I am able to do what I can while they are children. When they are adults, I expect them to be capable, helpful and considerate human beings to the other human beings out there in the world.
Homeschool vs. Public School
I've thought about homeschool and public school for a while, and I've been set on homeschooling my children. I believe it's the best option for us.
They have special needs, and at least I know they'll be getting the focused learning that they need to succeed.
I know I'll regret throwing them into a school system that's made to churn out people by the masses - kids that are pushed forward even though they're behind, just to meet grant goals and get funding.
Teachers are out there fighting for living wages, and I feel for them. Some towns take better care of their educators than others.
Unfortunately, in ours, my children will be lost and forgotten, because they're quiet, Autistic, and below average (according to public school system testing). What do they know anyway?
Again, I choose and accept responsibility of my own children.
Homeschooling in Texas
In Texas, homeschool is considered private school. They do not regulate private schools. You are free to choose your curriculum, grading scale, class times and graduation dates.
The catch: It's gotta be real. There has to be books/videos to be used as materials. There has to be instruction. There's gotta be real learning.
And that's all you need to homeschool in Texas.
If you want to know more about the homeschooling resources in your state, just do a quick search on Google, and you'll have the info at your fingertips.
If you're in Texas, check out the Texas Home School Coalition Association. It's a great resource if you're thinking about starting to homeschool your child at any age.
Social Needs for Homeschoolers
Everyone has social needs. Even those who deny that they do (raises hand). To keep your child socialized, my recommendation is to enroll them in group classes or sports that allow for that interaction.
The Houston Museum of Natural Science offers student labs that you can sign up for. We plan to attend some of the labs through out the year to supplement some science days and hang out with some other cool kids around town.
Homeschool High School Curriculum Requirements
While there are no strict requirements, you may want to take inspiration from the Texas Education Agency's recommended high school program which includes:
4 credits of English/Language Arts
4 credits of Mathematics, including Algebra I, II, Geometry, Business Math
4 credits of Science, including Biology, Chemistry, Astronomy and Physics
4 credits of Social Studies, including World History, World Geography, U.S. History, ½ credit Government ½ credit Economics
1 credit of Physical Education
½ credit of Speech
1 credit of Fine Arts (Drawing, Photography, Music, Web Design, Videography, etc...)
5 ½ credits of Electives (Culinary Arts, Keyboarding, Choir, Guitar, etc...)
2 credits of Foreign Language Studies
Check out this site for a list of high school classes that you can integrate into your high school curriculum.
Again, there is no rule that you have to follow these recommendations, but they are a nice guideline to have when building your curriculum.
Where to Buy Supplies and Books
We bought our books on Amazon and used free Prime shipping to save some money. Since you are choosing your own curriculum, choose books that will help meet your needs.
We wanted books that were simple and easy to understand, and at the same time, explained the concepts really well. I find that standard textbooks are very expensive and don't really guarantee that they are better than other books out there.
We chose a lot of books from Barron. I figured since Barron makes the SAT study guides, it's pretty much prepping for that while learning coursework at the same time. Boom. Multi-purpose. I love it.
What You Need to Keep Track of
If your child plans on attending college after high school, you may want to keep track of the curriculum in a portfolio. While I recommend keeping everything, this list may narrow it down for you:
Curriculum you are using and course descriptions
Subjects mastered by the curriculum
Grades for each course and each year (organize into a transcript)
Volunteer work and certificates
Testing scores for PSAT, SAT, etc...
Work samples (research papers, art, photos, videos, etc...)
Our Homeschool High School Curriculum
I have a 9th grader now, and I created an overall plan for his entire high school education. I have him set at an accelerated level to graduate early (whenever he completes the program), but we will adjust accordingly.
Here is a look at the tentative curriculum that I've built for him:
Creating a Weekly Schedule
For 9th grade, we have his weekly schedule planned out with room for adjustments. We decided to have school 7 days for a few hours each day. He enjoys tv/movie time, so this schedule lets him do both school and free time every day without burning him out.
When you have a child who has a difficult time focusing, it might be a little easier to break up the "learning times" and do more days.
Again, test out what works for your family and work around their needs. You have the freedom, my friend!
Here is our weekly schedule:
Homeschool High School Graduation Requirements
In Texas, you can graduate your homeschooler anytime you feel they have completed the curriculum planned. You can design a diploma for them to frame as well as to submit to colleges.
As with any private school, again, there are no strict requirements for graduation of your high school student.
When they're done, throw a party!
So there you have it - Homeschool High School for first timers who need some ideas and guidance on how to get started.
We're starting tomorrow! If you have any questions, send me an email or a comment. I would love to hear from you.