10 Pros and Cons of Homeschooling High School

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Starting next fall I will have only high school students in my little homeschool. The idea of homeschooling high school used to intimidate me and spawn so many questions. Now, the biggest question is: where did the years go.

I mean seriously, y’all, they went by so quickly.

Homeschooling high school isn’t as nerve-wracking as it may seem, but it’s not all fun and games either. Some of the pros and cons as I see them are:

It isn’t as much fun as homeschooling elementary. I mean, really. Chemistry? Physics? Algebra? Those aren’t nearly as much fun as playing Multiplication War to learn multiplication facts or using homemade dowel-rod-and-string fishing rods to practice sight words.

But, that doesn’t mean it’s not fun. While there are some delightful picture books for young kids, it’s kind of cool to get a second chance at all those classics you missed in high school. You’ve got to read them so you can discuss them with your kids, right? Plus, you can take some pretty big deal field trips with high school students.

It can be intimidating. Beginning to homeschool high school can feel like starting homeschool all over again. You’ve got to start worrying about credit hours, transcripts, and graduation.

But it doesn’t have to be complicated. With some simple planning, homeschooling high school doesn’t have to change a whole lot from what you’ve already been doing.

It can require more detailed record-keeping. Obviously, homeschooling can require more record-keeping, particularly if your student is college-bound. You need to understand how to figure credit hours and you really don’t want to procrastinate on updating your student’s transcripts.

But it can be very conducive to interest-led learning. It may not seem so, but the high school years can be just as interest-led as the elementary years – except now you get to count your student’s passions as electives. (And you may need to keep reminding yourself of this fact, like I do.)

It can make you feel very uninvolved. Having high school teens who are independent learners (especially those using workbooks) can leave a homeschool mom or dad feeling very uninvolved in the process – until something doesn’t make sense.

But it can give you some free time. I am taking my second creative writing course, y’all! I never could have done that when my kids were younger. Well, not without staying up until the wee hours of the morning, anyway.

It means you’re almost finished. You can see the light at the end of the tunnel – a culmination of all those years of hard work and all those sleepless nights worrying.

But it means you’re almost finished. Depending on where you are in this journey and what kind of day you’re having, you may not be able to comprehend this statement, but I’m going to miss it. I’m going to miss it a lot.

If you’ve got a kid or two in high school, what would you list as some of the pros and cons?

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Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.

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  1. I’ve got one in 10th and one in 11th this year. Since they both are mainly independent learners and they both spend quite a bit of time following their interests, I always feel like I’m not doing enough. At this stage of my life, though, the fact that they don’t need me as much does free up time for me to help the younger kids. And procrastinating about transcripts? I haven’t even started my daughter’s, yet, because I’m so nervous about the whole thing. Since I don’t give grades, I’ll be doing narrative transcripts (which should be okay with the community college she plans to attend), and I don’t even know where to start. So…if you or any of your other contributors have done that, that might be a good future post! (Hint, hint) 🙂

  2. Hi Kris, I just wanted to pop by and say thank you for your prayers, they were very appreciated. Gary is home and recovering well x

  3. I am dreading the high school years but you have made it seem less scary.
    I am already wondering where the years have went and we haven’t even hit Jr. High yet. The old saying is true: The days are long and the years are short. How blessed we are to be able to spend so much time with our kiddos, though!

  4. This school year was my first with a high schooler. I had one in high school, four in elementary school, and four babies to preschoolers. My advice:
    Every single month keep records for your high schooler. Jot notes in each course about what they’ve done, what they’ve read, volunteer work, etc. Then when you get to the end of the school year it is easy to make transcripts.

  5. My daughter has about 6 weeks left of 11th grade. A friend and I were remembering the other day about how back before we started high school home school, how intimidated we were. We got together with a group of us beginning this at the same time to brain storm ideas about transcripts and curriculum and classes, and we were all so nervous about getting it just right. Now, getting it just right has looked completely different for each one of us! My favorite part of home schooling high school has nothing to do with academics. It has been those spontaneous, thought provoking, deeply meaningful and sometimes absolutely hilarious conversations we have in the car driving back and forth to her activities and classes.

  6. Another great article! Thanks for linking up with us at Hip Homeschool Moms! I’m getting ready to homeschool my 3rd (and final) homeschooler, and I agree with your pros and cons–especially the final one. In a way, I look forward to being done, but to be completely honest, I even more DON’T look forward to it. Thanks for sharing this with us. 🙂

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