4 Must-Have Resources for Planning the Homeschool High School Years

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It’s hard to believe that I’ve officially graduated my first high school student, only to be on the brink of starting the process all over again with my rising 9th grader. I’ve got to tell you, I feel a lot better prepared this go around. The first time through, I never really posted a lot about homeschooling high school because I wasn’t sure I knew enough about what I was doing to try to tell someone else what to do.

I did post the Homeschooling High School series with the help of a couple of online friends who were also homeschooling their high school students, which contains some helpful information.

4 Must-Have Resources for Planning the Homeschool High School Years

One area in which I really felt that I did get it right were the resources I used to educate myself on subjects such as high school transcripts, courses, and credit hours. I’ve shared those resources before, but I thought that those of you just preparing for high school might appreciate a refresher, along with an extremely helpful addition.

Total Transcript Solution by Lee Binz

Total Transcript Solution is a wealth of valuable information for homeschooling parents from a mom who sent her homeschooled sons to college on full scholarships. Now, Lee helps other parents navigate the high school waters through her blog and membership classes. She’s written dozens of books, so she really knows her stuff.

Total Transcript Solution is a package which includes downloadable MP3s, downloadable PDFs, resources that include dozens of transcript templates in both MS Word and Excel, a one-time phone consultation, and an ebook that answers dozens of questions about homeschooling high school and covers such topics as:

  • Determining high school credit (including info for those whose kids may not be at grade level in certain subjects)
  • Assigning grades
  • Calculating credit value
  • Delight-directed learning in high school
  • Making a high school transcript

I highly recommend this course for parents who plan to homeschool a high school student.

The Homescholar Guide to College Admissions and Scholarships by Lee Binz

Lee has also published the book, The Homescholar Guide to College Admissions and Scholarships, which I highly recommend. I read it toward the end of Brianna’s high school years and really wished I’d had it sooner. You can read my review. Lee breaks the college application process down into easy-to-understand language and ends each section with an “Executive Summary for Busy Parents,” a bullet-point guide covering the take-away and action points for each chapter.

Lee covers important topics such as:

  • Preparing for college from planning a rigorous academic schedule for high school to when to take which tests
  • Finding the right college, whether your student wants to attend a private, public, or Ivy League school
  • How and when to apply to colleges
  • Taking the right steps to apply for financial aid and scholarships
  • Practical considerations like a gap year, cutting costs and dealing with colleges that aren’t homeschool-friendly

She even includes a chapter on College for Struggling Learners, which introduced me to the fact that there are colleges that specialize in students with learning challenges.

I think you’ll find this book helpful even if your student isn’t planning to go to college. First, because you never know when a kid is going to change his mind and, second, because I think there are still things that most parents are going to want to make sure they include in their student’s high school education, regardless of the student’s plans for the future.

Terri Johnson’s Upper Level Homeschool

Upper Level Homeschool is a 13-week email course for parents of homeschooled high school students. I love that the course breaks everything down into bite-size pieces so it’s not overwhelming. It covers similar topics to the Lee Binz course, such as transcript and credit hours, though probably not in as much depth. Still, it’s a good course that covers what you need to know to successfully homeschool high school.

Kathleen Duncan Homeschooling for High School

Finally, there is Kathleen Duncan’s seminar, Homeschooling for High School. This is an actual in-person seminar, so you’ll have to check the calendar on Kathleen’s website for seminars near you or details on hosting one yourself. I went to a seminar during, if I recall correctly, Brianna’s 8th grade year. I was going to go to a refresher course last year, but it was canceled due to the tragic death of Kathleen’s son in a car accident. I will definitely attend another one if there is one in our area this year.

Not only does Kathleen cover the basics, such as transcripts, course descriptions, and credit hours, but she also covers how to put together a portfolio for your high school student and sends you home with a binder containing all sorts of notes from the seminar and directions for assembling a portfolio.

I did not put together a portfolio for Brianna, but it’s on the list of things I wish I’d done differently. Although our state doesn’t require it, I think it could be very helpful for backing up mom-written transcripts and showing an admissions officer samples of a student’s work.

I don’t necessarily think you need to use all four of these resources, but each is very helpful and brings a little bit different perspective to the table. I actually have used all four and feel like I had a pretty good handle on these aspects of homeschooling high school our first time through. Now, with one graduate, I feel much more confident heading into high school again this fall.

Have you homeschooled a high school student? What resources did you find helpful?

Homeschool Transcripts

This post is linked to the Hip Homeschoool Hop.

updated from an article originally published May 27, 2014

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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 really like Lee Binz’ e-books and videos. She has really helped me feel more prepared. (My daughter is heading into 10th grade.)

  2. Hi Kris, are you making your own transcript from Lee’s program? I am trying to decide if I will use that or a transcript from HSLDA. Do you know if there is a difference? Thank you for sharing the resources!

    1. Yes, it’s one from Lee’s program. The funny thing is, a friend directed me to one she used, downloaded from the site of an area college, and it’s nearly identical to the one we’re using. That made me feel better – you know, that the forms Lee has created are pretty standard and won’t scream “homeschooler” when received by colleges.

  3. Wow, that is really neat! I’m just having a hard time deciding if I want to do them. Most people around here pay to have them done. I’m leaning more towards wanting to try myself. Thanks again!

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