Homeschool High School
By: Dorothy Karman
Jun-05

Homeschooling the high school student can be both challenging and rewarding. As students prepare to enter high school, parents often face the same insecurities they had when they began to home school. Many of the same reasons you began homeschooling when your children were younger still apply as they reach high school: you can tailor their education to their needs; high school students are especially prone to peer pressure; homeschooling strengthens family relationships; you have more flexibility for family and enrichment during and after school; you can focus on godly character; you can present material from a Christian worldview.

Where are you going?

When you begin high school (usually considered to be the ninth grade), you need to have a general idea of where you want to be when you're done. Do you anticipate this child going to college? Will he follow a trade or pursue an apprenticeship? Will she work out of the home or become a home school mother? The goals you and your child set determine the kinds of courses taught in high school. In addition to career driven goals, home educators have the flexibility to teach life and family raising skills and godly character to their teens.

Keeping records

No matter which goals you pursue for high school, you will want to keep records of material covered so that you can know when you have met your goals. Currently high school work is evaluated by how many hours a student spends in a classroom. Oregon defines a unit of credit as 130 hours. You may consider completing 80-90% of a book as equivalent to a credit. Or you may define a course of study by writing a contract with your student for certain work to be accomplished for the credit to be earned. You may use a combination of these methods during course of high school.

A transcript is a record of courses taken in high school and grades received. For the transcript to accurately reflect coursework undertaken, you need to keep adequate records. Home school, High school Form+u+La or The High School Handbook by Mary Schofield (see resources) provides in depth information about keeping records using all three options for granting credits mentioned above. You as the administrator of your home school can determine the best method for records keeping.

Graduation requirements

Graduation requirements vary depending on your goals. When you issue your child's diploma, you determine what the graduation requirements are. You are not required to follow anyone else's graduation requirements in order to issue your own diploma. you need to prayerfully consider what you will require. You are responsible before God to prepare your child for what lies ahead.

The state of Oregon has certain minimum graduation requirements. (Remember you are not required to follow these requirements, but they are listed to give you an idea of what it takes to get a high school diploma from the public schools.) A minimum of 22 credits is required. (One credit is 130 hours of classroom time.) They include:

Language Arts 3
Mathematics 2
Science 2
Social Sciences 3
Health 1
Physical Education 1
Personal Finance/Economics 1
Applied Arts, Fine Arts or Foreign Language 1
Electives 8

College bound students will want to follow a more rigorous course of study. The following courses are recommended for a college preparatory program:

Language Arts 4
Mathematics 3
U.S. History ½
U.S. Government ½
Lab Sciences 1-3
Foreign Language 2
Electives 9

(Electives should include Oregon requirements and additional credits in math, science, foreign languages and performing arts.)

Families are free to develop their own graduation standards and can include many more life skill and character building courses than classroom schools can. You might consider courses in Christian family living, meal preparation, political action or home repairs. Home school teens also have great opportunities to do volunteer work or short term missions. Remember you have the privilege and responsibility to prepare your child for his or her future.

Transferring back to public school

In general, when you begin home educating your high school student, you should plan on completing the four years at home. Currently, public or private schools are not required to recognize work done at home toward their diplomas. (Since their current requirements are based on how many hours the student is sitting in the classroom, they cannot verify how many hours your student has been studying.) Still, there are times that a family may feel it is necessary to put their child into a high school. Some parents have had success transferring back to public school when their home school has been supervised by a private school. Others have been able to document their student's work in their transcript to the school's satisfaction. Still other students have been able to receive credit for courses by examination. If necessary, your child may be able to take courses at the local high school without receiving a diploma there. You would issue your own diploma just as you would have if your child had stayed home for all four years.

Taking the GED

Home school students may take the GED to validate the completion of their high school experience. According to the official GED web site,  “More than 95 percent of employers in the U.S. consider GED graduates the same as traditional high school graduates in regard to hiring, salary, and opportunity for advancement.” In order to take the GED your child must be at least 18 years old. If your student is 16 or 17 years of age and wants to take the GED Test, you must provide a letter from the Educational Service District stating that your child is exempt from compulsory school attendance because he or she is home schooled, a letter saying you support the decision of your child to take the GED and a statement from the student. Local community colleges administer the GED. Check with them for times and dates, preparatory classes and forms you will need. (You can find information on Oregon GED's at http://literacynet.org/oregon/gedframe.html and in Oregon Administrative Rule 589-007-0400.)

Resources:

Mentoring Your Teen by Inge Cannon contains information on how to develop transcripts, portfolios, keep records, college admission, apprenticeship and more. Education PLUS, P.O. Box 1350 Taylors, SC 29687, (864) 609-5411, www.edplus.com.

Christian Home Educators' Curriculum Manual: Junior/Senior High by Cathy Duffy is an invaluable resource for every home school family with older children.

Home School, High School & Beyond by Beverly L. Adams-Gordon is a time management, organization and career exploration course for Christian home schooled teens. This is an actual course that your student can complete near the beginning of their high school years in order to plan their high school course of study.

Homeschooling the High School, Volume I and II by Diana McAlister and Candice Oneschak. Volume I overviews planning the high school home school experience. Volume II lays out courses of study for high school for those that wish to complete high school without using traditional textbooks.

Senior High: A Home-Designed Form+u+La by Barbara Edtl Shelton gives step by step instructions for planning your own tailor made program of study for high school.

The High School Handbook by Mary Schofield also gives step by step instructions for planning your own tailor made program of study for high school. Available through CHEA of California, (562) 864-2432, www.cheaofca.org.


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