How to Avoid 7 Common Pitfalls of Homeschooling High School Planning


Let’s talk about planning for Homeschooling High School which is a topic on everyone’s mind if you are homeschooling a teen. The best way to get started is to talk about the ways we get into trouble when it comes to planning the high school years. Because we all want to avoid the pitfalls, right? How to Avoid 7 Common Pitfalls of Homeschooling High School Planning explores the ways it’s easy to stumble and how to steer clear of them! Be sure to sign up below so you can learn more on homeschooling high school success.

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We’re going to take a look at 7 things I see all the time when parents get to the high school years.

Some of the antidotes will be a little counter intuitive, but trust me. Taking what you might consider to be a risk will be worth it in the end.

Every time.

Involving Your Teen in the Homeschooling High School Process

How to Avoid 7 Common Pitfalls of Homeschooling High School Planning- teen boy and a mom working on robotics

The first pitfall is not involving your teen in the planning process.

Homeschooling high school is not all about you as the parent!

It’s about your teen and preparing them for their next steps.

Avoid this pitfall by bringing your high schooler to the table and engaging them in their own education.

I encourage you to hold loosely to some of the things you might think are the most important when they could be something else that maybe you haven’t even considered yet, but your teen has!

Keeping the Doors of Opportunities for Your Teen Open

How to Avoid 7 Common Pitfalls of Homeschooling High School Planning-teen girl doing math in the forest

The second pitfall for parents homeschooling high school is to close the doors on opportunities for your teens too soon.

For example, deciding to quit out of higher level math because you know your artsy teen is struggling and she won’t need it anyway because she’s not going to do STEM in college.

Parents mention this thought to me a lot.

It’s tempting.

Because sometimes it’s a hard road when you are homeschooling high school and we want to make it easier.

As a mom with several teens who have a chronic illness, I get it.

I really do.

Avoid this pitfall by leaving the doors open as long as you can. You never know how things will change between freshman and senior year. Ask me how I know!

Displaying a Positive Outlook While Homeschooling High School

How to Avoid 7 Common Pitfalls of Homeschooling High School Planning-teen boy and his mom

Pitfall number three is worrying too much about the high school years and transferring that anxiety and fear to your teens.

The stakes are higher, but it’s OK!

There are times when you will fall into this trap. It’s inevitable.

The important thing is to not give in to those feelings.

The way to combat this pitfall is to work on consistency and engagement with your teens- and to avoid the other pitfalls, of course.

Putting Your Teen in the Driver’s Seat of His Own Education

How to Avoid 7 Common Pitfalls of Homeschooling High School Planning- teen boy smiling from the driver's seat

The fourth pitfall is staying in the driver’s seat of your teen’s education too long and calling too many shots, especially as they approach senior year.

This is another one which is difficult for parents, especially the first time around.

We want to hold tight to what we think is important and we think we need to be the one to make it all happen.

When it comes to the high school years, we need to helping our teens to own their stuff, whether it’s school work or anything else in life.

As your teen gets older, you can let go more and more.

The way to avoid this is to step back and become a mentor to your teen during the high school years.

Managing Expectations during the High School Years

How to Avoid 7 Common Piftalls of Homeschooling High School Planning- teen reading on a sofa

Pitfall five is overworking your teen by requiring too much work and having expectations that are too high.

It’s rare to find the opposite where parents aren’t asking for enough.

We are so afraid that we aren’t having our teens do enough work, that we pile on way too much.

If your teen is working on every subject, every day it’s too much.

To avoid this pitfall, have your teen take on a reasonable number of credits per year and remember that a one credit class is about three hours of work a week. Yes, really.

Allowing Extraordinary Experiences in High School

How to Avoid 7 Common Pitfalls of Homeschooling High School Planning- teen at a dressform

Pitfall number six is insisting on going traditional and not allowing enough of an out-of-the-box approach when it makes sense to have one.

Part of the way we lessen our anxiety and exert control during the high school years is to make sure the academics are just what we think they need to be.

We don’t leave room for different sorts of experiences and other, less traditional ways of earning high school credit.

Instead, encourage as many extraordinary experiences as you can and give plenty of time for exploring interests!

Encouraging Exploration While Homeschooling High School

How to Avoid 7 Common Pitfalls of Homeschooling High School Planning- teen girl at a creek doing art

Pitfall seven is allowing your teen to become overscheduled in high school which means little to no time for exploring interests and learning who they are as a person and a learner.

This one is a classic and it’s one of the hardest to avoid because we think that all the good things we can stuff into a teen’s schedule are more valuable than the time left to them for being curious people.

Missing the mark on this leads to burn out before college and you lose out on the chance to allow your teens to dream and set goals.

Preventing overscheduling means taking a realistic look at your teen’s schedule and helping them to see what is sustainable and what is not.

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  1. I think #2 is so important and it’s unfortunately something that seems common in the homeschool community.

    I think a corollary to #7 is – take as much time as you need. It’s not a race and colleges really don’t care whether or not you finish high school in 4 years. We improved things all around by switching to a 5-year plan. He’ll basically do a second junior year this fall. Given the current environment, I’m doubly glad we did.

    1. Yes! On both counts! I see both all the time. We are also big fans of the 5th year.

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