When it comes to homeschooling high school, there are a lot of options. How do you know which are the right ones for your teen? Information comes from so many places on the things your high schooler should be doing. One of my missions here at Blog, She Wrote, is to help you to make informed decisions about homeschooling the high school years, so you can move forward with peace. Let’s talk about all the online options and how to choose the best ones with The Big List of Ideas for Homeschooling High School Online.
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When it comes to homeschooling high school online, there are still a lot of options and it can be overwhelming to consider what is best for your family.
Let’s break it down to some essentials and see if that helps with your decision making!
Know Why Your Teen Wants to Homeschool High School Online
Knowing your teen’s goals and purpose will tell you and your teen what type of class to take.
The first thing I want to say is that online courses are one option for your teen, but they are not a requirement.
Let me say that again, more boldly.
Outsourced classes are not for every teen. They are not a necessity.
So, as you begin to consider online courses WITH your teen, keep in mind that one option is simply not to use this format.
That said, your teen may have specific goals that do require an online course. Competitive college admission like service academies and Ivy League schools come to mind.
Yes, elite schools are a viable option for homeschoolers.
Types of Homeschooling High School Online
There are all kinds of ways to homeschool high school online. Let’s take a look at the list and then we’ll do a deep dive into each of them and list examples.
- One course or subject area– just a class taken from any of the many sources out there
- Full time schedule– programs and co-ops devoted to homeschooled students, can be in person or online
- Informal– free offerings, non-graded, certificates (if you choose), short sessions, can hop in and out of an ongoing experience sometimes
- Formal– dual enrollment at colleges, sometimes a live teacher, usually longer experiences, online schools, graded
- Synchronous– live class with a teacher and interaction between students
- Asynchronous– self paced instruction with recorded teachers, limited interaction with peers
Benefits of Online Homeschooling High School Courses
Obviously, there are some great reasons to include outsourced online homeschooling high school experiences for your teens.
- Provides a different instructor– which can increase motivation or simply mean a “change of scenery” from the norm
- Gives your teen feedback from someone else– sometimes your teen can benefit from an outside evaluation of their work.
- Helps to validate the grades you’ve given them– on their transcript. It isn’t always necessary and your teen will certainly have other experiences to include with any college admission package, but one other outside course can bolster your efforts.
- Provides a ready source for recommendations– whether it’s for a job, an award, or college admissions. It’s always good to have other adults, who are familiar with their work, in your teen’s corner.
Disadvantages of Using Online Courses for Homeschooling High School
Of course, the world of online courses for our homeschooled high schoolers is not all rosy.
There are some reasons to avoid this format for your teen.
- Online courses cost money– and sometimes a lot of it. It depends on what course you choose, but some are just as much money as a community college class or several.
- Time consuming– courses for other teachers are a huge time suck for your teens. This is especially true if you are a minimalist/mastery type of homeschooling high school teacher. There will be busy work and lots of it, plus if it’s a college course it will take longer and the assignments will just keep coming. It’s my experience, that outsourced courses take up more than their fair share of my teen’s time.
- Dual enrollment is high stakes– I can’t emphasize this enough. If your student takes a college course, the grade is forever when it comes to a college transcript. You have to report any credits they’ve earned or courses taken at other schools when you apply, and you’ll have to report and poor grades.
No matter what online program you and your teen choose during high school, make sure it is a good fit for their needs, their abilities, and their interests.
Homeschooling High School with Community College Classes
Community College classes are also known as Dual Enrollment.
Dual enrollment is the holy grail of the homeschooling high school world.
It means enrolling in a college course while still in high school so that you earn credit for both the high school and college level with the one course.
As with any of these choices, there are some pros and cons. Let’s talk about them.
- Your teen earns actual college credit
- Your teen earns a grade from someone else while in high school which has a firm impact on their transcript
- Gives your teen a glimpse of a college course and an idea of expectations at the next level
- Allows your teen to explore options and dive deep into a topic they may not easily do at home
- Make sure your student is ready. There are no take-backs on the grades!
- Whatever your student earns will stick with them on into college and be part of their transcript at the end of college.
- Not all universities and colleges accept dual enrollment credits- at least not for both. Despite what many people think, this is not an automatic. Your teen may be forced to decide whether they will use those credits for high school or college (when it comes to the transcript). Before you tell me about what that lady on Facebook said, we know this to be fact because the school several of our teens apply to does not take dual credits. You must choose. Because we are looking to add to their high school transcript, the credits are counted for high school only.
Online Schools & Programs for Homeschooling High School
Some programs are live class experiences with teachers teaching and students taking the class in real time. These are synchronous classes.
Others are self paced with deadlines and class discussions in a forum, but there is no live component to the course. You’ll know these as asynchronous courses.
The programs and online schools listed below can give grades, but they don’t give college credit (on their own). These are just a few, but there are many schools and programs for online learning to choose from.
- The Potter’s School– offers many courses in various subject areas for all of high school
- HSLDA Academy– online courses offered by a homeschool advocacy organization
- Homeschooling Academy– courses for homeschoolers
Keep in mind that many of these programs offer long term experiences and it may be difficult to hop into one if your student hasn’t done any of their classes before.
Take Individual Online Classes in High School
The internet is full of courses from a wide variety of places that offer classes to homeschooled high schoolers.
Here a few examples:
- Mr. D Math– we’ve used Mr.D’s ACT Bootcamp which was a great way for our teens to prepare for the math portion of the ACT. Mr. D has a great rapport with teens and the resources he provides to students and families taking his courses are thorough and accessible.
- Outschool– you can find just about anything taught at Outschool. Passionate teachers who want to teach offer all kinds of classes for teens in short or long sessions. One of my teens enjoyed doing DnD with other teens through Outschool. Each experience was perfect!
- Book clubs– you can find online book clubs through Outschool and other places which is a nice change for your teen to discuss books with people outside their family.
- Brave Writer– offers courses in writing along with book clubs and creative writing classes.
Use Free Online Course Options for Homeschooling High School
If you haven’t taken advantage of MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) yet, take a look at all the offerings!
These courses are taught on all manner of advanced and beginner topics from many universities around the world. Some give certificates of completion if you pay for them, but you can use them as part of another course you are building with your teen or just to explore a topic.
Here are a few reasons to try a MOOC:
- Free Courses– or low cost if you choose a certificate especially when you compare it other tuition based courses
- Offered by College & Universities– from around the world and at all tiers. You can take courses from garden variety schools and elite schools.
- Work at Your Own Pace– these are asynchronous classes that you can do any time or anywhere
- Take Classes at the College Level– with no real risk (Remember that taking college classes in high school is high stakes for your student and offers no take backs. Once they have a college grade, they must report it to other colleges going forward.)
- All Types of Classes at All Levels– are taught through MOOCs, including graduate level work for older professionals. Your teen is certain to find something they want to know more about that is in line with their interests.
- Allows Your Teens to Explore– and you know I’m alllll about teens being able to explore topics. MOOCs are an easy, low risk, low investment way to dabble in topics.
- Resource for Larger Courses– you can combine a MOOC with other resources to make up a course whether the course is an elective or a course class.
We’ve used MOOCs in our homeschool high school for computer programming, biology related to sharks, literature, history, pop culture, and more.
Create a Four Year Plan with Your High Schooler
The key to planning the high school years is to plan WITH your teen.
Laying out a road map as you begin is helpful in making choices about courses they will take, curriculum they will use, and when they’ll be ready for online courses and dual enrollment.
Homeschooling High School with a Four Year Plan discusses how to go about creating a plan with your high schooler and it offers you a Transcript Worksheet, which is like the birth place of an eventual official transcript for colleges.
Learn More about Homeschooling Out of the Box Teens
Whether or not you and your teen choose to outsource high school courses, there is always room for a different approach to the high school years.
Grab this guide so you can learn how to turn what you think are learning obstacles into learning opportunities instead.
Membership for Moms Homeschooling High School with Out of the Box Teens
Membership is all about supporting you as a homeschool mom of out of the box high schoolers!
With membership, you get:
- Two live calls a month– for a time of teaching and questions and answers
- Dream Big & Take Action: Goal Conquering for Teens– the goal setting course for teens
- Homeschooling High School by Design- all about planning and implementing a unique high school
- Homeschooling for College by Design– how to take that personalized high school program and package it for college admission
- The Transcript Builder– a customizable, electronic transcript creator for use as an official copy for college
- Planning Work Sessions– using the planning sheets that come with your courses and giving you time to work and ask me questions
- Transcript Workshops– just for you to bring your questions about your teen’s transcript
- Membership Library– of topics only available to members like grading policies, benchmarking high school work, study skills, accommodations in high school to name a few
- Private Online Community– where you can talk with other members and ask questions
- Support for Chronically Ill & Neurodivergent Teens– we have a separate group with a support call each month and another private community for getting help knowing you aren’t alone with your struggling teens