How to Start Homeschooling a High Schooler

There are so many reasons to begin homeschooling high school. Maybe your teen wants to be educated differently, maybe the school scene is no longer working, maybe your teen is struggling in one way or another and needs to be out of the school environment. Whatever the reason, getting started can be confusing and down right scary! It doesn’t have to be! How to Start Homeschooling a High Schooler is your guide to beginning the process from making the decision, to informing the school district, to taking those first steps in educating your teen at home. My mission is to help you homeschool high school with peace and confidence. Let’s go!

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Think of this post as your guided tour on the nuts and bolts of pulling a teen out of school and beginning to homeschool. You’ll learn how to find out what to do and how to get it done.

You’ll be all set to start your free range learning at home!

Know Your State Regulations to Start Homeschooling High School

The place to begin, once you’ve decided to homeschool your high schooler, is with your state regulations.

Find out the following:

  • How do you notify your district that you are homeschooling? Most states require a letter to be sent to tell the school district your student will be homeschooled. Find out WHO the letter should be sent to and details on WHAT should be in the notification. Additionally, learn HOW it should be sent (notarized, snail mail, email, etc).
  • What are the required courses and topics for homeschooling high school? some states have more to say than others on this one. So, it depends on where you are.
  • Is there any reporting you must do? Once you begin homeschooling, is there any regular reporting of progress to the district that needs to be done? Many states do not have this requirement. Some (like NY) have quarterly reporting regulations and some go by the school year.

Know Your Goals for Homeschooling High School

The best way to start successfully is to know and claim the reason you will homeschool high school.

It will impact your choices on pretty much everything.

Are your reasons:

  • Academic– either they are ahead or behind?
  • Social– too much stress they are looking to get away from?
  • Short term– only for the rest of the year or one year only?
  • Long term– ready to take the plunge and leave traditional schooling for good?
  • Teen motivated– is your teen after a goal?

Maybe you have another reason for walking this path at this time, but whatever the reason make sure you revisit it because it will help navigate your way.

Plan Homeschooling High School with Your Teen

mom and two teen boys smiling

If you are planning high school alone, you are already behind. Include your teen.

Your teen needs to be an integral part of the planning process in high school.

If they aren’t ready, then it’s time to begin preparing them!

  • Talk about your teens goals– if you don’t know where to begin, try Dream Big & Take Action: Goal Conquering for Teens course which mentors teens through the process of goal setting, evaluating, and achieving those goals.
  • Give priority to how your teen learns– as homeschool moms, we are students of our students. Help your high schooler by using materials that work with their strengths.
  • Listen to your teen– especially if your teen has strong ideas about his homeschool. If not, encourage your teen to give input.
  • Check in frequently– once things are on the way, make sure to come back around and see how things are going.
  • Make adjustments– if things need tweaking, then don’t be afraid to change. Even small adjustments can make a big difference.

If your teen has never been invited to the planning table to make decisions about her education, you might find they are reluctant to participate.

It’s ok.

Invite them, try to get even a small overture and go with your instinct.

But, keep the invitation open and as they mature, they will have more to say.

It’s also important they learn they can trust you and that you are sincere about having their input.

Once that is established and they understand you mean what you say when you tell them that their opinion on how their homeschool high school works, they will be more willing to participate in the planning process.

Choose Your High School Curriculum

Stack of textbooks on a table in front of a bookshelf

These are the tools you and your teen will use to reach their goals.

The options are limitless!

  • Books– biographies, literature, and other volumes on a million different topics
  • Textbooks– always a staple, but actually less important than you might think
  • Online websites– so many resources out there on topics your teen will study
  • Homeschool Co-ops– formal and informal. Teens can learn with friends or be part of a larger group that learns together
  • Subscription Sites– there are memberships of every kind on topics of major subject areas
  • Online Courses– free or paid, learning online has never been easier
  • Self-Paced Courses– asynchronous courses that offer material your teen can access at the rate they want to learn
  • Mentors– finding trusted people who can mentor your teen on a skill or area of study is invaluable
  • Internships– are available for high schoolers and don’t be afraid to have your teen ask about doing one even when it’s not advertised
  • Business– encourage your teen to start a business if it makes sense for what they do. Our daughter started a sewing school business which funded the tools she needed to reach her future goals. Our daughter is a design student at an Ivy League school. You can read her story here.
  • Apprenticeship– maybe your teen wants to learn a skill. For example, one teen apprenticed to a beekeeper.

My biggest piece of advice here is to think outside the box.

You have permission to think differently about an approach to the high schoolers. Make the most of this opportunity!

When it comes to knowing how to choose curriculum, consider these criteria to help you and your teen to make the right choice.

Homeschooling High Schoolers

When it’s time to begin homeschooling, keep a few things in mind:

  • Be consistent– whatever you choose in the end, be consistent with it
  • Pay attention to how things are going– observe how it’s going, so when it’s time to evaluate you have some things to talk about
  • Make changes when you need to– don’t be afraid to make changes and switch gears. There’s no reason to wait things out or wait until a better time, etc. Just do it. You and your teen are in charge.

Learn More about Homeschooling High School

Homeschooling High School with a Four Year Plan

Here at Blog, She Wrote, it’s about homeschooling high school all the time!

Get more of your questions about how to start homeschooling high school by reading these posts:

  • How to Make a Four Year Homeschool High School Plan– this will get you started in putting together a four year program for your homeschooled high schooler. There’s also a transcript worksheet offered here that will help you to do the first recordings of your high schooler’s journey.
  • Choosing High School Curriculum– how do you know what’s right for your teen and what’s available?
  • Strategies for Scheduling High School– how much is enough work? What is too much work? This post answers your questions and leads you and your teen through an exercise to determine how sustainable their high school schedule is.
  • Earning Credits with a Project Based High School– plan unique courses from experiences your high schooler has during the high school years. Not all of their courses need to be conventional to count toward high school credit and graduation.

Subscribe to Learn More about Homeschooling High School


Homeschooling High School Courses for Parents

There are three self-paced, life time access courses available for you to learn how to set goals with your teens, plan & implement the high school years, and turn that custom designed high school experience into a winning college admission.

Learn how the homeschooling high school courses can help to shape your homeschool high school and empower you to prepare your high schooler to reach their dreams!

Woman at a laptop viewing the course Homeschooling High School by Design and holding a planning sheet as she works through the lesson

Dream Big & Take Action: Goal Conquering for Teens– this is a course for you to go through so you can mentor your teen through the same process. Help your teen turn their dreams into goals and if they haven’t dreamed yet, this course will teach them how.

Homeschooling High School by Design– learn how to plan a custom high school experience with your teen. You’ll learn everything from creating custom and project based courses to scheduling high school to record keeping and everything in between. This is the course if you want to create a unique, personalized high school for your teen.

Homeschooling for College by Design– take that highly custom high school and prepare your teen for college admission. You’ll even get a transcript builder that lets you create a professional transcript for sending to colleges.

Homeschooling High School by Design Membership

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Homeschool high school without worry and create the high school experience you want for your unique teen with extraordinary experiences.

You Don’t Have to Sacrifice Creativity & Freedom in Order to Have a Successful Homeschool High School Experience

Let go of the baggage that makes up your educational past and do something extraordinary with homeschooling high school.

Homeschooling with a focus on critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity prepares our Out-of-the-Box Teens well for their future whether or not your teen is college bound.

Let me be your Homeschooling High School Mentor!

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