Hey parent, looking into high school curriculum options for homeschooling your teenager? Respect! Being a parent of a teenager can be tough enough by itself, without adding the weight of important decisions to the mix.
If you’re considering the different options available for your high schooler, this post will be helpful in providing you an overview and answering your top ten questions. This way, you’ll be able to get an idea of what’s most suitable for YOUR child.
High school homeschool requirements
The requirements for homeschooling your teenager will depend on the laws where you live, so be sure to check your country, state or province’s requirements. They may set specifics such as
- Choice of curriculum
- Portfolio submission
- Annual tests/reports
That said, many families do what is necessary to comply with regulations, but choose their own approach of teaching their child the required material.
The point is that you achieve your intended outcome – an education that equips your child in the best possible way you can find.
What is the best curriculum for homeschool?
The best curriculum for homeschooling is the one that suits your child’s needs, interests, learning style, and goals best. What are your goals? What would your child like to do after completing their school career?
What is your budget? What does your work schedule look like? How capable is your child of learning, scheduling, and completing their work independently? All of these considerations will (and should) play a role in your choice of high school curriculum.
This post on goal setting may also help you to keep the bigger picture in mind.
What is the best curriculum for high school?
Again, this depends on your child and your situation, and what your child has in mind after school. If they want to enter college and/or university, they should choose a curriculum that grants them that opportunity.
If your teenager is interested in pursuing the creative arts or a trade, you can either keep their college options open with your choice of curriculum, or choose a simpler exit path such as the GED.
Whatever your choice, YOU are the parent. Your teenager obviously has a bigger part in this decision than during the elementary phase of education, but in conversations, aim to reach a decision that satisfies both of you.
If you as a parent feel that your child should keep university entrance options open despite their giftedness in the arts or some other direction, look for ways to combine both areas of interest. Change happens, sometimes unexpectedly and not in ways we would like, so it’s good to be prepared.
How do I homeschool my high schooler?
As you probably know, relationship-building and communication are your first and most crucial keys. Talk about what your child wants. If they feel confused and under pressure to make a decision they’re not ready for, explore various options with them and support them through it.
It’s a scary world out there, with a far more overwhelming variety of careers than you ever had when you were their age. Help them see that as a positive, and that while they are encouraged to try things, commitment to a direction at some point is necessary to be able to build a career or business successfully.
Some teenagers have the personality and temperament where working through their material comes naturally. They schedule their work, complete it and solve problems, taking complete ownership of the responsibility with little input from you.
Other teenagers require more help, assistance, checking on, and some motivation. Each child is different. Talk to other families whose children are similar to yours for support and advice. Use online tools and apps to your advantage to block WiFi access and Netflix privileges when necessary!
One tip I’ll add from my own core values is this: your child needs to learn from the natural consequences of their actions, within appropriate boundaries. Not learning is not an option.
Deschooling for a while is fine, but at some point, some children may need some nudging into exploring a particular direction to get on with things.
Do I have to buy a curriculum to homeschool?
Not necessarily. There are free all-in-one options that will allow you to spend money on printing, supplemental materials and outings, rather than a full-on high school curriculum purchase.
You can also join a group of families who share their resources to save funds. This also gives you the opportunity to review resources you are interested in before spending.
High school homeschool curriculum for free
There are free high school curriculums you can use to homeschool for free, as mentioned above, and still have your child graduate with an accredited high school diploma.
This list includes some of the most popular resources I’ve seen online:
Before buying, be sure to consider (and maybe write down) a list of your child’s interests, you and your child’s goals for their education, your budget, your time and resources, your child’s learning style and any other relevant criteria.
Choose a few to review and then talk to other families who use them to get an idea of what could work for you and how. Note that you may still be buying a few books or on your own while using any of the options below. These are the free high school homeschool curriculums I’ve found so far:
- Easy Peasy
- Ambleside Online
- Homeschool College USA
- An Old-Fashioned Education
- Connections Academy
- Free World U
- Khan Academy
High school homeschool curriculum packages
These are high school curriculum options that are paid, and they come in different forms. With some of them, you can buy only the modules you are interested in. Others are an all-in-one provider.
Secular homeschool high school curriculum
If you are interested in having your child work through a faith-neutral curriculum, the following curriculums are considered secular. Be sure to consider whether they agree and/or align with your values and worldview on issues such as religion, ethics, politics, science, and history.
What about accreditation?
As mentioned earlier, there are many accredited options, but in choosing, your decision will be based on:
- what kind of accreditation your child needs to further their tertiary education in their chosen field.
- whether your child will want to study overseas and the requirements of their chosen destination.
- your state/province’s university and college entrance requirements.
Here’s a brief overview of the three most popular high school exit paths:
Other popular options tend to resemble these two options in many ways from what I see…
This curriculum is globally recognised by universities, colleges and employers as being of a high standard. It is a curriculum that offers over 70 subjects, including more than 30 languages on IGCSE level.
It combines a focus on subject mastery with knowledge and conceptual understanding that helps students consolidate the various aspects of different subjects. Students learn how to think critically, problem solve, and do their own research – all useful skills for their future career.
American High School Diploma
An American High School diploma is also fairly well recognised around the world, but, as always, consider your child’s goals.
It’s a curriculum that has plenty to offer in subject choice and will grant access to most American colleges or universities, depending on test scores and the requirements of your child’s career path. Depending on the amount of IGCSE levels passed, it’s considered more or less equivalent to the UK’s high school diploma.
GED (General Educational Development)
This is an alternative to the American high school diploma, aka an equivalency certificate. Students are required to pass fewer subjects and can finish high school sooner in this way. It’s generally regarded as a suitable completion of a learner’s schooling if the learner wants to pursue skills training in a trade, or a career that does not require going to university for training.
The biggest Tip for high school homeschooling
You’ll see many homeschooling families say this: LIFE. Life is the biggest educator. As a parent, support your child through it, make the best of the tough times and the good times. Try different things, learn from mistakes and failures and celebrate successes.
Show them that learning never ends, and that it’s your attitude that can make all the difference to the experience.
You may have days where you feel less than confident, overwhelmed by the world your child is facing. This is normal. Just know that you’re not alone.
Whatever choice you make, you’re doing the best you can, and you’re probably doing better than you think.