When I first started homeschooling 10 years ago, there was a noticeable lack of families homeschooling through high school. Some parents cited academics and college admissions as a reason, and others didn’t want their kids to miss out on the social connections and memories made in those teen years. But as the number of homeschoolers has grown, so has the field of opportunities! And this is probably something even homeschoolers of 20 years ago would have told you: your high schooler isn’t missing out!
Homeschooling Through High School
When our family first started homeschooling, we joined a very small co-op that had just a few high school students. It seemed so far off from where my kindergartner and toddler were, but it was inspiring. The parents showed dedication and foresight, and the students were, *gasp*, SOCIAL!
When we moved, my children were still young, but, being that I was always interested in the long game, I immediately sought out families who were years ahead of me and found that there were fewer high-school-age homeschoolers than I expected. Many families seemed to homeschool through 8th grade and then opt for private or charter high schools.
I have since learned that the statistics for homeschooling through high school varies very much community to community, and even within specific support circles within geographic areas.
If a homeschool diploma is your goal, seek support!
As homeschooling has grown in popularity in general, so has homeschooling through high school. Many co-ops and support groups offer more today for teenagers than in years past. Beyond that, there are often groups that pop up with the specific goal of supporting high schoolers and their families.
From offering full science labs, to helping navigate college enrollment or even dual-enrollment, co-ops and support groups are a lifeline for overwhelmed parents and teens needing both academics and social connections.
To find support groups in your area, check your state’s homeschool advocacy organization. Also, search Facebook and Meetup for high school groups.
Here are some Facebook groups and pages that I have found particularly helpful:
- It’s Not That Hard to Homeschool High School
- Homeschooling for College Credit
- North Carolina Homeschooling for College Credit
(HS4CC has groups in every state, so if you’re not in North Carolina, be sure to search for your state’s link!)
If Facebook groups aren’t your thing, check out the book:
(Though not exclusively for homeschooling high school, The Triangle Homeschool Resource Center has our own support community. Be sure to check it out!)
Homeschooling doesn’t mean missing out!
I’ll be honest… I had a great time in high school. I have so many memories of cheering on my favorite sports teams, driving around with my friends, proms, graduation… and, yes, even a fair amount of drama. I used to worry about my kids missing out on that stuff, but not anymore!
First of all, the drama today is exponentially worse than what my generation saw. Unfortunately, being a homeschooler doesn’t make you immune to encountering cliques and bad influences. It hopefully means your student is better able to see a bad situation and get out of it, but drama still exists among teenagers the world over. (Well, gee, that makes you feel better, right?)
If you are able to plug into a good support community that allows your teen to encounter the same peers regularly, then they’ll get good practice developing all the social skills kids work on at that age. AND they’ll do so without having to spend 6 to 8 hours a day in that environment. I think there’s a lot to be said for space, don’t you?
What about athletics?
Even public school athletes play on travel and club teams. Check out those opportunities in your community! Also, there are leagues and teams popping up all over the place just for homeschoolers. North Carolina Home Educators has an athletic commission with leagues and tournaments at a competitive high school level!
One thing to note is that if you’re hoping for sports scholarships, plug in early to the NCAA. While North Carolina doesn’t have graduation requirements for homeschool students, leaving you free to tailor their education to the college admission requirements, the NCAA is known for being a little picky.
But the proms and graduations?
Homeschoolers have those too! This is one of my favorite things about homeschooling through high school. There’s so much more choice for milestone events like proms and graduations. Rather than being locked into what your public or private school plans for their entire community, your student can grab a group of their friends and choose from many options open to the homeschooled public for the best experience for their crowd!
And there is certainly no lack of choice. Themes I have seen this year range from luau, to decades, to “A Million Lights.” I’ve seen pictures of homeschool proms that my friends’ kids have attended and, oh my goodness! They’re the real deal! Unfortunately, I’m way more excited about my kids getting to that milestone than they are. Hmph.
Graduations are often held at spring homeschool conventions. Thrive!, HEAV and Seton all have graduations at their conferences. Many local support groups have smaller ceremonies as well. My family always jokes that we’ll just hand the diploma across the kitchen table, but, really, there’s no reason to miss out on seeing your baby walk across a stage donning a cap and gown!
(You know what milestone I don’t get excited about? Driving. Ugh. Check the laws in your state to see if there is any extra paperwork for homeschoolers. North Carolinians can check out our article on how to get into driver’s ed.)
So do not fret, Mom and Dad!
Your homeschooled high schooler can make amazing memories in their teen years even if they are homeschooled. And, really, with the opportunities to pursue their passions and collect college credit without the stress of hours of busy homework, maybe it’s worth considering seeing your student through to a homeschool diploma even if you hadn’t considered it before!
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