Homeschooling through high school sounds a little intimidating to many. I clearly remember the summer before our oldest child started ninth grade. I thought it was going to be a huge change in our learning style. We love unit studies, and I thought we were going to lose a big component of our homeschool when she started high school.
What I found is that she was able to incorporate hands-on-learning in her high school years, and many times we used her lessons to teach the younger children the basics of what she was doing. She would have a topic in history to study. She incorporated reading, writing, drama, music, and art into these studies.
As her high school years progressed, she enjoyed music and art, and these became electives for her each year as she took supplemental lessons in both of these areas. For her other subjects, we used textbooks and computer-based curriculum. We tailored her classes to suit her strong areas, and we found curriculum that built up the areas where she needed it.
One piece of advice that someone gave me was to keep track of courses, grades, and extra-curricular activities each year. I put these in a document on my computer, so it was easy to build her transcript her senior year. You do not want to put this off and think you will remember it all. You won’t. Create a document for each child for high school and update it each semester.
When my next child was a rising ninth grader, I realized that he would need more of a textbook approach to high school. He had used more textbooks than unit studies in seventh and eighth grades, and it suited him to have a list of things to do and check off each day. He did not like the open-ended feeling of the unit study approach when he was to be the catalyst for getting the lessons and projects completed.
That spring we graduated our daughter from our homeschool, and I made preparations for the next high schooler. After spending time researching curricula, I settled on books for him. As we started school in the fall, it was a different approach, but it was still our homeschool. We had the same mission in mind. We wanted to teach our children to love the Lord with all their hearts, minds, and souls. We wanted them to follow God with their lives.
As this son completed his tenth-grade year, he wanted to do something different in his junior and senior years. He wanted to be an apprentice to a plumber. God had placed us in a church where we met a plumber, who was also a homeschool dad, and he was looking for an apprentice. Our son spent his last two years of high school as an apprentice during the day, and he did English, history, science, and math in the evenings.
In the spring that he graduated, our third son was approaching ninth grade. Again, I took into account his learning style and interests. We talked about things he wanted to learn, and together, we picked his curriculum. After he turned sixteen, he started working part-time in lawn care. He did school work early in the morning or in the evening as he worked in the later mornings and afternoons. He did well with balancing school and a part-time job. He graduated last spring and is taking classes in ministry this year.
This year I have an eleventh grader and a ninth grader. While they both cover the same core subjects, I have chosen books that suit their learning styles and interests. They have a combination of DVD classes, textbooks, and online courses.
As you can see with my oldest five children, I made choices in their curriculum based on ability and interest. I took into account what they felt God was calling them to do as adults, and I incorporated those elements into their high school years.
Homeschooling my children has been a blessing to me. Graduating three of them, so far, from my homeschool has been a lot of work and my greatest job.