When Homeschooling Through Highschool Scares You Death, and What to Do About It.

Even thinking about homeschooling through highschool sends most parents running for the hills. The thought of tackling these years can be scary. Many parents say they feel incapable of teaching at this level, and some say social interaction with this age group can only be found in a public school building. The highschool years are the very time that parents should consider homeschooling. Teens face and must deal with, peer pressure, drugs, sex, college, work aspirations, and political worries — this is the very time children should turn to his/her parents for direction, not his peers. And yet, the way our children learn to navigate these difficult waters, is by being exposed to them. Exposure doesn’t necessarily mean dabbling — it means awareness of those circumstances, making good decisions surrounding these life changing events, AND coming to their parents for guidance. So what do you do when homeschooling through highschool scares you to death?

Something to Remember

Remember that homeschoolers have attended college, and worked in the world for a long time. Colleges seek out homeschoolers because of their self-direction, independence, willingness to try new things, committment to learning, and involvement in community.
Let’s focus on the college bound highschooler, and the steps to get ready for the highschool years. I’ll cover Unschoolers transcripts in another post.


  • Check your state laws on whether an “accredited” program is necessary. Forty-nine states do not have accreditation requirements, partly because accreditation requirements vary across the country. States set their own graduation requirements that may, or may not be required at colleges across the country.
  • Accreditation means that the curriculum/school went through some process to meet the standards set out by the state. Not all public, charter or private schools are accredited, because the requirements vary across the country.
  • Accreditation doesn’t necessarily affect the quality of education provided. A chosen curriculum can be good or insufficient, with or without accreditation. Accreditation is a long, expensive and complicated process; and can entail anything from quality of curriculum, to class size, to how the school board is set up.  While one would think that accreditation credentials are based solely on the curriculum, but this is not the case. This is a good article to learn more about that process. 


  • Check your state requirements to see if the state/local highschool will issue the diploma, or if the parent is responsible for this.
  • Find online templates and award your homeschooler with his final degree of completion.
  • *GED’s as “proof” of highschool completion, are not usually recommended for homeschoolers. GED’s are usually reserved for those who have dropped out of their education, and are often viewed as a “less-than”, achievement. A homeschool diploma indicates that your child’s education is complete. * Some states require a GED for highschool completion. Check your own state laws.
  • Remember that most colleges require transcripts to attend. Graduating from highschool isn’t actually a requirement to attend college. Remember Doogie Houser? Colleges want to be assured that, 1) anyone attending can do the work required of a college student, and 2) that you can pay your tuition! Some colleges do not require transcripts and instead let the student “test in” for admission. Check with college to see what you need. 

 Course Selection

  • Parents of college bound kids should begin transcript preparation in ninth grade or sooner.
  • Don’t wait until your child is in twelth grade to begin recording classes. It is difficult to recall all the courses, volunteerism and work study experiences your child has utilized over the course of four years.
  • Typically, highschoolers graduate with 21-26 credits.

 Typical Course of Study for Highschool.

  • Math/3-4 years
  • English/3-4 years
  • History/3-4 years
  • Science/3 years with labs
  • Foreign Language/2 years (same language)
  • Electives/3-4 years
  • Community Volunteerism

  Assigning Credits

How do you assign credits to the courses for homeschooling through highschool? Homeschoolers can assign any credit value they want to courses. For instance, if your child is a music prodigy and spends her days practicing and performing with the Philharmonic, you might want to assign a higher credit value based on the hours of study. Typically, course work is assigned the following credits, but can vary widely.
  • Full year courses =1 credit per full year course/120-180 hours of work.
  • Lab courses = ½ credit (usually ½ year, but may be a full year long)/60 hours of work.
  • Health & Physical Education=1/2 credit for one full year.
  • Electives= ½ credit for ½ year, full credit for full year.
  • Consider AP classes in Junior/Senior year or dual college enrollment.

Creating a Transcript

Creating a transcript isn’t a complicated process.
  • Make your transcript as professional as possible, and use a digital format. Colleges will not accept hand-written transcripts. If you aren’t sure where to begin, use a template that will figure out GPA for you. All you have to do is enter the courses and assigned credits, and update it each year.
  • To make this an “official” transcript, order a stamp and mark it, “Official Transcript” That is what makes it official and ready for submission. The parent will sign this as the “principal” of the school. You can get your transcript notarized for further credibility. I found this stamp on Amazon that said, “official transcript.”
  • Typical courses like English I, or American History, are easy for colleges to understand. However, you may need to provide course descriptions if the class was outside of the box of a typical highschool course. Course description are usually the scope and sequence, and what was covered in the class. They are usually just a paragraph long. If you have the syllabus of the class, keep that handy in case it’s needed.

 Where to Find More Help

My book,Out of the Box Learning~Empowering YOU On Your Homeschool Journey, has over 42 pages of Homeschooling Through Highschool help, including a month by month breakdown for your child’s senior year.

Also watch my webinar with Jill Martinez from EdYouCoach on College Prep for Homeschoolers. 

 college prep for homeschoolers

 Making It All Work

Teens are fabulous! Their highschool years are a perfect time to nourish your connections in parenting with them, and provide and outstanding education. Take the time to get to know your teen, have them plan their highschool years with you, and enjoy this time together. Homeschooling through highschool does not need to scare you to death. Use my tips above to make it all work. 
Happy Homeschooling,


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8 Steps to Take Before You Begin Homeschooling

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