When one of my sons told me he wanted to be over and done with high school, I was setback. I felt like a failure especially because we’ve homeschooled from the beginning. I wanted him to love the academic part of high school as much as my other graduate, but he had a different mindset. I know homeschoolers graduate early all the time and it’s not a surprising fact, but my kid was not having any part of accelerated academics or it seemed like it at the moment. To me, he had the get it over and done with attitude.
Looking back now after my older sons have been graduated for a few years, I have a different view of the get it over and done with mindset.
At the time a kid cops this attitude, it seems like his whole future will be ruined. I’m here to tell you that is not always so. You need to look past your initial gut reaction if it’s negative; try to remember years later when you are having coffee together as besties this will be a memory for the right reason.
Your kid’s journey can still go from mediocre to memorable, but only if you handle this stage reasonably.
Moving Past the Four-Year Homeschool High School Plan
Look at these 3 points you need to think about. Then, I have a few tips and tricks.
One/ Try to understand what your teen is thinking about regarding his future.
Don’t jump to the conclusion that get it over and done means laziness or lack of motivation. It may be right now, but your teen’s maturity level is still changing.
Too, after I had an in-depth talk with my son, I understood his reasons for wanting a simple framework so he could graduate early.
At the time, my husband had just suffered a terrible health set back and all of my kids matured significantly that year. I have mixed feelings on my kids giving up some of their carefree childhood years, but that is another thread.
All of my kids understood the fragility of life and my son was ready to navigate his future. He wasn’t content for choosing subjects each year for a four-year high school program. He wanted to plot what was absolutely essential so that he could graduate.
I needed to focus more time on letting him explore what he wanted to do for the future. Doing that partially satisfied his feeling of uneasiness.
Have you seen these two great resources, Career Exploration for Homeschool High School Students and What Color is Your Parachute for Teens?
That brings me to my next point which is you have to be ready when homeschooling high school to decide what is your bottom line.
Two/ Rise to the occasion and decide what is your bottom line for graduation requirements.
I’ll admit it. I was unprepared for my minimum requirements because for so long my son was filling all of my requirements. I want you prepared.
Here is a general rule of thumb;
- A graduation certificate is generally awarded when a teen has between 18-19 credits at the minimum. I’ve also seen 16 credits as the minimum. Look here at Homeschool High School–How to Log Hours for High School.
- Then up to to 22-24 credits and higher for college readiness.
So choose a number of credits, but base it on subjects that will benefit your teen the most.
Three/ Be creative and think outside of the 4-year plan. Mix and match community college with online courses and self-guided learning.
Although I’m on board with any of my kids wanting to get a start on their career or college path, I wasn’t prepared for an alternative route other than the CLEP route I had prepared for him.
The point I’m making is to understand clearly what your teen is wanting to do. More listening than talking was hard for me. Not easy, but I did it.
My son knew the value of preparing for a career; he was just ready to get on with it now, not later.
There are many ways to fill high school graduation requirements besides the four-year plan.
- Decide what courses your teen will take and remember that community college can be a great advantage for teens who want to progress. For example, your teen can take two years of basic math and take two years of math at the community college. It’s called dual enrollment. Ages vary by college. He’ll receive college credit at the same time. This option made both of my older sons feel that they had choices. Your goal of high standards and your teen’s goal of moving on can be met. You just need to be sure you and your teen understand all the options.
- Although this is the son that normally prefers hands-on and interactive learning, he enjoyed using PAC (Paradigm Accelerate Curriculum) because they are a set number of booklets or worktext to complete. Instead of unrestrained exploring, my teen had a definite finish to the course. No extra books were required for reading. Do the worktext and be finished. This went a long way to making him feel that he could see a definite finish.
- Also, I had to determine my goals for language arts. Reminding myself that we had spent many years with quality literature, I was happy to find the Dover Literature Guides a great fit. They promoted self-learning and independence. Questions are right there in the book for literary analysis. It was up to my teen and me to decide how many to read for literature purposes. What is a good rule of thumb for how many books a teen needs to read in each grade? Some providers choose anywhere from 15 to 20 books for the year with about 6 being used for analysis. Again, you determine based on your child’s interest how many he should read and how many should be for analysis.
- Lastly, don’t forget dvd based learning and easy online courses like HippoCampus and Khan Academy to fill whatever else you may think your teen needs in order to complete his high school.
Can Homeschoolers Graduate Early?
Look at some of these insider’s tips, tricks, and things to know if your homeschooler graduates early:
- Your teen may be ready to move on with his career choice, life choice, or college choice. If so, balance his high school subjects as much as possible so that you don’t close the door to any future opportunities. This means decide your bare essentials for graduating. Two years is a good start — two years of language arts, two years of science, two years of math, and etc. Most states have relaxed homeschool laws which means you determine the number of credits and prepare the transcript. If your state does not require a certain number of years or credits, then design your transcript.
- There is nothing wrong with taking a gap year. Let your teen take off a year. Although gap years normally happen at the end of a senior year, your teen may be ready now to explore his future choices. When we moved to South America, unintentionally, it turned out to be a better thing for my discontented teen than I realized at the time. I knew the whole family would benefit, but I had no idea. The shift in focus allowed him a break, it put emphasis on the family, and it gave him a shift in focus he needed at the time.
- Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think any parent is prepared for having a teen hanging around the house with no direction and too much time on his hands. Discussion needs to be had about why you’re agreeing to shorten the time. Whether it means your teen is wanting to move ahead with his career choice or college track, there needs to be a plan. If you and your husband decide to switch gears and try the direction your child is wanting to go, you need clear expectations and consequences. I knew my son was wanting to go ahead and start taking his college courses on line. With that choice he made, my son felt like he was moving faster toward his goals, but he also understood that he wasn’t graduating early to hang around the house with idle hands.
- If your child wants to graduate early to be done with school because of his attitude, it’s an uphill battle, but winnable. If that is the case, I recommend that you cut back his academic load, allow him some time to pursue work. Mix in some community college classes so he is with adults and gets a taste of the real world. Try to not shut down communication, but don’t make any promises you’re not willing to keep. For example, if he doesn’t learn now that he has to finish what he started, he will take the easy way out in a lot of decisions as an adult. By easing up on his academic load, you’re giving him time to mature too. He may need time to decide the direction he wants to go and hopefully you’re guiding him to what you want for him too.
Don’t let something that could potentially break the peace you have with your teen wreck your household.
Teens still very much still try to push the bounds or limits.
If you’re firm on what your absolute minimum is most teens given some time will come around to seeing things from a reasonable standpoint.
If your teen sees that you’re trying and you’ve said you want the best for him, you need to be willing to let him start making decisions for what is best for him.
And remember this, which was the hardest thing for me at the time — as long as you maintain a close relationship with your teen and show him your positive attitude toward learning, he can return to whatever path you’ve laid out for him.
Now that my son is close to finishing college at his pace, on his own terms, and I add giving a hundred percent and advancing with excellent grades, anything he told me in his teen years pales into comparison.
It wasn’t the end, it was just the beginning of him taking control.
Also, I have many other tips to share with you. Don’t get overwhelmed, you’ve got this:
- Homeschooling High School: Curriculum, Credits, and Courses
- Homeschool High School Transcripts – Anything But Typical
- How Does my High School Homeschooled Kid Get a Diploma If I Do This Myself?
- Homeschool High School The Must Cover Subjects Part 1
Hugs and love ya,