When I started homeschooling over 6 years ago, one of the questions that people asked me was, “What about high school?” I remember quite distinctly thinking that the question was ridiculous given that my oldest child was then going into first grade. Alas, children grow up all too quickly. Now my oldest child is going into 7th grade next year and the question, “What about high school?” no longer seems ridiculous at all.
I just finished a very helpful book, “High School @ Home, You Can Do It!” by Diana Johnson. After reading this book, I am feeling less stressed about homeschooling my children through high school. The book is divided into twelve sections:
- The Homeschool Choice
- Defining Your Philosophy of Education
- Seeing the Big Picture: Kindergarten through College
- Designing the Program
- A Comprehensive Homeschool Course Listing
- Evaluating Coursework Objectively
- Recognizing Your Student’s Achievement
- Special-Needs Students
- Choosing a College
- Understanding College Entrance
- College Credit the Alternative Way
- Reflecting on the Journey
The book is written from a Christian perspective which is evident throughout the entire book. At first, I was disappointed with the book as the first few sections did not deal directly with homeschooling a high school student. Sections one and two discuss reasons for homeschooling and different philosophies of education. One comment from the first chapter did strike me as quite wise, though. “Day in and day out, for better or for worse, for over twenty years we have opened our books and schooled. And it worked.” I find a great deal of wisdom in those simple words having labored in the trenches with my children for 6 years now.
After the first two sections, though, the remainder of the book really focuses on the nitty-gritty of how to go about educating a child at home for high school. The author includes high school course and credit guidelines along with an extensive list of suggested curriculum for all core classes. The majority of the suggested curriculum are from Christian publishers. I particularly liked that the author took a course and showed how a home educator could design the course using her favorite curriculum and projects rather than relying exclusively on a textbook approach.
The section about evaluating coursework objectively was excellent. I particularly liked the course contracts. She suggests setting up a course contract with your high schooler outlining exactly what is to be expected in a particular course. She gives examples of course contracts from her own children and includes blank forms for the reader. She explains how to calculate GPAs and how to make high school transcripts for your child. Blank forms are included in the text and on a CD included in the back of the book. I found this information TREMENDOUSLY helpful.
Lastly, for me, the author helped to take a lot of the mystery out of the college admissions process. I now have a basic understanding of CLEP exams, dual enrollment, and AP exams. She even makes suggestions for different ways to celebrate your child’s graduation from high school. A lot of information is covered in 297 pages!
I would recommend this book to anybody who is feeling nervous about homeschooling their student through high school. I felt like I received a ton of practical advice and now have a resource that I’m sure I will refer to again and again over the years.
Samantha can be found writing about homeschooling and family life at http://tobebusyathome.blogspot.com.