Homeschooling for High School
Building a Resume as a Homeschooler
Building a Resume for a young adult, I feel, is more important than covering courses. Volunteer work is a wonderful place to start if your child has no work experience or wants to work in a specific area that only offers paid jobs to those with training or a degree. There are the obvious places that take volunteers – hospitals, nursing homes, private educational institutions, animal shelters, museums, etc., but volunteering doesn’t have to be limited to those. Homeschoolers have been able to set up volunteer experiences and/or internships with all types of businesses and individuals. Ask people you know, have your child send letters or call people in their field of interest, talk to librarians and others in the community that may have ideas. Many local counties or areas have clearing houses for volunteers in their community with web sites or published newsletters. Not only do these experiences build a resume and references but don’t forget to count them on your academic record for relevant subjects, business training is one option but depending on the type of work you may think of other creative ways it becomes part of your curriculum.
Paid Work as a Homeschooler
Once your child old enough to work, encourage them to. Just like volunteer opportunities many employers are thrilled to find young people who can work during traditional school hours. Check with your state to see what the regulations are for children at various ages. In our State there were not regulations against young people working during school hours, just a restriction on the amount of hours they can work during a week, types of jobs and late night hours. If children in your state need working papers you can get them from your local school district even if your child isn’t enrolled there, we we live you just need to walk in to the High School office and pick up the forms. Of course there are individuals who may hire your child privately for things like babysitting or help with yard or other chores. I know of homeschoolers who have run successful businesses of their own while finishing their education and saving money for their future. Even if you know your child will be going to college, having a resume is important for jobs while and school, summer jobs, internships, etc.
Extracurricular Activities are part of Homeschooling
Extracurricular activities can be a great way to build both transcripts and resumes. There are no lack of programs in arts, sports, youth groups, etc. for young people to be involved in. Whatever their interest there are sure to be community programs and sometimes special programs for homeschoolers. If there is not a program that suits your child’s interest or one that meets your financial situation you can always start your own. Year’s ago when homeschoolers were fewer we set up bowling leagues and gymnastics classes for our kids with local facilities. We also did talent shows and plays. Now there are many programs existing in different facilities or contact one in your area about starting one that you can promote through your homeschool group, email group or by putting up flyers in places homeschooler hang out like libraries or book stores. Community theater groups, community orchestras and other such groups welcome homeschoolers and often our children have more time to dedicate and less conflicts with other activities or homework and therefore are real assets to these groups. (Read More in Groups) Whatever activities your child participates in make sure they keep track of their activity and practice at home time. Count these activities as physical education, art education, or other relevant “courses”. Each summer my children have been involved full time in a local theater program where they have instruction in singing, dance, acting, etc. When doing their transcripts that amounts to a whole years credit in theater arts. Also, colleges really like to see children with interests outside of the mainstream, ie. kids that play an unusual instrument that might be an asset to their music program or play a sport that is not traditional in communities but is big at colleges, ie. rowing.
Not to Slight Traditional Academics
In the preparing for college section I talk about making a list of courses, with your child that you think they should accomplish before “graduating”. Then brainstorm ways to complete them. Of course you could go the traditional textbook approach. You don’t always have to buy text books, libraries usually have one or several in many subjects and no one else ever takes them out so you can check them out, return one, get another and then go back next time and switch again. There are teach yourself workbooks you can buy in major bookstores or one line, video tapes on subjects like science and history that you can get from libraries, on-line video rental sites, yard sales, etc. You can buy computer programs for math, languages, sciences or more. The options are endless and don’t have to be expensive.
Remember going to a historical site or museum counts for hours towards history credits, as an example, some such activities can count in more then one area. Field trips are great, often they can be combined with a family vacation, ie. Williamsburg (which does special homeschool weeks), Washington, D.C., Gettysburg, Philadelphia, etc. can provide hours and hours of learning in numerous subjects. When you think about English literature, you can certainly do the classics or you can gear the course around your child’s interests. One of my children spent a year doing Sci-Fi literature and comparing some of his favorite books to some of his favorite shows. I had each of my children write at least one research paper, one book report and a few other types of longer and shorter items that I thought they might need experience in for later education. I believe Brian wrote a paper about where sci-fi and science technology collided. My daughter on the other hand likes fantasy literature so that was her course and in the end she wrote a paper on dragons in various literature and the difference and similarities in different portrayals. You can read about why I think community college is a great resource, but don’t forget other classes offered for adults and others in the community. If your child goes to some sort of religious instruction count that for a course in religion or work they do there for their writing and other courses. Things can count for more then one subject and often do.
So what about Calculus?
There are always courses parents worry how will their children learn when they can’t teach them. I have mentioned many of the ways they might learn those courses from books, videos, community college, etc. but there are a few other good ideas homeschoolers I know have used. Some communities have homeschool coops already established that may meet some of your child’s needs. Some parents band together informally and say, “I can teach your children Spanish if you can teach my children Algebra”. Some parents band together and hire a retired teacher or a teacher who wants to teach a course at night for their children. Some parents hire a high school student who already studied the course your child needs help with as a tutor. There are now an option we didn't have, lots of on-line courses and assistance. Check out Educator.com as one source.
College Entrance Requirements are not Written in Stone
First, if you have a child who has been in a traditional school setting they may have been told, “without so many years of _____ you won’t get into college. Often what the high schools push and what various colleges really require are not the same. Visit the web sites of a few colleges your child might attend and read their requirements, you might find they are not as stringent as you expected. Then if you do this and find all of them ask for 2 years of a language and your child has only had one, you will find that most colleges will accept them anyway if their other subjects are good enough, they can get a conditional acceptance and make the course up at their college for no credit or at a community college before they go or they can take enough community college credits to go in as a transfer student which usually has a whole different set of requirements which are sometimes not so strict. Remember I write only from my own experiences so I can’t guarantee that your child will get into the college they want to following this advice but it’s more about relaxing and not thinking if your child lacks in an area or two that it is the end of their educational career. I also suggest to parents who are worried about these issues to call a few college admissions offices and talk to them, they are sales people for their institution and will talk to you about how to get your child into their school.