Today’s Real Homeschooling for Real Families post is written by Pat from Breakthrough Homeschooling. She is writing about using an Eclectic Style for High School.
When we first began homeschooling, I think it would be fair to say that that prevalent approach to homeschooling high school was actuality preparation for college. Most homeschool moms replicated their own high school education, whether or not it was intentional, and that certainly was the context when we were homeschooling our two older kiddos, now 31 and 29. But I’d like to suggest an alternate approach to homeschooling high school today, without (I hope) sounding too melodramatic: preparation for life.
As mentioned, many years ago, college attendance was the assumed next step after teenagers completed high school. Since then, however, our country and culture have been hit with recessions, skyrocketing college costs, unprecedented pile-ups of student loan debt, and a staggering rate of un- or under-employed college grads. Add to this environment the unparalleled growth of technology-based businesses, many of which do not require or even need a college degree, and a business landscape that invites and encourages entrepreneurship. Oh, and don’t forget the useful application of a gap year…
The end result is that today’s high school students have a plethora of opportunities and possibilities, which actually makes our job as home educators a bit more complex than “just” preparing for college.
How to Prepare your Homeschooled Teens for Life
Because of this environment, it’s important that our teens are prepared to attend college should they choose, but also be prepared to step right into a career or career training, should they have an alternate opportunity.
Given the wide range of options available, wise parents can provide a variety of learning formats while covering the basic courses necessary for consideration by most colleges. Four years of English (one of them should be composition), three years of Math, three years of Science (two of them including labs), two to three years of Social Studies, and two years of the same Foreign Language should do it. How these subjects are presented can vary widely, however, and providing a variety of methods ensures your teen will be ready for ‘most anything in their future!
How We used an Eclectic Approach to Homeschool High School
In terms of format, we utilized the many options we had available to us for our teens’ high school years. Because of the lab component, we took advantage of the local community college for science courses, but today there are programs like Veritas Academy or Bridgeway where your teen could even complete lab courses online. English is my strong suit, so I continued to teach that subject myself, adding in some local co-op classes when it came time to study literature. This enabled my kids to participate in important group discussion. We absolutely loved CTC Math and used that until they were able to enroll in more advanced dual enrollment courses during their Senior year. I covered social studies classes using standard textbooks, simply creating a rubric for each course by which I could determine their grades. Fulfilling foreign language credits can be handled online easily; we completed two years of Latin studies using Compass Classroom’s Visual Latin for the first year, segueing into Henle Latin, which transitioned them nicely into a more advanced second-year study.
Additional studies for the Eclectic High School
Now here’s where the fun begins! Once those basic courses are scheduled out, your teen will have plenty of time to add studies that appeal to his interests and develop interesting and important skills. A parent-created “work studies” course can include job shadowing or internships – paid or unpaid – combining work experience with an income and potential career preparation. Most any interest that your teen has can be crafted into a high school level learning experience/subject, and as long as they keep good records – and you tailor a description and course name that works for their transcript – well, the sky’s the limit!
Throw in “adulting” subjects as your teen needs them, make sure they have a handle on personal finance, help them develop a strong work ethic, and they will be set for whatever or wherever they head off to post-graduation.
At the end of the day, life really is an eclectic combination of experiences and opportunities. The most valuable thing we can prepare our kids for really is life. And an eclectic approach to the homeschool high school is often “just the ticket” to make that happen!