Homeschooling a High School Student

Are you ready to homeschool a high schooler? Many times I hear that people will homeschool until the end of middle school, then use public or private high schools.

This is definitely an option, but you don’t have to go this route unless you want to do so. You can homeschool through high school. Check out the tips below to get the basics.

Make a Plan

The first step is to not get stressed out. You will have to do some planning and research, but this can be done over time and adjusted when needed. Set a timeline for yourself and your child so that you feel less stressed. Make sure this timeline is not rushed.

Consider joining a local support group where there may be other members who have already planned their high school coursework. Learn from their advice. Ideally, you will begin planning for high school by the middle of grade 8. If you find yourself with a high schooler and not a lot of planning, then go ahead an begin planning but still break the process down into steps so you are not overwhelmed.

Consider Interests and Goals

It is important to consider your child’s interests and job aspirations. If your child doesn’t know which job they may want, no problem, go ahead and make sure they have the basics so their options are open. Have your child help choose as many courses as possible.

In many situations some things are non-negotiable such as 4 years of language arts and literature studies and 3 years of social studies and government courses. But having your child actively involved in course choice and curriculum choice gives them a taste of the freedom college or trade school brings as well as the option to set their own goals and set the stage for their future.

Working Backwards

If your teen knows which college they want to attend, which job they may want, or has ideas about any other options, then use that information to find out what will be required to meet this goal. You may also consider using your state’s accredited public school requirements list to guide you as this likely follows a college prep route even for students who may choose other avenues. This list can usually be found on your state’s or province’s Department of Education website.

If your son wants to be park ranger, he may need some botany and biology background so consider adding this type of coursework in for science and/or elective spaces. Look for job requirements for park rangers. Do they need a college degree? If so, which kind of degree works best and how long does it take to complete? Should they volunteer before applying for work? Is there a way to utilize dual enrollment or CLEP tests to speed up the process if college is necessary?  As you can see, there are many considerations but if you begin planning early, there is less stress over lack of time to make decisions.

Dual Enrollment and CLEP for College-bound Students

Many homeschool families use either dual enrollment or CLEP (College Level Examination Program) tests to earn college credits before high school ends. Both options can help save money and time. Look into these options but remember that they are not a must. Each student is unique, and homeschooling allows us to make room for our children’s needs while helping them achieve their goals.

Dual enrollment programs allow high school students to take college classes at community college-style schools in their area. These are usually smaller schools and help ease the transition from high school to college level educational experiences. There have been situations where universities and larger 4-year colleges offer dual enrollment. Some classes are online while others are in-person.

Email and ask the college your student hopes to use for dual enrollment if they take high schoolers or not. Usually they will require PERT, ACT, or SAT scores at a certain threshold in order to enroll your child. This may vary by school, though. Another point of interest for some is that dual enrollment may allow your child to directly transfer to a larger university depending on your state laws and university rules.

CLEP tests are tests a student takes in order to gain college credits without attending a class. There are a large variety of CLEP tests available, so it is worth checking into. Many students use these tests to gain general education credits such as math, language arts/literature, etc. By using CLEP to get basic requirements out of the way for a college degree, your student can then focus on their topic of study more quickly as well as potentially graduate earlier.

Keep in mind that some trade schools and apprenticeship programs may allow your high school student to work toward a career while finishing high school as a homeschooler. There may be tests, fees, or other requirements to consider so make sure you have a list of questions and don’t be afraid to contact them more than once if they will allow your child to begin during high school. If your child prefers to learn a trade and get out to the workforce, this may be an option.


Parents contact me alllll the time because they are scared to deal with transcripts. This is a logical fear. Maybe this is the first time you are writing a transcript. Maybe your child wants to get into a university that to which it is traditionally difficult to gain entrance. I think we all feel this way at first. The great news is that you can do this.

Writing a transcript is not as hard as it sounds. It is important to be accurate and clear. If you unschool, then take great care to write course descriptions as your student may use multiple sources and activities to learn about a topic. As with the coursework planning stage above, make sure you have time. I prefer to add courses as they are completed, though you could choose to add courses as they begin, then add the grades when completed. Because you will research which courses are expected for college entrance and the future job your child wants, you will have a transcript which reflects these requirements.

If you use a virtual or distance education program, you may already have a printout with grades which means you have a transcript already. If you use multiple types of classes or curriculum, then you may need to use this info to create your own master transcript so that all classes are listed in one document.

Don’t Stress

This will sound ridiculous, but don’t stress out. If you stress, your kid may stress, too. If you are both stressed out, you are going to have a rough time. If you feel panic set in because you feel like maybe you haven’t done enough or aren’t quite prepared, remember, you can do this. Your child can do this.

  1. Make a plan
  2. Consider interests and goals
  3. Work backwards
  4. Consider cost-saving and time-saving options like dual enrollment, CLEP tests, and apprenticeships
  5. Write transcripts as you go


If you would like for me to consult with you or write transcripts for your, please contact me at the link or text the phone number below. I am happy to help.


Melissa Packwood, M.S. Ed. Photograph by Alexandra Islas

Melissa Packwood, M.S. Ed.
Photograph by Alexandra Islas


I earned my master’s degree in reading and literacy as well as an ESE graduate certificate. I hold a current teaching certificate and am working on my dissertation for my PHD in general psychology. As a consultant and reading coach, I focus on early childhood education, elementary education, reading and literacy, study skills, thematic units, and social skills. Additional services include public speaking, transcript preparation, and more. I look forward to putting my teaching experience and degrees to work for you.

Please contact me with questions or to request services.

You can also contact Melissa, The Reading Coach at 407-712-4368