Homeschooling Thru High School
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Beyond Academics

There is more to life than algebra! You're preparing your children for life. They're developing enduring friendships, making memories, and building skills and hobbies that will last them for years. You want to make sure your child has the right opportunities and experiences to become a well-rounded adult. What are some of the resources available to homeschoolers?

Extracurricular activities

You can help your child obtain a well-rounded education throughout the high school years by involving him/her in several extracurricular activities. Planning these activities at the beginning of the high school years will maximize possibilities for the student to grow into leadership positions. Opportunities abound for employment, community service projects, church-related ministries, sports teams, orchestra, band, etc.—the list goes on and on. Check out your local support groups and state homeschooling organizations to investigate extracurricular activities that may already be organized. If nothing is currently organized in an area of interest, consider having your child initiate an activity that others may want to join! Choose extracurricular activities wisely, and assist your child in maintaining a healthy balance of academics, outside interests, and work. As your teen participates in extracurricular activities, consider recording them on an extracurricular sheet, and then add to the sheet each year of high school. Keep in mind that many college admissions officers prefer that students be involved wholeheartedly in several activities, rather than minimally involved in many activities.

Character and Leadership Training

Many contests and competitions are open to homeschool students. Each competition or contest has its own eligibility requirements, so be sure to carefully comply with the stated rules and deadlines. Contests can motivate your student to write an essay, draw a picture, or even build a robot! With most contests offering monetary rewards, they are well worth the effort and offer an opportunity for your child to earn scholarship money. The College Board’s article, “Where the Scholarships Are: How to Develop a Scholarship Strategy,” provides helpful information as you begin to research scholarships.

Finding a scholarship might appear to be one of the mysteries of higher education. But it doesn’t have to be! Starting your search in the right places is the key, and the resources listed here will help you do just that. You’ll be amazed at what you might find—there are scholarships for just about every conceivable category. One HSLDA member family had a daughter who was a swimmer and had asthma. They actually found a scholarship for asthmatic swimmers. You just never know what’s out there. Try checking your local pubic school’s website. It may include information on local, state, and national scholarships. Happy hunting!

To learn more about competition and scholarship awards.

Military
Summer Camps
Sports
Friends

It’s understandable for parents to worry that homeschooling might limit their child’s friendships. But ask yourself, “What kinds of friends do I want my kids to have?” Attending school with several hundred other children rarely results in deep, lasting relationships. Homeschooling gives teenagers the freedom to make many friends, and the chance to cultivate those friendships in a mature way. Even families living in rural, less-populated areas quickly discover that homeschooling actually allows more time to get involved in community and social activities than attending traditional school does.

Life skills

Preparing your child for adult life includes training in basic skills beyond the academics. For ideas, see the Life Skills Checklist, along with a list of resources. Also consider providing courses or experiences in some of the following areas.

Missions

Cross-cultural experiences will stretch your student physically, mentally, and emotionally and broaden his/her perspective of the world.

Motivation

Help! My teenager doesn’t want to do his schoolwork. He won’t help around the house. He’s so uncooperative. What can I do?

Time Management

How do I squeeze into 24 hours all my high schooler’s subjects, her extracurricular activities, time with my other children, attention for my husband, making dinner, and doing laundry? And how do I teach my teenager to manage her time more efficiently?

Volunteering
The teenage years provide an opportunity for your teen to begin a lifelong practice of serving others. These sites will provide you ideas on where and how to begin.
Work Permits

When children begin working outside of the home, many parents are confused by employers’ requests for permits, especially when told that the work permits must be issued by a public school official. Any homeschooler can go to his or her local school district to get a work permit in any state. Some private schools are issuing officers as well, and in some states a homeschooler can get the permit from the state (Michigan is one of those states). Hourly work restrictions and occupation prohibitions can also be confusing. Most states do not have an exemption for students who graduate early. For more information and details on work permits, see “Getting Permits Might Take Work” by J. Michael Smith, HSLDA President.

Also, see the summary for each of the 50 states’ child labor and work permit laws through the Forms and Other Resources page or through the State Laws page. (These pages are a members-only resources.)