I remember when my teen and I began looking into earning a high school diploma at home. She was in eighth grade and ready for the next step in her educational journey.
To begin our planning process, we took some time to discover our state's requirements for a high school diploma.
You can easily find out the requirements for a high school diploma in your state, by visiting your state's Department of Education website. In the search box, type in "high school diploma requirements", or "highschool graduation requirements". We found lots of helpful information.
What you will want to know is the required courses your child needs to take, the number of credits needed for homeschool diplomas, and any other (testing) requirements for your state.
State requirements vary, but typically, your student will need to complete something like:
The total number of credits does vary from state to state, but will be approximately 20 credits or so - give or take a few.
Some homeschooling families do not follow the state graduation requirements. When your child is ready to start college-level classes, they could enroll in a course at your local community college, even if they haven't completed high school.
To enroll in certain classes, your student may need to take a placement test.
However, if your teen wants to apply to a four-year college, they will need to complete the admission requirements of the college before applying.
Next, you will want to take some time to plan out your child's high school education.
Before purchasing your curriculum, write down an outline of the courses they will need to take each year to complete their high school requirements. You will also want to note any special interests they have, subjects they currently enjoy or find interesting.
My teens' interests changed a lot during their high school years. What they start out wanting to go into, morphed into something totally different by the time they graduated high school.
My job was to provide a wide variety of different opportunities to help them learn about themselves, improve their natural gifts and talents, and explore potential areas of interest.
One of my teens wanted to be a professional basketball player when she was in middle school. She held onto that dream for a couple years. We enrolled her in basketball classes, took her to WNBA games, practiced shooting hoops with her in our backyard, and encouraged her to find another area of interest... because we all know that professional athletes need something else to fall back on, in case their careers are short-lived. :)
A common worry among parents is not feeling qualified to teach high school level classes. If you are concerned about not being able to teach some of the courses your child will need to earn their high school diploma at home, rest assured, there are resources and options available to help you.
Materials are easy to follow, and understand for the homeschool teacher (you).
You may even want to enroll your child in an online, co-op, or community college course, and not teach some of the more time-consuming or brain-draining courses like physics, chemistry, geometry, etc.
Tutors, friends, and family members can also help with subjects you feel uncertain about; help is available!
Thousands of ordinary parents like you, and me, have successfully completed the high school diploma at home journey with their children. I know it may seem scary now, but once you have gone through the process once, it gets easier, and you worry a lot less!
You don't need any special qualifications to oversee your children's high school years. Trust me, if I can do it, you can too!
Although the homeschooling journey isn't always easy, I can promise you this... nothing will compare to the joy you feel on your teen's graduation day; and... you'll be surprised at how much you really do remember from your high school days, to use along the way.
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