Homeschooling older children comes with its own set of challenges.
That being said, it ALSO comes with its own set of rewards.
Homeschooling older children is worth it. Don't buy into the myth that you can't teach your children harder subjects and that they need to go to HIGH SCHOOL for those things like prom, clubs, yearbook committee, AP classes, etc...
It's interesting how we are eased into homeschooling our older children. God really does equip those whom He calls, and homeschooling high school is a perfect example.
It is my hope that this list of resources will provide you with some very PRACTICAL help, as well as some overall encouragement. The list is born out of my experience homechooling an older child (with another coming along soon).
It is by no means an exhaustive list, but I value QUALITY over QUANTITY.
You have what it takes to homeschool your older children, I promise. You are QUALIFIED.
Perhaps the most valuable resource you can have during these years of homeschooling older children is a MENTOR. Find a mom you love and trust - a mom that loves your kids and wants the best for them. I have a mentor like this and it has made all the difference in our homeschooling journey!
Sure, books and online sources are great, but NOTHING can take the place of another mom that will pray for and with you and for your homeschool.
(The first set of resources will help you see what courses your child needs to take, and just assist you in planning. )
The Homeschool Legal Defense Association is always the first place I go to when I have questions about legal requirements and what's expected of me.
(It's a good idea to be a member of HSLDA, too.)
The high school section of HSLDA's site is quite comprehensive, and they even have 2 advisors on board to help members with specific high school questions
The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Teens
The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Teens, by Deb Bell, gives an excellent overview of what it will be like to homeschool your middle and high schooler. It also provides a lot of DETAILED information.
There are sections on creating transcripts, awarding college credit at home, college admissions, and more.
It's a great reference book to have on your shelf - mine was passed down to me when my oldest was in 7th grade and it's been so helpful.
High School Graduation Requirements
You definitely need to be aware of what the laws and requirements are in your state.
This handy resource from Donna Young has all of this listed state by state.
Donna also gives us many lists that help prepare to homeschool high school.
Spend some time here if you are new to homeschooling a big kid!
The Home Scholar
Lee Binz's site, The Home Scholar, is an INVALUABLE tool for homeschooling high school.
Her webinars are invaluable (I will be hosting one here soon, so be on the lookout!), and each and every one of her resources have assisted me in planning Anna's high school years, as well as looking towards whatever will come after high school.
I particularly recommend some of her free record keeping samples.
Coffee Break Books
Another resource from Lee Binz are her Coffee Break Books. Many of these books are just $1.99 or even $.99 -- and sometimes you can find them on Amazon for FREE.
Some of my favorites are:
Credit Planner Spreadsheet
I love SIMPLE - and I also love FREE.
This Credit Planner Spreadsheet from Five Js is such a great resource.
If you poke around Joy's site you will find that she is VERY geared towards homeschooling big kids.
Good record keeping is ESSENTIAL when homeschooling older children.
There are many record keeping programs out there - some free and some not free.
I have used many of them and for the past couple of years have firmly settled on Homeschool Minder. Homeschool Minder is an online lesson planning and gradebook, and SO MUCH MORE. I have been keeping reading lists, volunteer hours, course descriptions, and a detailed calendar in Homeschool Minder.
The best thing about Homeschool Minder is that they are constantly listening to customer feedback and developing features that are requested.
You can give it a free 30 day trial to see if you like it -- I'm pretty sure you will!
(The next set of resources is designed to help you find QUALITY support for your homeschool. Whether it be online classes or a local homeschool group there are AMPLE resources out there! )
Memoria Press Online Academy
Memoria Press Online Academy is a Classical Christian Academy with a wide range of offerings.
I was drawn to Memoria Press because of their exceptional faculty and their Latin program.
You can take classes a la carte, or you can receive an accredited degree from Memoria.
We have been EXTREMELY pleased with Memoria Press Academy - having taken a Latin Exam prep class and now Latin (Henle I).
The classes aren't cheap, and I wouldn't expect them to be. We are receiving a high caliber, expert level of instruction with 90 minute online classes each week. It's like bringing a private school into our own home. The financial investment has been worth it for our family.
Mr. D Math
We always get the question, "How are you going to teach your children high school math?"
To be very honest, this was a HUGE stumbling block for my daughter and I throughout middle school. I am so thankful we found Mr. D and his online math program.
You can read High School Math With Mr. D to learn about his offerings.
Your child can go through Mr. D's curriculum online, or they can go through the curriculum AND have a weekly online class with Mr. D. The curriculum is flexible and SOUND.
Mr. D. is a professional math teacher who also consults with school systems to help students improve their SAT scores. I love that he weaves SAT strategies into his class sessions!
Veritas Press offers great self-paced history and Bible curriculum for the younger set, but they also offer online classes and Omnibus courses for older students, too.
Again - if you are looking for something accredited (this is important to some people) and done for you, this might be the way to go!
Although we don't have personal experience with their upper level classes, my 10 year old is currently LOVING the self paced history course he is taking -- and I am loving the independence it gives him and the TIME it gives me!
Classical Conversations Challenge Program
It's important to note that CC's Challenge program is NOT simply a drop off program. Yes - you do drop your 7th-12th grader off one day a week for a day with their classmates and tutor, but Challenge is designed for A LOT of parental involvement.
You can read all about my daughter's experience in the Challenge program.
We made the decision to join CC when my daughter was entering 7th grade. It was the answer we were looking for at the time -- increased accountability to someone OTHER than mom, a peer group, and a rigorous academic plan.
We follow the Challenge curriculum, but we also are free to branch out on our own if something isn't working. I LIKE this.
I also like that the parent is the ultimate teacher. CC doesn't strip the parent of any of their authority, and this is HUGE.
Following are a few blogs that will prove helpful. These bloggers write about a lot of issues and ideas related to homeschooling older children.
Blog, She Wrote
I love Heather's unconventional approach to homeschooling. She is interested in project based learning and following her children's interests.
Blog, She Wrote is full of so much goodness and inspiration. I would love to be one of Heather's high schoolers because it is obvious they are receiving a rich, meaningful education.
Education Possible is full of creative learning activities for middle and high school.
It is also the home of Finishing Strong, a place where lots of upper grades bloggers share ideas.
You will find many free lesson plans, scavenger hunts, book lists, and so much more at Education Possible!
Starts at Eight
Heidi provides SO MANY free unit studies, book lists, and general information about homeschooling high school.
Starts at Eight has a little bit of everything about homeschooling older children!
Her site is quite extensive, so plan to take some time to explore everything she offers!
Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers
Kris has a list of 5 Must-Read Articles if You Are Homeschooling High School.
She also has entire sections devoted to middle and high school.
Again - plan to spend some time here, because she has a wonderful site!
Do you have a favorite resource for homeschooling older children? Or, is there a question about homeschooling older children I might be able to help you with? Leave it in the comments below!
This post is part of the iHomeschool Network's Resources for Homeschool Moms. Click the image below to read posts detailing all kinds of resources for homeschool moms!