Transitioning from public high school to homeschooling causes more than a little worry for most families, particularly if they have no prior experience with homeschooling. Parents and students alike are concerned about credits, diplomas, transcripts, colleges, and how homeschooling will impact it all.

The good news is that homeschooling in high school is often much easier that people think it is. In this post, I will share five tips and tricks for transitioning from public high school to homeschooling.

Tip #1 Don’t plan to return to public school

If you decide to remove a child from public high school, you need to be aware that high school level courses taken as a homeschooler are often not accepted for credit by public schools. I strongly advise families who pull a high school student out of public school to plan to finish out their child’s education as a homeschooler. In Texas, where I homeschool, high school students returning to public school have to make up credit by examination, take online classes to earn credits, or attend summer school to earn high school credit. This results in the student working twice as hard to get through high school.

If your child doesn’t return to public school, you as the home educator, award their credits and graduate them from high school.

Tip #2 Utilize Co-ops, Enrichment Academies, and Community Colleges for challenging subjects

One of the concerns parents have when transitioning a child from public high school to homeschooling is teaching challenging subjects such as chemistry, trigonometry, foreign languages, and the like. Fortunately, parents don’t have to be proficient in every subject for their children to learn it. Homeschool co-ops are full of parents whose delight is in teaching subjects that other parents dread. Co-ops are the most affordable option in which families band together to teach each other’s children.

Enrichment academies are another option for ensuring that high school students are able to tackle those difficult topics without having to teach them yourself. While parents are expected to assist in teaching at co-ops, that is not the case with enrichment academies. You select the class or classes your student needs, pay the fees, and get your child to the classes.

A third option for high school courses is one of my favorite options- dual enrollment at the local community college. In this option, your child takes core courses and elective courses and earns high school credit and college credit at the same time. In my area, students can take a certain number of courses at no charge with the only cost being their textbooks. My youngest daughter took eight college level courses during her junior and senior years of high school, which earned her eight high school credits and twenty-four college credits at the same time.

Tip #3 Allow Time for Discovery

When you bring your child home from public school, you may feel that you have to jump in right away with school because he or she is a high school student. However, it’s often helpful to allow your child a break from academics for several weeks or longer (often called de-schooling) to let them explore their interests and recover from the stress that they may have experienced in public school. Once they have had this break, they will be ready for the more independent life of a homeschool student. Learning at home creates students who are more responsible and self-directed in many instances.

Tip #4 Allow Your Student to Set the Pace

A typical public high school career is usually four years. The beauty of homeschooling is that students can set a pace that is more suitable to their needs. Two of my students took five years to complete their high school studies. A good friend’s children often graduate at the age of sixteen. Allowing your child to complete high school on their own timetable keeps them engaged in their schoolwork. Nothing destroys the love of learning faster than being rushed through material or being forced to slow the pace when one is ready to move on.

Tip #5 Relax

This is easier said than done, but the truth is that giving in to stress doesn’t guarantee your child a quality education. We have more resources than ever before for teaching high school subjects. Homeschoolers are very helpful to new homeschoolers and will extend a helping hand to point you to the resources you and your student need, so you don’t need to let anxiety rule over you.

Additionally, thousands of home educated students have graduated from high school and entered college or the workforce successfully. Many colleges have advisors who work specifically with homeschooled students and some colleges even recruit homeschoolers. Your child is more capable than you probably realize and will be a driving force in his or her own education. It’s not all on you, thankfully.

Transitioning from public high school to homeschooling is easier than you think and more rewarding than you can imagine.

Good luck and Happy Homeschooling!