Homeschooling High School

 

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“I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain)

Homeschooling High School

Did you know that John Quincy Adams entered Harvard at age 14? This was common back then and it is becoming more common again today. There is no reason that a child capable of high school level work cannot begin working on their high school requirements at age 14 or even earlier.

There is nothing in the law that says your children must take United States History in junior high and again in senior high even though that is what most schools do. Instead, teach it once, covering it thoroughly even if it takes more than one year. Then write it on their high school transcript. (Because of the amount of material covered in history, most schools now teach history in periods such as US History to 1876 and Modern US History, awarding one credit for each course completed. Science can be done the same way: teach anatomy, botany, geology, physical science, oceanography, etc. as separate courses. By beginning these courses earlier, your child will not only cover more topics and gain a more thorough understanding of the topics covered, but will also have time to do more hands-on activities and lab work.)

Plot out your course of study for the next six years. Habakkuk 1:2 "Write the vision, and make it plain upon tables (notebook paper!), that he may run that readeth it." At the start of junior high school, obtain copies of admission requirements from colleges or trade schools your child might be interested in attending. College and trade school catalogs are free for the asking. Keep these requirements in mind as you plan your course of study. Feel free to use my free High School Planning Forms to help you plot your high school years.

As your children get into their junior high and senior high years, their gifts and specific callings will become more evident. This is the time to expand on those subjects you've already introduced them to and begin tailoring their studies to suit each of their specific career or ministry needs. Two good resources that will help with this are Discovering Your God-Given Gifts by Don and Katie Fortune and The Checklist by Cindy Downes.

Get them involved in volunteer positions that utilize their skills, talents, and interests. Consider internships and apprenticeships. Seventy-five percent of the Swiss population go into apprenticeships around age 15 (equivalent to 8th-9th grade). Feel free to use the Career Development/Internship Course (pdf document) I wrote for high school. (pdf document)

Apprenticeship programs are usually run by private employers and consist of one half on-the-job training and one half formal instruction. Apprenticeships are not easy to come by, but I have found that with a lot of prayer and by asking questions of people you know, you can find them. One way to initiate an apprenticeship program is to approach a business owner with the idea of allowing your child to spend one afternoon at their place of business to observe. If that works out for both parties, ask the business owner if the child could come and volunteer on a regular basis. This means sweeping floors, filing, washing windows, etc. Your child must be willing to do the grunt work! You will find that over time, if your child is diligent and faithful, he will be welcomed with open arms and slowly given more career-related work. This volunteer work may eventually lead to a paid position during high school or even a life-time career.

Business people are looking for good employees; and when they find someone who has potential, they will do all that they can to help train him. If a degree is necessary, some business owners will even help with funds for education. Even if your child decides from this experience that he does not want to pursue a career in this particular field, think of the time and money you have saved!

Don't be overly concerned about a possible inability to teach high school level math and science courses that your children might need. If you train them in their early years to be independent learners and self-motivated, they will be able to teach themselves what they need to know as long as you get them the necessary materials. If, however, you haven't done such a good job in this area, or if you're starting to homeschool later in their academic career, check out other resources for these difficult subjects such as homeschool co-ops, paid tutors, correspondence courses, and online courses over the internet.

Continue to work your plan, making adjustments as needed. High school is not as hard as you think. It's actually the most rewarding time of your homeschool career because this is the time that you will begin to see the fruits of your labor.

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High School Graduation Requirements

The high school graduation requirements for Oklahoma public schools are posted on the Oklahoma State Department of Education website - Graduation Requirements.

Oklahoma students wanting to participate in Oklahoma's Promise must follow a prescribed program.

High School Diplomas

Public school and some private schools offer “accredited” diplomas. What this means is that all the members of the school system pay to belong to an accrediting organization which determines specific rules for how and when to teach each course, the number of hours each course must be taught, and the curriculum that must be used to teach the course. In return for following these rules, the school can offer “accredited” diplomas.

Many Christian schools have their own accreditation agency which regulates their coursework based on Biblical standards. While their diplomas are “accredited” by their accrediting agency, their diplomas are not “accredited” in the eyes of the public school system. Other Christian schools and private schools choose not to belong to any accrediting agency and therefore do not offer “accredited” diplomas. Homeschool diplomas are not “accredited.”

If your child transfers from one school to another, his credits will be accepted without question by all schools who belong to the same accrediting agency. (Note: In some cases, the school will limit the amount of credits that can be transferred.)

His credits may or may not be accepted if his previous school does not belong to the same accrediting agency. It's totally up to the school's discretion.This is true for elementary and secondary schools as well as for colleges and trade schools.

Most colleges and trade schools do not require diplomas from homeschooled students. Instead they base their decision to enroll on transcripts, testing, and interviews. For those few colleges and trade schools that do require diplomas, your child may have to take the GED. We do not recommend taking the GED unless it is completely necessary as a GED indicates to prospective employers that the child dropped out of school. To decide whether or not your child needs an accredited diploma, contact the school system or college where your child wants to attend.

Most homeschooled students find that they do not need an “accredited” diploma. In this case, parents typeset their own diploma or simply forego one altogether. You can purchase blank diplomas from Home School Legal Defense Association.

High School Graduation

Many support groups or homeschool organizations offer a high school graduation ceremony. If you cannot find a graduation service in your area, send out graduation announcements to your friends and relatives and have your own celebration at home or rent a hall and go out out with a dinner!

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High School Classes, Tutors, and Curriculum:

If you want to put together your own High School program using a variety of curriculum, see Curriculum Recommendations.

If you are looking for public education at home (distance learning), here are some choices (see High School Diploma above for information on accreditation). (Note from Cindy - Just because I add these resources to this website does not mean that I recommend them! I realize everyone has different needs, so check each reasource out for yourself.)

Clonlara School. Online school for nontraditional high school. Design your own course of study.

Epic 101 Charter School. Online school. This school pulls together resources from all over (online curriuclum, on-the-job training, apprenticeships, etc) and combines them into a PreK-12 school program. Free tuition to Oklahoma residents. This is a public school program.

Great Books Academy - based on the classics.

K12 Online High Schools - offering public and private curriculum options

Keystone National High School - online high school.

Laurel Springs - college prep education.

Oak Meadow - distance learning.

Oklahoma Virtual High School. This is a free, online, "alternative education" for high school students. This is a public school program.

Oklahoma Virtual Academy. Another free, alternative education for high school students. This is a public school program.

North Dakota Center for Distance Education - distance learning.

Christian Distance Learning, here are some choices:

Christian Liberty Academy - Christian education.

Eagle Christian School - Online Christian education.

Northstar Academy. Online learning program for grades 7 - 12th using Abeka textbooks and Saxon math.

Sonlight - Christian-based developed for missionaries.

Concurrent Enrollment Choices in Oklahoma: See College Admission.

Individual courses online, here are some choices:

MIT (Massachusettes Institute of Technology) Open Courseware - FREE lecture notes, exams, and videos from MIT. No registration required. College level. No credit given by MIT. Use to prepare for college or for advanced high school students.

Keystone National High School - individual online high school classes

Patrick Henry College - Christian based, distance learning high school classes (as well as a 4-year college). This college was created FOR homeschoolers BY homeschoolers.

For part time Homeschool Co-ops and classes in Oklahoma, see Academic Classes.

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Work Permits

Teens, ages 14 and 15, must obtain a work permit to hold a job. There are restrictions that apply to the number of hours worked, type of job he or she can do, how much break time is required, etc. Teens 16 and up do not have to have a work permit. For information on work permits, please read the Child Labor Laws poster.

To apply for a permit, call the State Department of Education at (405) 521-3369. Tell them that you are homeschooling, and ask for a work permit to be sent to you. As per Statute 40 Oklahoma Statute, Sec. 79, parents of homeschooled children are authorized to administer the oath verifying the student's age and homeschool status.

Military Information

Here's a letter that was printed in the HSLDA newsletter:

Dear HSLDA members and friends:

Homeschool Legal Defense Association was recently contacted by Capt. James D. Couch, a Flight Commander in the 349th United States Air Force Recruiting Squadron. The 349th Squadron encompasses most of Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas, and Kansas.

While evaluating approximately 25 to 35 homeschooled students in the Air Force, Capt. Couch noticed that these students, as a trend, scored higher on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) then most other applicants. This impressed Capt. Couch.

At the same time Capt. Couch was concerned that the Air Force was missing out on a large population of high quality applicants. Recruiters are able to schedule visits to a public school or attend college and career fairs. While there is a definite trend in higher performance among homeschooled students, recruiters have fewer ways of reaching out to these students and relating the opportunities available to them for their possible service in the Air Force.

Faced with this dilemma Capt. Couch contacted HSLDA for help. Capt. Couch is not a recruiter; however, he would be happy to direct any homeschool student to a qualified United States Air Force recruiter under his command. If interested you can contact him at both Rso349@rs.af.mil and james.couch@rs.af.mil.

If you are a homeschool student in Oklahoma, Missouri, Arkansas or Kansas and have a desire to serve your nation through military service, we would like to encourage you to contact Capt. Couch and find out more about how service in the Air Force could benefit both you and the United States.

Capt. Couch assures us that Air Force recruiters will not badger interested individuals, but rather act as liaisons between needs and desires of perspective applicants and the needs of the United States Air Force. To see a copy of the letter Captain Couch sent to HSLDA please visit http://www.hslda.org/elink.asp?id=4119.

Sincerely,

Thomas J. Schmidt
HSLDA Staff Attorney


Here are more resources for homeschooling high school:

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Copyright © 2004 - by Cindy Downes