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Homeschoolers as a group are more mature and better socialized, participate in more activities in their community, and better socialize with children of different ages.

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Can Homeschooling in High School Be Fun?

Once we start homeschooling in high school, can we ever have fun or be creative again? Sometimes we get so caught up in the many requirements of teaching high school that we forget to capitalize on the benefits of homeschooling.

I have often commiserated with other parents that homeschooling in grades K-8 can be so much fun, but homeschooling in high school can quickly turn into a daily drudgery. We quit living life as we have known it up to this point and begin living life within the context of graduation requirements and college entrance prerequisites. All of a sudden we have this overwhelming sensation that this is the "real thing."

Of course, homeschooling in every grade is the real thing - the first eight years just don't have to be recorded on a high school transcript that will be scrutinized by college admissions personnel or potential employers. So, the question becomes, how do we do the really creative things with our students in high school that gave our kids and us so much pleasure in the early grades, while ensuring we meet rigorous academic standards that will allow them to pursue their college and/or career dreams?

I think there are many things we can do:

Allow your student to take some high school courses prior to the ninth grade. This keeps you from feeling so much pressure in grades 9-12. My second son, John, finished the great majority of his course work in the 11th grade and was able to spend most of his senior year traveling, exploring collegiate options and scholarships, and participating in some really exciting internship programs. Others enjoy being able to spread the high school years over five or six years as opposed to four.

I love the unit study and living books approach to education. Because of all the required courses that my sons needed for college entrance requirements, I didn't initially feel the freedom to teach from an integrated perspective. As I gained more confidence in homeschooling at the high school level, I began to branch out and find creative ways to teach some courses.

Remember that a high school course at home can be taught in a couple of months or a couple of years. John needed to finish Algebra III and Trigonometry in a relatively short period of time. He was very independent at this point in his academics. We ordered the Chalkdust video series and recommended texts, and with very intensive work, John finished the course in less than a semester's time (similar to block scheduling).

Be creative. Learn to look at all of their activities as part of their high school curriculum. In a course we entitled "Ecosystems and Environmental Studies," we used John's summer camp experiences and our "vacations" as the basis for a very credible science credit (1/2 credit).

Analyze your children's experiences and skill sets. Many things that others would consider extra-curricular, I considered curricular in my sons' high school careers, because of the significant learning and assimilation of life skills that occurred through the particular activities. Because I wanted to draw attention to John's very strong leadership skill set that had been carefully cultivated throughout his high school years, I decided to dignify his unique experiences and knowledge with not one, but two, high school creditsâ??entitled Leadership Training I and II. Use your creativity to classify these and quantify them into the basis for high school credit. As the list of course credits will appear on the high school transcript, use terms and course titles that will be readily understandable by college admissions personnel or potential employers.

Remember that variety is the spice of life! Incorporate a variety of activities and learning modes. For John's English III and American History courses, together we developed a unit study that included a variety of learning opportunities. We read books. We listened to many of the classics on tape while we were in the car traveling to one of our field study destinations. We watched several video series. John conducted interviews with his grandfathers concerning their World War II experiences. And then there was the benefit of traveling and seeing first hand many of the things we were reading about.

Zan Tyler is the Home School Resource and Media Consultant for Broadman and Holman Publishers and the Homeschool Editor for She and her husband Joe have three children and have been home schooling since 1984.

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