How Do I Handle High School Homeschooling?
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By Beverly S. Krueger
You’ve looked over a number of different high school chemistry
textbooks, teacher’s manuals and accompanying resources. Chemistry
seems too involved. You remember very little of your high school
chemistry or never had it to begin with. You’re not comfortable
with your own ability to provide back up support when your child
doesn’t understand concepts presented in his text. What’s a homeschool
parent to do? Throw in the towel when it’s time for high school
level work? No, there are better solutions.
There are a number of public and private institutions that offer
high school level classes by correspondence or online. Many of the
traditional correspondence schools are moving towards more electronic
instruction. That means you still have the traditional books and
materials mailed to you, but you can often correspond with your
oversight teacher by email. Online classes usually involve regular
meetings in a chat room environment as well as email correspondence.
Video School or Software Curriculum
A friend uses video school and says that her children actually
begin to feel in some measure part of the classroom where the course
video is taped. They’ll tell her that so and so got in trouble in
class today. This option puts you in the position of most parents
with kids in school with one important difference, you can always
play the video again and find out what the teacher said. If your
child doesn’t understand how to complete his assignment, you have
the video to fall back on not just the textbook.
There are a variety of commercial products now available at software
stores that cover middle school and high school level topics. Typically
these rely heavily on text with some charts, graphs and multimedia
clips. They are not very glitzy, but they do cover the basics of
the course title. There are now several companies marketing this
type of software. To find out more about the specifics of a particular
set of software visit Juline Lambert’s Learningware Review website.
For a $10 yearly fee you can access Juline’s unbiased, thorough
reviews of all types of educational software. http://learningwarereviews.com.
AlphaOmega offers their core high school level courses on CD now.
Their Switched on Schoolhouse is a step above their regular
LifePac curriculum. Each CD offers some multimedia. They are also
interactive so your child knows right away when they miss a problem.
You can track your child’s progress, set up a schedule for completion,
and input your own grading system. Each CD is $59.95.
Eligibility to enroll in community college classes varies from
state to state. You’ll want to look into this option at your local
community college. My oldest has taken several classes from Metropolitan
Community College in Omaha. They allow homeschool students early
entrance at 16. They require placement testing. Your testing results
determine which classes you may take. They have a series of three
remedial levels of math, two of English and one in science. These
remedial classes cover typical high school level course work. My
daughter tested into the high school algebra equivalent but went
straight to college level freshman composition.
Enroll in one or two classes in your local public school
If your state and local rules allow you to take a class or two
at your local school, this is also an option that can work for some
high school classes. One of my daughter’s friends is taking French
at the local high school. Another family may allow their son to
take a half load of classes at the local high school which will
also make him eligible to play football.
Co-ops can be very effective in providing instruction for more
technical or difficult to do high school subjects. They can operate
with parents each selecting a class to offer, or a group of parents
can combine to pay an instructor for a particular topic. Perhaps
the local Christian high school science teacher would like to earn
some extra income by providing biology lab twice a week in the evening.
Some college instructors may enjoy the opportunity to work with
Find a tutor
On a fairly regular basis I am approached by teachers interested
in providing tutoring to homeschooled students. There are probably
teachers in your community who have retired or are not working full
time who would be willing to tutor your child in a specific subject.
Post notices in the local paper or on teacher bulletin boards at
local schools. There may be another homeschooling parent who has
the ability and desire to tutor a foreign language or calculus.
The money they make tutoring will help them cover their own homeschooling
Find non-textbook resources that cover the same learning objectives
found in text driven courses.
There are non-traditional ways of studying many high school level
subjects. Our local children’s museum had an exhibition which covered
the basics of physics. They were looking for homeschooled students
to act as exhibition guides and to help with children’s workshops.
Volunteers were required to take classes learning the physics behind
the exhibition and how to perform a number of hands on demonstrations.
When you listed off all the different physics concepts they would
be required to learn, they had covered most of what a typical physics
course covers. Another example is Friendly Chemistry, a complete
game oriented chemistry curriculum that teaches basic chemistry
in an easy to understand manner with lots of hands-on reinforcement
in the games that accompany it.
Copyright © 1999 Eclectic Homeschool Association