Starting homeschooling at high school level often seems daunting to new homeschooling parents, but actually it isn’t.
By high school level, children can read and write and should be trained to start taking responsibility for their own education. They need to make the mindshift that once they are outside of the school system, they actually have a CHOICE about what they learn and they need to start thinking about their own goals for their future.
If a child had a rough time at school, focus on his/her emotional well-being first, don’t rush into loading them with school work. You are now out of the system. There is no deadline. You don’t have to rush to finish in any particular time frame. You will know when your child is ‘ready’ to move on to the next step on his/her life path.
Read about Eclectic Homeschooling and why you should not do school-at-home but rather give your child a customised education.
Don’t start with too much. Buy one product at a time and ease into homeschooling gently. Don’t feel under pressure. You are not wasting time, if you don’t have a curriculum yet, you are actually giving yourself and your child time to just be together and learn together about your options on this new adventure. That in itself is a different kind of education altogether.
The most valuable life lessons are not found in text books.
Take time for both of you to deschool your way of thinking.
You will give your child a customised education and let him/her progress at his/her own pace. You will know when s/he is ready to write a matric or equivalent and when s/he is ready to be released to the next step on his journey. It might be at age 17 or 20 or anywhere in between. There is NO DEADLINE!!!
Buying a curriculum is the LAST THING YOU NEED TO DO!
RECOMMENDED PRODUCTS FOR STARTING HOMESCHOOLING GRADES 8-10
These products are tried and tested by my own family and well-loved by many other experience homeschooling families too!
No matter which matric option you choose at a later stage, these resources will prepare your child very well from an academic perspective.
These cover only the ‘basics’. You should also ask your child what else s/he would like to learn or spend time doing, including things which are not traditional school subjects. Maybe your child wants to learn to make knives or to sew, maybe video-editing or coding or how to play the guitar. There is time for anything now that you are ‘free’!
Many homeschoolers choose the GED® as a foreign matric alternative which can be written by age 17 and this is what I recommend:
Encouraging Teens to Own their Lives
This programme was created by a high school maths teacher and homeschooling father with a passion for helping children to ‘see’ maths. I got a B for matric maths, but when I saw how he explained the concept of x and polynomial equations in Algebra using concrete manipulative blocks, I was blown away! I had never ‘seen’ and understood it like that!
You can download the placement tests with instructions on how to use them to determine at which level your child should start and then order online.
You need to buy the Instructor Guide and DVD and also the Student Workbook and Tests for whichever level it is. You will also need to buy the manipulatives for the appropriate grade level. These are bought once-off and re-used in subsequent grades.
There are various options, which are highly recommended.
Footprints Nature Quest is a unique, literature-driven learning safari that takes your family on a journey of discovery through the various natural biomes of our amazing country. It is aimed at children between ages 10-16, so you can use it with multiple children in your family together, if necessary.
In each region, a local guide will give you insight into the fascinating geography, flora, fauna and other natural features that make that area distinct.
You will read incredible stories about wildlife and conservation as you explore South Africa’s rich natural heritage and learn to think critically about science, research, conservation and other important matters.
In Afrikaans we offer Natuurskattejag 2:
Dit is ‘n unieke, literatuurgedrewe leersafari wat jou gesin op ‘n ontdekkingsreis neem deur die verskillende natuurlike biome van ons wonderlike land. Dit is gemik op kinders tussen ouderdomme 10-16 jaar, maar goeie leesstof ken geen ouderdomsbeperkings nie!
In elke streek gee ‘n plaaslike gids jou insig in die fassinerende geografie, flora, fauna en ander natuurlike kenmerke wat daardie area onderskei.
Senior Science – Apologia General Science by Dr Jay Wile is also from Oikos. (Has a Christian world-view)
Start with General Science, then Physical Science, then Biology or Chemistry if you have enough years ahead. You don’t have to do all of them.
Get the Student Manual as well as the Solution and Tests.
Buy them from Creation Ministries at http://zastore.creation.com/
3. SOCIAL STUDIES
Footprints – The Last Century and the Afrikaans counterpart Voetspore – Die Laaste Eeu are ideal for tweens and teens. The assignments and activities in both are aimed at children between ages 10-14 years, but as good literature knows no age limits, they will be stimulating and thought-provoking for older teens too. Both are designed to encourage teens to think critically about different perspectives on history and current events, so that they can become media-savvy citizens of the 21st century. Excellent preparation for the GED as a matric alternative!
Use these literature-based programmes to help your children learn to think critically about anything they read. We present different points of view to events that happened in history to show that, in a war, for example, there are always two sides to a story, perhaps even more and our task is to learn to ‘read between the lines’ and recognise whose point of view we are receiving.
With Footprints on our Land, there are also optional English Grammar Worksheets which are in digital format at R200. We recommend taking about 18 months to two years to work through either Footprints on Our Land or Voetspore. You can use both of them with younger children too at the same time, as they are aimed at children between ages 8-14 years (but even a 15 or 16 year old will enjoy them as good literature has no age limit!)
Footprints On Our Land (above) also includes an optional extra Language Arts programme for that age group. A bargain price too.
Grammar – We used Developing Language Skills Books 5 and 6 at high school level for Grade 8 and 9 or any other Language Arts programme of your choice. These books are very affordable and give a good overview of grammar.
For English Writing, I recommend Structure and Style for Students (previously know as Student Writing Intensive) created by Excellence in Writing.
Alternatively, any other reputable English programme will be fine.
Susan Wise Bauer’s curriculum called Writing With Skill is also a suggested option. My colleague Wendy has used it and recommends it. It is less expensive than Student Writing Intensive. Available from online stores.
8. AFRIKAANS OR OTHER LANGUAGES
For first language learners, go to oolfant.com and explore the range of made-for-homeschooling products by Marisa Haasbroek. She is a veteran homeschool mom with a passion for teaching children Afrikaans language skills.
For other languages, Duolingo offers free online language courses in bite-size lessons. Watch out if your children learn languages you don’t know! We have family members texting secret messages and shopping lists in Korean script to each other on our family group! (Why Korean? BTS – google if you don’t know what BTS is!)
7. FOR PARENTS
Although you don’t need to a certified teacher to help your children learn, EVEN at high school level, you do need to be their supervisor and biggest cheerleader. You do need to be informed so that you can make good choices for your family. Consider this a new ‘career’ and get learn more so that you don’t follow bad advice and fall into the common ‘traps’ that trip up new homeschooling families. If you don’t know your options, you don’t have any!
My online presentations are at Teachable.com. Create a free account and then you can view them. Some are free, some are to purchase:
- 5 Vital Lessons for Every Homeschooler is free – 1 hour
- I recommend you also watch Starting Homeschooling – 6 x 1-hour presentations (R400)
- Homeschooling High School – 6 presentations on various options for high school and matric
You can download them to view at your convenience.
It is so worth it to invest some time and money learning more about how homeschooling works best so that you feel confident about making big decisions going forward.