Don’t Make This Mistake When Homeschooling High School

Stop imitating school for your homeschooled high schoolers!

Homeschooling high school is a scary thing. Believe me, I get it.  I’m going to cut to the chase today because I need to address someting that I see happening quite often. You see, this very fear is what I honestly believe is at the root of a mistake many homeschooling parents make once their kids reach those last four years of “school.”

It’s a mistake that many people wouldn’t even consider to be a problem in the first place, and therein lies the problem. 

Let’s begin by thinking about why a good portion of homeschooling families have made the decision to live this lifestyle in the first place. The #1 reason I have seen is that parents are recognizing that the traditional education system just doesn’t work.

Whether their kids are having difficulties that the school isn’t addressing or, on the opposite end of the spectrum, their children find the curriculum and educational approach just plain boring depends on the family. Lately I’ve had many new homeschool moms expressing to me that their kids just couldn’t sit still in school. Their children just weren’t wired to learn that way, which is understandable because I’d venture a guess that most children weren’t made to be sitting at a desk all day.

On that basis, it’s time to address the elephant in the room:

Here's the problem we need to address.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make when homeschooling high school is to insist upon recreating school at home.

While relaxed homeschooling has been growing in popularity, the number of families who abandon this method in lieu of a more rigid, structured approach for high school is surprising.

As a mom of two homeschool graduates and eight more children still being homeschooled, I understand the motivation behind it. Being aware of the fact that your teens are soon to embark upon a journey into adulthood can be intimidating.

Recreating the traditional school method is familiar, and there can be comfort in familiarity.

Unfortunately, doing so completely undermines the truth that it makes no sense to imitate what isn’t working.

Especially during high school.

If there were ever the perfect time to let your kids take the reins on their education, it’s during this time. On the brink of adulthood, teenagers will benefit far more from being trusted and being given the freedom to pursue an education in a way that works best for them.

Assigning your teens twelve different subjects to complete a year will not do anything for them in the long run. How can they ever learn anything deeply or develop enthusiasm for something when they’re only learning snippets of information on a multitude of subjects?

Education is not about memorizing only to forget. It is about gaining the skills they will need to navigate and make sense of the world.

This will not happen from a textbook.

And I know what some people may say…but what about college?

Let’s talk about that, shall we?

What about college?

Over the past several years, colleges, including Ivy League colleges, have begun recruiting homeschoolers.


Because, in short, they know how to learn. They know how to actively take a role in their own education. They’re entrepreneurial. They create and own businesses. They travel the world. They volunteer.

How do they have time for all this? Because they aren’t (or, at least, shouldn’t be) bogged down with hours and hours of textbook learning. They are out in the real world engaging, creating, and learning in a way that makes them stand out on their college applications.

They are gaining valuable life experience – something that cannot and will not happen in a classroom setting.


But what about those difficult subjects they’ll need?

Simple. Teens who have the desire to go to college and realize there are certain classes they will need are often far more motivated than those students who have to take them just because someone (a parent or a guidance counselor) said so.

I experienced this very thing with my own daughter. I know it works.

As for those students who choose not to attend college, allowing for life learning opportunities gives them the time to learn the skills they will need to become not only productive members of society but to embrace an entrepreneurial spirit which, let’s face it, is the future of this nation.

Don’t throw away the last four years of your homeschooled teen’s educational experience. Trust them. Lead them. And, most importantly, give them wings to fly.

Homeschooling and education are my passion. It is my fervent hope to one day devote more time to creating content for you. If you’d like to support this ministry, consider supporting me on Patreon.

Thank you so much. I appreciate each and every one of you!






Author: Shelly Sangrey

I'm Shelly, a Christ-following, homeschooling Mom of eleven children ( okay, not ALL children. My oldest is 23.) I met my husband right after graduation, and we've been together ever since. Though my life can be hectic at times... okay, ALL the time, I wouldn't change it for anything.

8 thoughts on “Don’t Make This Mistake When Homeschooling High School”

  1. I needed to read this today! My oldest son just started high school this year and I did exactly what you said! We researched graduation requirements in our state and college entrance requirements and mapped out a 4 year plan using mainly books…. but he’s not planning on attending college (at this point anyway) and he’s not a book learner. Yet we have been setting aside our work to meet up with friends and because life has been getting in the way and it was making me a bit stressed out that we weren’t accomplishing as much as I’d like. Thanks for this reminder!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Great message! I would like to point out, though, that adult children still living at home can be a healthy thing and is not always an indication that a young adult is ill-equipped. I, along with many of my homeschooling friends, have had adult children living with us into their mid-twenties. An intergenerational living arrangement provides an economic benefit to young adults, and the parents can benefit from an additional driver to assist with getting younger kids to appointments and activities. Just sayin’!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi
    Thank you for this post!
    I have my oldest son who is going through this faze where he is not interested in learning from the book or the schedule that I have made for him. This is my second year doing homeschooling with him and his younger brother. My younger son does great with following the structure and likes to have a schedule to guide him. But my oldest has given up. He refuses to do anything. Not just homeschooling but other things that he normally likes. He’s lost enthusiasm in his own likes/interests.
    What do you think I should do??? Does he need a counseling? How can I approach this differently??


  4. I appreciate this post. Thank you. My daughter is going to be starting her sophomore year soon and this will be her 6th year homeschooling. Every year, I’ve released more and more the pressure to replicate public school. But the comfortability still arises. I do have a genuine question though…. How did you meet state requirements (not college prep) AND avoid “traditional” ways. I have such a desire to learn in creative ways but then find myself coming back to the familiar to check the box of earning credits 😅 this is my plea for help 😆🙏🏻


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