3 Practical Hacks for Homeschooling High School

Don't overcomplicate homeschooling high school!

Over these past ten years, I’ve realized something about homeschooling high school:

It is way too easy to overcomplicate things.

Honestly, though, it’s understandable. It’s a big deal! What if we mess up?? The fear is all too real.

So what do we do to ensure that won’t happen? We overcompensate. We overschedule. And worst of all – we start trying too hard to look like school.

It's homeschool, not school at home!

Today I just wanted to share three hacks I’ve picked up for homeschooling high school. One thing you should know: they’re not magic pills, and they’re not even all that surprising once you stop and put things into perspective.

But nevertheless, they changed the atmosphere in our homeschool so much that things we’ll never go back to the way they were…and that’s a good thing!

3 Practical Hacks for Homeschooling High School


1. The children’s section of the library isn’t just for children.

Homeschooling high school

As a mom of many, the library has been one of our primary sources for materials because frugal is the name of the game. Back when we ventured into high school territory for the first time, I made a huge mistake.

I thought high school meant an inevitable end to the children’s section in lieu of all adult sources. I couldn’t have been more wrong.

Forcing my teen to use only books that were a bit, well, boring, simply because they were in the adult section was a perfect recipe for a tedious homeschool.

Thankfully, after I looked through those books and compared them to those in the children’s section, I realized that not only were the children’s non-fiction books more colorful and interesting, but they explained things better because they were written with clarity, rather than superficial fluff. They were still chock full of information – easily enough to keep my high schooler attentive and engaged.

I always say that the library beats textbooks every single time, and I mean that – even for high school and even especially with the children’s section.


2. Unit studies are for high schoolers, too.

Unit studies for high school

I’m not sure why, but I’ve noticed that a lot of people believe that unit studies are for younger children.

That couldn’t be further from the truth!

A child’s age doesn’t change the fact that they will inevitably retain what they’ve learned better when their subjects are all connected, as with a unit study approach. There is really something to be said for cohesion, rather than the disconnected way most students learn their required subjects.

The difference between unit studies for younger children and those for teens is obvious: a high schooler will study more complex subjects, delve more deeply, and complete age-appropriate activities.

The benefits, however, never change!


3. Let lifeschooling take the lead.

Homeschooling high school

How many times have you heard people lamenting the fact that high school students are not prepared for the real world upon graduation? I’m willing to bet quite a bit.

Why, then, do so many homeschooling families adopt the public school method once their kids reach 9th grade? It’s rather ironic, don’t you think?

The fact is, these last four years that your teen has left should largely be about learning how to be an adult. This should be a transitional period for them – a dry run, so to speak.

Instead of packing more school work on your kids that likely won’t ever have a lasting effect on their education, let them take the lead. Let them get a job or become an apprentice. Let them partner with you in budgeting, household repairs, and other useful skills. Let them learn about what they choose to in the way they want to, whether that’s through textbooks or hours and hours every day studying the wildlife in the creek.

Now is the time to teach them responsibility and to let them know that not only do you trust them, but you will be there to support them every step of the way.

The high school years can be the most exciting time of your homeschooler’s education. You want to talk about homeschool freedom? Now is the time to share that with your children.

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.

4 thoughts on “3 Practical Hacks for Homeschooling High School”

  1. Great post! I love all the points you made but especially about the children’s books! This is so true! They may not look great as a resource for a great research paper- but even then can be used as browsing for a subject and assisting in finding words to simplify difficult concepts!

    Liked by 1 person

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