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Mapping Out the High School Years

Mapping Out the High School Years

It’s natural to have some concerns about homeschooling through high school. After all, this may be the last formal years of schooling at home. Praise the Lord, we have a mighty God. He has provided for you and will continue to provide for His people. He is a good and faithful God.

Psalm 16:8 says, “I have set the Lord always before me. Because He is at my right hand, I shall not be moved.”

First, take time to pray

Ask the Lord for wisdom as you and your teen prepare for high school. Trust Him to provide and even fill in the gaps. Include your teen in the discussion. Here are some things to consider.\

What knowledge and skills do I want my teen to have upon graduating from high school?

Granted there are the academic skills in writing, computation, logic, communication, research, bible study. Just as valuable are the non-academic skills such as CPR, financial management, home economics, computer skills, time management, study skills. The list is not exhaustive because learning is for a lifetime.

What values do I want my adult children to live by? What principles should govern their decision making? What character traits do I want to see in my teen? How best to instill these principles and develop these traits?

As Christian parents, we desire foremost that our children trust Jesus Christ as their Savior and commit their lives to obey and serve Him. We desire to see fruit in their lives. We can only teach and explain so much; head knowledge must reach the heart and that is the work of the Holy Spirit. We must model Christ before them and pray the Lord does His sanctifying work.

What are my child’s interests and strengths?

What does he enjoy doing or reading or even talking about? How does she spend her leisure time?

Sometimes interests and strengths go hand in hand.

  • Does your child whip through math lessons? You may want to continue higher level math courses and consider a future in engineering or accounting.
  • Does your teen have an eye for design? Consider art classes or mentoring with a graphic artist or taking special classes.
  • Are you sometimes exasperated with your child because of his argumentation skills; perhaps speech and debate should be one of his electives.
  • If your teen has started a home business or is interested in doing so, consider mentoring with a businessman or taking an accounting course?
  • If your child has no definite interests – which is not uncommon for a 14 or 15 year old – include the basic courses to provide a good foundation for launching off in different directions. Let your teen to do volunteer work to explore different fields – it may spark an interest.

What are some areas of weakness?

Weaknesses are not always academic. Perhaps it’s a character trait or related to time management or communication skills, or study and problem solving skills.

Whatever the situation, determine if this is something that needs to be addressed and if so, put together a plan.

And the big question, what are my teen’s post high school goals?

Although many teens are not sure what their future plans are, maybe your teen has some interest in the …


It is a worthy endeavor to serve our country and protect the freedoms of our nation.

In 2012 and 2014, Congress amended the National Defense Authorization Act, which clarifies that homeschoolers may enlist in any branch of the military – Army, Navy, Air Force, National Guard, Marines, or Coast Guard – just like any graduate from a public or private school.

If your child plans to enlist, the homeschool graduate must

  • Show verification of compliance with state homeschool law in Hawaii, i.e. the Notice of Intent or the DOE Form 4140.
  • Have a high school diploma issued by the parent; DO NOT take the GED or get an online diploma.
  • Submit a high school transcript from the homeschool – curriculum should parallel the traditional high school curriculum.
  • Be homeschooled for the final 9 months of the academic year.
  • Please verify this information with the recruiter.

In planning the high school years:

  • Plan a strong academic program, reflected in the high school transcript.
  • Keep good records.
  • Participate in extracurricular activities, e.g. sports, speech and debate clubs, Civil Air Patrol, Naval Sea Cadets, Junior ROTC, etc. community service, volunteer work, leadership programs.
  • Maintain good health and physical fitness.
  • Develop and demonstrate good character – leadership, responsibility, respect for authority, discipline.


Perhaps your high schooler is interested in entering the workforce whether in the public marketplace or from the home. Take some time with your teen to explore different fields based on strengths and interests.

  • Consider career testing.
  • Google jobs that require a high school diploma but not a college degree.
  • Research what training, certification, or licensing is required. Although a four year college degree may not be required, certification or licensing requirements may still be needed to run a child care business, to become a doula or a massage therapist, restaurant cook, or insurance agent, etc. The list is endless.
  • Be sure to look into Hawaii’s state law regarding owning a small business.

For the high school years,

  • Consider a high school plan with the core academic subjects.
  • Keep good records.
  • Electives could focus around areas of interest and other life skills – computer skills, communication skills, resume writing, job interview, etc.


College is a common path for many high school students. But it does not have to be a traditional college path. College does not have to be in the form of a brick and mortar education; you may want to consider distance learning. Your high schooler can also begin at a two year community college (even while in high school) before transferring to a four year degree program.

When mapping out the high school years,

  • Plan a strong academic program.
  • Keep good records.
  • Participate in extracurricular activities, e.g. sports, speech and debate clubs, Civil Air Patrol, Naval Sea Cadets, Junior ROTC, etc. community service, volunteer work, leadership programs.
  • Develop and demonstrate good character – leadership, responsibility, respect for authority, discipline.
  • Consider AP or dual enrollment courses (taken at a local college or through distance learning).
  • Continue strong academic classes even during the senior year – don’t slack off.
  • Consider taking classes from an outside source – e.g. community college or online class – so your teen is evaluated by an instructor other than you, the parent.

Investigate colleges

  • If your teen has a particular college in mind, visit their website to learn the number and types of credits required for admission.
  • If you are not sure about which college, begin investigating requirements of different colleges to help determine the number and type of high school courses that should be included in your student’s program.
  • Be aware that some colleges are very academic and your high schooler may need a pretty rigorous high school program. Rigorous means advanced placement courses and college courses and more than the minimum number of credits.
  • If possible, attend a college fair or visit the college.

College entrance exams

  • Be sure to check what exams are required by the college.
  • Visit //www.collegeboard.org/ to learn more about the college entrance exams.

Gap year

Not every child is college bound immediately after high school. Your child may not be academically prepared. Or he may not be spiritually ready. The Lord may have ordained college for your child but it may not be right away.

A gap year can serve to mature a teen. Or use that time for apprenticeship or mentoring. Or even live on the Mainland to establish residency.

If you are interested in gap year options, consider Unbound. Learn how it works by visiting //beunbound.us/ascend/

Final thoughts

Keep in mind your child does not need to graduate high school in 4 years. Many families accelerate and graduate their children early. On the other hand, if your child needs more time, it is okay to take more than four years.

There is not just one way to homeschool through school. The best part is that you can individualize the plan according to your teen’s aptitudes and interests. And you can be flexible because plans change as goals change or become more focused.

Seek the Lord. Spend much time in prayer. As directed in Colossians 3:2, “Set your affections on things above and not on things below.” You will see God’s blessings and faithfulness continually unfold as you pursue His will for you and your teen.

Visit the CHOH website to view “Mapping Out the High School Years – Examples of High School Courses”.

You can also watch the High School and Beyond video recordings under Homeschool 101.


Contact CHOH if you have any questions. We are here to serve you.


High School – Next Step: Mapping Out the High School Years – Examples of High School Courses