Posted in Books, Classes, Educational Sites, Helpful Information, Practical Homeschool Tips, Programs

Homeschooling for High School: A Specialized Education

Homeschooling for High School: A “Specialized” Education 

Over the years my friend and fellow homeschooler, Audrey, from Philadelphia, PA has been a great “go-to” person for homeschooling ideas and information on resources and programs.  She’s had many years of teaching experience, having worked at a private special needs school in New Jersey for 8 years as a Special Education teacher, and now as a homeschool teacher to her own children for more than 13 years.  Recently she also won an award for being one of two National History Day Teachers of the Year (for the senior division).  In addition, she’s been a great evaluator for my older children.  Not long ago I interviewed her to hear some of her ideas for homeschooling for high school.  Here’s a few of her tips for giving your high school student(s) a fantastic education:

On Why to Homeschool for High school: “Homeschooling works. ‘If it ain’t broke; don’t fix it.’  Our family had been taking one year at a time, but realized homeschooling was working.  The next step was high school.”

On Benefits of Homeschooling for High school:  “Homeschooling has given me the opportunity to cater an education to each of my children’s needs and goals, particularly for high school. For instance, my oldest, Reginald, has been interested in meteorology since middle school. Over the years he has had opportunities in the following programs:

  • Kathy Orr’s Weather Contest (Reginald did a weather forecast for the 4 pm news show.)
  • Weather Camp at Penn State
  • Weather Camp at Howard University through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • Participant in a Community Weather Group Sponsored by Penn State
  • Monthly Meteorologist Class with Glenn “Hurricane” Schwartz
  • Participant in Homeschool, City, and County Science Fairs (Some of his projects focused on meteorology.)

“Reginald has also enjoyed playing the violin for many years.  Because we were homeschooling, Reginald had the opportunity to be part of the following orchestras: Montgomery County Community Orchestra, Old York Road Symphony Orchestra, and the Delaware Valley County Youth Orchestra.  He was able to incorporate his love for music in other areas of his life.  Reginald had a vision for a youth orchestra at our church.  It started in January 2010.  It continues today.  We incorporate evangelism and scripture memory into the rehearsal times.”

“Homeschooling gave him the opportunity to be part of the Dual enrollment program through the Community College of Philadelphia his junior and senior years of high school.  His unique education was due to his homeschool education.  Reginald is currently a freshman at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York majoring in Atmospheric Sciences.”

“I am currently homeschooling my second oldest, Lydia, for high school.  She has loved having a flexible and unique education.  Lydia’s interests are in fashion and art.  Over the years she has had opportunities to participate in the following programs:

  • Art Classes through Abington Center for the Arts
  • Art Classes through the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts
  • Textile and Design classes at the Fabric Workshop and Museum at 12th and Arch
  •  Young Artist’s Workshop at the Moore College of Art (Two summer sessions and one fall session)

“Lydia has been able to incorporate her love for the arts in other parts of her life as well.  She makes jewelry.  She has a blog.  She reads magazines about entrepreneurs.  We started a “Homeschool Entrepreneur” curriculum at one point.  Lydia has been responsible for the Arts and Crafts activities for our church’s “Take it to the Streets” Community Festival for the last two summers.  In 2010 she assisted the Vacation Bible School Craft Director for the 2 week program.  Again, her unique, artistic education was due to her homeschool education.  Lydia is currently a junior in high school.”

On Planning a Specialized Education: “Great Field Trips can be planned that cater to your child’s interests with a little advance planning and a few phone calls.  Volunteer work can be arranged at various places as well.  You’d be surprised what opportunities are available.  It also helped me to talk to others about homeschooling for high school before I got started.  They were a great help with ideas.  By looking a bit ahead at colleges that focus on your child’s interests, you can find out about high school requirements or programs that will help them pursue their goals.  Pray that God will help you find ways to specialize your child’s education.  As God called us to homeschool, we knew he would show us the way.  He did!”

On Teaching Subjects such as Languages, Higher Science and Higher Math: “We used programs that offered ‘help’ lines for my children.  A simple phone call would get them the help they needed.  We found Rosetta Stone to be a great language program.  We used Apologia for science and Videotext Algebra and Videotext Geometry for math.”

On Diploma Programs: “If you want to apply for a grant, being part of a diploma program is a requirement.  Some diploma programs also have well-organized group activities or events for their students.  Three diploma programs in the Philadelphia area are: PA Homeschoolers (, Buxmont Christian Educational Institute (, and Mason Dixon Homeschoolers (”

On Favorite Homeschool High school Books: “I’ve found these books to be a great help to me in homeschooling for high school.  They can be found in the Montgomery County Public Library System.  I recommend you begin reading them when your child is in the 7th or 8th grade.”

  • Homeschooling High School by Jeanne Dennis
  • The Well-Trained Mind by Susan Wise Bauer (This book can be found in the Philadelphia Library System.)
  • College-Prep Homeschooling by David Byers

On Helpful Websites: “These websites are helpful for homeschoolers of high school students:”

Audrey adds that Homeschooling high school has had its challenges; it has often been difficult to balance high school graduation requirements with so many specialized opportunities.  However, the results in Audrey’s family are enough to impress any college or future employer, and the blessings have been enormous.  Thanks Audrey for your excellent tips!  Audrey does evaluations for homeschoolers.  If you are interested in contacting her, her email is listed below.

Copyright April 17, 2012 by Gwen Fredette


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