Balancing Academics and Fun in Homeschool High School

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This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Balancing Academics and Fun in Homeschool High School.

Balancing Academics and Fun in Homeschool High School

As a parent of a high schooler, there are lots of questions that come to mind. And we are going to answer many of those questions that have been raised, particularly by homeschool high school parents and particularly those looking toward the finish line near graduation and after graduation. Here are our best answers to the questions about balancing academics and fun in homeschool high school!

How do you balance the academic rigors of a good solid high school experience with the wonderfulness of homeschooling?

Many moms want to know how to get all the things that need to be on the transcript done. They want to get:

And that is understandable because there are so many things to get on a transcript!

So, homeschool high school moms are wondering how to get that done.

On the other hand, you want our teens to still enjoy the fun that is supposed to go along with it with homeschooling. You might be wondering about balancing academics and fun in homeschool high school with everything else that is going on.

We have all been through this with our kids. There is a world of things to explore and there are so many cool things to do out there. However, there are these serious academics teens have to accomplish. After all they eventually must either be employed, go to college, or be in the military. And each of these destinations want a transcript.

So, here are some tips on a healthy balancing act

First, you need to know that you’ve got this…and you will not have a perfect homeschool. No one gets to perfection but homeschooling high school can be the best years yet!

Have Goals

Know what you want your kids to experience and accomplish by the time they walk across that stage or the backyard and flip the tassel. Think about what kind of experiences (educationally and otherwise) you want them to have. 

If you keep that in mind, you can weed out some of the things that would be “kind of” good but not necessary for those goals. For example, one goal could be to concentrate on enough math to get them into college but not waste any extra time on unnecessary math course. For instance, if your teens are aiming for History or Humanities majors, they probably do not need to take Calculus in high school.

Check out 7Sisters’ authoritative guide to planning homeschool high school for more help with goals.

Only Choose Core Courses That Meet Their Needs

It could be a fun experience doing all the co-op classes and anything else that is a transcript enrichment focus. However, be sure you are actually choosing the core courses that advance their goals. This prevents wasting valuable time on doing academics that do not advance those goals. 

This way, your teens end up with more time to do the fun stuff. It can be challenging to figure out how to fit it all in, but the idea is that we should not try to fit in the things that are only mildly interesting. For instance, try to only add the interests that can also be interesting beyond high school. Trying to do it all is a recipe for some kind of overwhelming stress at the very least.

Trying to do it all is a recipe for some kind of overwhelming stress at the very least.

Debunk Myths

Are you worried that your teens will not be accepted into college if all their high school courses are not honors level? Good news: It is not true that a transcript with all honors credits is going to beat out another transcript of a student who has leaned into the subject areas for their major. 

This is artificial competition. So, do not allow artificial competition to rule their worlds. Homeschooling high school is more than an awesome transcript. So show their interest development, extracurriculars and volunteerism for a powerful and well-rounded transcript with Honors courses where appropriate. (More on how to choose course levels in this post.)

One caveat, teens who are looking at highly competitive colleges must aim for a more competitive high school experience. Here are two Homeschool Highschool Podcast interviews with teens who aimed for those intense colleges:

There Is More Than One Way To Learn Things

As you re well aware of by now, there is not just ONE way to earn credits!

Specifically, homeschooling does not mean forcing yourself to do the textbook framework or that textbook model for everything. For example:

  • If there is an online asynchronous or live course that would really benefit your teen go with that.
  • Or if there is a fun hands-on co-op course about a topic you teen needs, go with that! 
    • For instance: If your teen wants to study nursing in college, and they’re leaning into anatomy and physiology, go for it!

The beauty of homeschooling high school is the opportunity varied and interesting learning experiences. Do not buy into some goofy limitations that say high school should be primarily through textbooks. If you have not believed that up until high school, you certainly do not need to start convincing yourself of it in high school.  There are so many wonderful ways to learn.

However, textbooks are highly useful. Therefore, when if you are using a textbook, feel free to and take advantage of enrichment opportunities. Adapt textbooks to your needs…or use texts from publishers that are creating adaptable homeschool high school curriculum, like 7SistersHomeschool!

What do you mean by adaptable? What do you mean by levels?

First of all, if you do not understand what we are talking about with levels of credits on a transcript, check out this post that explains choosing course levels.

What we mean when we say that we have created our curriculum at 7 Sisters to be “adaptable” is that we not only allow you to but we encourage you to make our curriculum fit your needs in your homeschool. For example, if you have a teen starting a subject at college prep level, but then discover as the year goes on that it is actually a really difficult subject, it is okay to roll it back to average level.

7Sisters curriculum includes instructions for adjusting levels to meet various teens’ needs. You can easily level up if you find that your teen is breezing through it or easy back if necessary.

I feel there is only one chance to get it right

Academics in high school can feel overwhelming. It can be too easy sometimes to feel like you only have one chance to get it right and you cannot leave any holes. However, if that little voice in your head says that, smack that little voice right upside the head because there are always holes in education! 

That is why we are lifelong learners. There is always something more to learn and teens will have a lifetime to do so. So, take some time for fun.

How do I find other homeschool families and connect with other people?

We know – not all co-ops are created equal. Some are not a positive experience, unfortunately. There are a few ways to find other homeschool families to have good experiences with.

  • Your local homeschool organization, state organization or a regional local organization.
  • Show up in a meeting and get involved.
  • You might have homeschoolers at your church, so just ask around at your church. 
  • Public libraries. Homeschoolers flock to public libraries. Ask around at your library or ask your favorite librarian about homeschool groups
  • Talk to one of your adult siblings into homeschooling their kids too so that you could co-op together. 
  • Go to homeschool fairs and events in your area to sign up to and participate in. 
  • Search social media using specific hashtags to find like-minded people and more information about online classes and groups, book clubs, science lab groups, and more in a virtual setting. (For instance, check out the classes our Cousins offer at Collegiate Learning and Spanish Online Curriculum.
  • Go on field trips and get to know the other families there too.

How do we help our kids find a real job after high school?

First, let’s start by defining “real job” because the world is radically different than it was back when you were graduating high school. 

In the past, high school graduates simply needed a job was where they made enough money to have a roommate and get a simple apartment. But it is not the same world. Economically, the world is very different. Housing and transportation costs have changed. Plus there are new, necessary expenses like cell phones and internet.

So, talk with your teens about what a real job means and help them set realistic expectations. Tell them a real job is one:

  • that has room for you to grow
  • and that requires skill as well as continually acquiring new skills
  • as well as opportunities for advancement and/or increased wages
  • that your teen can be proud of and interested in

God did not design only some jobs that matter. 

There are tons of jobs available that your teens probably do not know anything about. Be sure to encourage them to explore careers that are interesting to them and to learn more about them. 

Balancing Academics and Fun in Homeschool High School

When it comes to high school, there are a lot of different things that you need to take into account  when balancing homeschool and fun. You want to make sure that your teen is getting a good education but also having some fun. This can be a tricky balance to strike but it is important. There are plenty of ways that you can have both academics and fun in homeschool high school. It just takes some planning and effort. 

Join us for a discussion on balance!


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