Why You Should Throw Out the Four-Year Homeschool High School Plan

a teen backpacks across a mountain ridge

Throw out the four-year high school plan! Abandoning that popular notion is the first step to pondering the possibilities of homeschooling high school.

How to Swim Against the Current

For example, some teens are ready by eighth grade or earlier to tackle high school level courses. Allowing your teen to cover academic subjects they excel at (like science or math) or electives they have a passion for (like photography or web design) gives them ample time to master them.

Look at these 4 benefits of allowing a teen to cover high school level subjects earlier than high school.

  • Getting mastered courses out of the way gives him plenty of time in high school to focus on tackling harder subjects which he may struggle with.

  • If your child is academically inclined or gifted, he may want more than a four year study of a subject.

  • If your child changes his mind about the path he is pursuing, he can change instantly and still have high school credit. No stress high school is the goal.

  • The teen years are about exploring what interests a teen. Some adults still don’t know what career path they would like to pursue! Giving your teen plenty of time to explore different paths gives him time to investigate a variety of disciplines without the immediate responsibilities of adulthood.

Are You Missing this Piece to Your Plan?

Though I planned all four years of high school because I felt it was what responsible homeschool parents do, I learned that my teen's interests and strengths were a vital part of the educational plan. No longer little boys, but budding into young men, my sons had goals and dreams that should have informed my high school plan.

One of my sons wanted a longer period of time to master subjects that interested him and the other son wanted the shortest route possible to covering the basics.My plan had to be revised to fit each son’s goals.

Why You Should Throw Out the Four-Year Homeschool High  School Plan

I am not encouraging you to wait to high school to plan, but I am reassuring you that if you plan a framework instead of specific courses, the final result will be customized curriculum. A framework or skeleton of subjects is very different from planning a course.

For example, a framework of having 4 years of English (or language arts) in high school is a good plan. However, the actual courses you choose with your teen can be customized for your teen. Specific courses that fall under the banner of English include everything from English Composition and American Short Stories to Analysis of Classic Literature.

What I planned with my first son as a course that falls under an English credit was completely different than what my second son and I planned for as a credit for English.

Does Delayed Mean Behind?

Another important reason to throw out the four-year homeschool high school plan is that some students are just not ready for the academic load of high school. If they were in public school, it could signal tough times ahead. However, that does not have to be the case when homeschooling.

Homeschooling year-round in high school can allow a child to mature at the rate that is normal for him. Courses can be delayed or they can be divided in half. For example, a student can cover one-half of the course one year and receive one-half credit. The following year, he can cover the rest of the course and receive the other half of the credit.

Don’t make homeschooling high school harder than it has to be by planning every minute detail or sticking to only four years. The high school years can be shortened or lengthened to fit your teen’s plan. Besides, having a framework to build on is much more important because many things can change between now and the time your teen completes high school.

Spend time building a plan of essential subjects, but allow room in your framework for flexibility and freedom. What matters in the end is not the amount of time spent on your plan, but how unique a teen’s high school years are regardless of when high school begins or ends.

About the Author

Tina RobertsonTina Robertson celebrated the graduation of Mr. Senior in 2013 and Mr. Awesome in 2015. Because of her love for new homeschoolers, she mentors moms through her unique program called New Bee Homeschoolers. She loves all homeschoolers, though, as she shares her free 7 Step Curriculum Planner, unit studies, lapbooks and homeschooling how tos. She can't sing, dance, or craft, but she counts organizing as a hobby. She is still in the homeschool trenches blogging at Tina's Dynamic Homeschool Plus.