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Homeschooling a High Schooler? How to Get the Most from a Planner

So, you plan to home school a high school student. Many parents have home schooled successfully through the lower grades but start to get nervous as high school approaches. While there are additional considerations, you can continue to home school successfully throughout high school. Unlike previous generations, we have a multitude of resources at our disposal. In this article, I will confine my comments to the elements and use of a good planner. Parents and students that home school will find general and home school planners in abundant supply. Your first task is to find the right planner for your family. Consider these elements:

  • Instructions on the use of the planner especially regarding high school including graduation requirements.

  • Brief plan for 4 years of high school.

  • Place for goals, objectives – long term (whole year); short-term (semester / quarter); weekly and daily.

  • Record of hours spent on specific courses (Generally 1 credit = 180 days x 50-minute sessions = 150 clock hours.)

  • Forms to plan individual subjects / classes – i.e. required assignments, materials, grading criteria.

  • Place to record what has been accomplished.

  • Format that is easy to follow.

  • Physical or digital – your preference.

Now that you have researched the possibilities and you have the chosen planner, you need to use it. For some, using a planner is difficult and for others it easily becomes your constant companion. Whether you are working with an organization which will validate the work done or if you will produce your own home school transcript, keeping records is essential. At the beginning, you and your child will need to work together on completing the necessary record of the work accomplished. Gradually, you will turn over the responsibility to your child and you will be more of a coach who looks it over from time to time.

  • At first, plan with your child and meet at least daily around the planner.

  • Gradually, your child will take the responsibility and you will be the coach, meeting less and less frequently.

  • If at any time during this gradual transition, your child fails to follow through, do not be afraid to step back a little and stay on that step for longer before trying to take the next step. The amount of supervision and the length of time it takes for independence to be established vary from individual to individual.

  • For those who have trouble, begin with a small portion of the planner and gradually add more tasks.

  • Using pencil rather than ink allows for plans to change – which is so common in life.

  • Making general plans, talking about more specifics and recording the information should occur before the beginning of a class (often in the fall, but could be anytime you begin a new course of study).

  • As time goes on fill in with more specific information.

  • Have the planner handy during study time so that changes can be made, or actual work can be documented.

As Benjamin Franklin once said, “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail.”

Family Academy has produced the following resources:

Homeschooling the High Schooler (a complete how to guide)

High School Your Way (a planner for high school students)

Teaching My Own (a planner for elementary students)

Academy Northwest – an accredited school that champions “parent-directed education.” Academy Northwest – Private Christian School Extension Program (

Family Academy offers – Able to Teach to parents who home school or want to home school as well as classes or online help.


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