What I Learned Planning High School For the First Time


Last summer, I joined the ranks of other homeschool moms who made it to the high school years. While planning high school for the first time created anxiety and fear for me, through the process, I learned that it is not as scary as it may seem!

What I Learned Planning High School for the First Time

I have a few tips to help you plan high school successfully and with less stress.

5 High School Planning Tips For Beginners

1-Embrace the Learning Curve

Learning how to homeschool high school is a bit of a learning curve. Once I started to think about planning high school, I quickly became overwhelmed. It seemed that for every question I answered, I encountered two more ideas I hadn’t considered. 

For example, a language arts curriculum described the completion of their course as worth one credit in literature and one credit for history. Wait!? Is a literature credit the same as an English credit? What needs to be covered for a high school English class? What do I need to include on a transcript besides English? How do I even make a transcript?

I soon discovered there are different requirements for each state. There are also different considerations to make, depending on whether my student will continue to college or not.

The reality is it will take some time for you to research this information. Whether you read books, scour blogs, or watch YouTube videos, once you find excellent resources, your confidence will increase exponentially.

2-Take Advantage of Available Resources

We have a plethora of resources at our disposal. I don’t know how the pioneering homeschool moms from the 1980s did it! There are so many high school planning resources available now. 

As a homeschool mom blogger, I (of course) suggest that you find some great bloggers who share high school how-to. Read their blog articles, watch their videos, and use their planning resources. Joining a homeschool group online is also an excellent way to ask specific questions and get quick responses.

Besides online resources, talk with other moms that have homeschooled high school. Ask them what they learned during the process and what hints or tips they can share. You may discover ideas and options you were unaware of before. It can get your creative wheels turning.

3-Start Planning Earlier Than You Think 

As with most things, it’s best to start planning high school long before you approach freshman year. I like to learn as much as I can from multiple resources. There are so many approaches to high school available that you should allow yourself time to consider all the options. 

When trying to balance all the other things in life AND learn something new, you will feel less stress when you allow adequate time for your research. You might even consider blocking time in your schedule to start looking into high school planning.

It’s easy to delay, especially when it seems like you have plenty of time before your student hits freshman year. Let me tell you: it approaches more quickly than you think

4-Make a High School Binder

Organizing all your high school resources in one place will save you stress later. I keep a simple three-ring binder to hold all things high school related. 

It includes planning sheets and important notes I jot down during my research. I also keep ongoing lists of curriculum ideas for various subjects, creative learning ideas, book lists, and various resource pages I print or create. 

Similarly, I created a high school binder for my 9th grader. It was a new venture for him, as he had not previously needed to keep track of anything. His binder contains a weekly planner, time trackers, book lists, course descriptions, and other related paperwork. 

5- It’s Okay to Make Changes

Like a science experiment, you cannot control the outcome of all your planning. Will the curriculum you pick be the perfect fit? Maybe. Will your student thrive because you gave them an amazing planner? Perhaps. 

Isn’t this true of all the homeschool planning we do? 

I wanted to have everything figured out before we started. I envisioned all the forms and procedures in place. I wanted a solid schedule. These are good and helpful, of course. 

However, it’s okay not to have everything mapped out from the beginning. If anything, it’s helpful to have just a basic skeleton in place. You can add the muscles and skin as you go along, figuring out what will work and what makes sense. 

We often allow room for flexibility and adjustment with our younger students. We can do this with our high schoolers as well!

Give yourself the permission and privilege to make changes based on what is working and what is not. After all, this is the beauty of a homeschool education. Use this advantage to the fullest!

There is much to look forward to when planning high school for the first time. Your child is embarking on a new season of life. Take the time to discover what you need to know and journey forth confidently! Many others have taken this path before you, and you can, too.

Jamilyn Gay

About the author

Jamilyn is a mom of five and has been homeschooling for over 11 years. She's a fan of reading, running, gardening and chocolate. She's also passionate about helping moms homeschool, while caring for themselves: mind, body and soul.

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