Homeschooling High School- Preparing your child for their future callings and careers

One of our focuses is having teens choose a major from a young age. We do this so they can focus on building the skills needed for their future careers and callings. Fun-Schooled teens who choose a major can graduate High School having already started their own business- or with an impressive portfolio to jump right into the work world. Last month, we talked about homeschooling college-bound teens. Today we will focus on homeschooling High School when your teen plans to enter the workforce after graduation.

Top Tips for Homeschooling High School

We said this last month, and it’s worth repeating today. Ensure you know the legal High School requirements for where you live. The HSLDA is an irreplaceable resource for understanding your local laws. Also, check out our comprehensive guide on assigning credits to journals.

If your student is not already actively selecting their school materials, now is the time to start. Let them select some, or all, of their journals and the resources they’ll use alongside them. It works well to offer 5-10 choices for your students to select from if they get overwhelmed by too many options. You can do this with journals and book selections.

Get help from your community as needed. This track focuses on the skills kids need to step into their future careers and calling. You may not know exactly what they need to know and that’s ok! Give your child a chance to interview a few people in their desired field to get answers. Shadowing and internships can provide valuable information and build skills.

It’s okay to repeat a journal completed at a younger age. Because students combine journals with academically appropriate materials, they will get a different experience. High Schoolers can go more in-depth than they did when they were younger. Plus, we know there will never be 100% retention on any subject of study. Repeating a journal will allow your student to get closer to mastery and pick up things they missed last time.

FAQs for Homeschooling High School

What if my student has no idea what they want to study?

Parents often tell us asking the question, “What is your future career or calling,” elicits a lot of “I don’t know” answers. It’s a huge question and can feel heavy for a lot of teens. We suggest asking “What do you want to do?” and “What do you want to know?” This can apply to things they want to do and know right now at this stage in life if needed. As they hone their skills, they’ll think through what they’d like to do later in life. Here are a few more tips for using these magic questions to jumpstart learning.

How do you select materials that are High School level appropriate?

Many Fun-Schooling families like to pursue Charlotte Mason-based book lists to select materials. Ambleside Online, Wildwood, Simply Charlotte Mason, and Sabbath Mood Science are popular options. From 7th grade up, these programs use High School and College level materials. Simply Charlotte Mason also has a great book finder that allows you to narrow down books by grade and search for a specific subject or keyword. You can also search “living books + (subject)” to find more.

Other families head to the library and ask librarians for help. If you do not live near a library, most libraries have a free option to chat with a librarian online and get suggestions- or you can call. They’ll be able to help you choose age-appropriate materials and provide lots of great suggestions.

You may also get support from your local public high school. Some public schools are more supportive than others of homeschoolers. We’ve heard of teachers being willing to sit down with homeschool families and offer suggestions for materials.

As mentioned above, interviewing someone in the student’s desired field is a wealth of information. They likely have books and resources they’ll lend your student- or can provide plenty of titles and websites.

What about learning gaps?

Don’t fear “gaps.” All students come into life with gaps; learning everything we are taught is impossible! Once they’re in the workforce, they are so well equipped to know how to learn that they’ll be perfectly capable of filling in any gaps. Students can take courses at a community college if there’s something specific they have to know for their future career or calling that they can’t teach themselves. Check out this post for a few other thoughts on gaps.

How does Fun-Schooling help a student prepare for their future career or calling?

We have written several blogs about this which I will reference below. The short answer is that Fun-Schooling lets students dive deep into their field of study. It teaches them how to learn and gain skills. Students are set up for success for a lifetime no matter what career path or calling they choose- or how many times they change their path throughout their lives. The skills they will develop at home will help them find success no matter what they hope to do one day.

How and Why to Choose a Major at a Young Age
Choosing a Major & Why 13 Is the Magic Number
Transitioning Toward Adult Life
Raising Employees?

What are the top journals for High School students to use?

Find out the most popular journals High Schoolers preparing for their careers and callings in this post

More tips for high school homeschoolers

About the Author- Amanda Osenga is a Fun-Schooling mom in Columbus, Ohio. She is also the social media manager and Virtual Assistant for Thinking Tree. Her family combines Thinking Tree books with the Charlotte Mason method using books from Ambleside Online and Wildwood Curriculum. In her free time, Amanda is an avid reader and loves to be outdoors.

Top Journals for High School Students

Fun-Schooling journals provide students with the skills they’ll need to be successful in their future careers and callings. Students get to dive deep into their desired field of study and enter the workforce after graduation with 4+ years of mastery behind them.

High Schoolers can use any of our journals. These featured journals we’ve created specifically to help teens dive into their careers and callings. Just because a journal isn’t featured here, doesn’t mean they can’t use it! And teens can repeat journals they completed at a younger age alongside different age-appropriate materials. We often have students who continue using Fun-Schooling journals as young adults to continue learning.

The Artist Fun-Schooling Journal Art majors of all abilities will be challenged by various art prompts and encouraged to explore their creative interests. Students will approach learning as a whole and cover math, reading, language arts, and more while studying art.

The Animal Lover’s Fun-Schooling Journal Designed for students majoring in animals. Great for students who are going into zoology, veterinary medicine, or another animal-based field.

The Athlete’s Fun-Schooling Journal Document learning in multiple school subjects while also exploring different sports. Covers traditional sports such as basketball and baseball and unique sports like breakdancing and kayaking.  Students will even learn about chess as a sport!

Camera Quest offers students the chance to do a deep dive into the world of photography. Students will learn techniques and get lots of practice.

Design a Dress Students majoring in fashion will get to design dozens of different dresses. Also popular for teens who are exploring modesty and their own sense of style.

The Baker’s Fun-Schooling Journal & The Chef’s Fun-Schooling Journal For students majoring in culinary arts, cooking, and homemaking. Also helpful for students to learn how to cook before they live on their own.

Guide to Birthwork A research guide for aspiring mothers, midwives, doulas, lactation consultants, childbirth educators, nurse-midwives, and OB-GYNs.

Life Skills Provides 36 essential skills to know before launching into adulthood. Includes fun hands-on activities and lots of practice opportunities.

High School Homeschooling Handbook allows students to cover all the major subjects in one journal. Students can select materials that fit in with their passions and future goals while completing this journal.

The Singer and the Songwriter journal and creativity journal Step-by-step exercises to inspire and improve your songwriting skills. As well as easy-to-follow steps through exercises and workouts designed to enhance your vocal skills.

The Songwriter’s Fun-Schooling Journal For songwriting and theater majors of all abilities.  While studying songwriting, students will approach learning as a whole and cover art, math, spelling, language arts, and more.

How to Make Money An interactive guide to uncovering passions, igniting ambition, and providing the practical tools needed to set and accomplish financial goals. Great for students to discover what they’d like to do in the future.

The Writer’s Fun-Schooling Journal Students majoring in writing or who will need writing for their future careers will love this journal. Includes writing prompts, character development, storyboards, oral practice, lyrics, tips, and more.

PEEK INSIDE these journals here

What other journals is your High School student using? Share in the comments to help other families!

Make sure to check out part 1-

More About Fun-Schooling High School

About the Author- Amanda Osenga is a Fun-Schooling mom in Columbus Ohio. She is also the social media manager and Virtual Assistant for Thinking Tree. Her family combines Thinking Tree books with the Charlotte Mason method using books from Ambleside Online and Wildwood Curriculum. In her free time, Amanda is an avid reader and loves to be outdoors.

Top Journals for College-Bound Homeschoolers

Are overwhelmed about how to prepare a homeschooler for college? Do you wonder if your homeschooler can get into college? Concerned about ensuring your college-bound homeschoolers will be successful in their courses? Today we’d like to offer a few suggestions to help bring peace of mind and set your homeschooler up for success in their next stage of life.

College-bound homeschoolers can use any of our journals. However, a few have found a particular niche/ families say they’ve been especially helpful in preparing their students for college. We even have students who continue using Fun-Schooling journals in college for notes, research, and journaling!

High School Homeschooling Handbook/ Just for Teen Guys High School Handbook contains almost 500 pages for your student to document learning in all the required subjects. Some students have even used this to show their prospective University during interviews.

All About Money– Economics & Business. This is especially important for college-bound homeschoolers pursuing a business or finance degree. Moms tell us it is usually enough to fulfill a High School economics credit. Use it alongside Whatever Happened to Penny Candy by Richard Maybury. Many families also like to use the Life of Fred Financial Choices book.

10/12 Subject Portfolio is an attractive and easy way to document learning in multiple subjects all in one place. Students have used this for college admissions meetings to show their work and edreading ucation. It’s also one of the most popular options for college students to be able to keep track of all their notes in one notebook.

How to Write Research Papers and Essays is an essential guide written by a college professor. It is a must for college-bound homeschoolers that they’ll reference again and again.

American History Timeline is a comprehensive journey through American history. This is one of our most in-depth journals. Students can use documentaries, podcasts, and books to meet the required hours for their high school credit. Many families like to pull books from Charlotte Mason-based booklists like Beautiful Feet Books and Ambleside Online to bring history to life.

Learn Any Foreign Language allows students to learn any language naturally and flexibly. Many Universities require a Foreign Language for admission. This is a journal students may want to bring with them to college as they continue their language learning.

Make Your Own Book of… we have about a dozen “make your own” journals. These are blank inside and the perfect place for students to take notes, make a portfolio, and document their learning. Students also like to bring these to college to take notes.

Master Class allows students to create their own portfolios as they work their way through online or in-person classes. We’ve had many Fun-Schoolers present these to college admissions counselors to display their work.

Picturing the Past is a Charlotte-Mason-based picture study journal of 75 historical paintings. Students use this as a guide for not only understanding art but also to gain a better foundation of history. It is especially great for college-bound homeschoolers looking to study history or the arts.

Pondering the Past exposes students to 30 works of Classical Literature. Some students use it as is for a general overview of the books. Others get more high school credits by reading some, or all, of the books. It’s also a popular journal to combine with Picturing the Past and the American History Timeline to build a more comprehensive picture of each historical era.

90-Day Homeschooling Planner allows your student to manage their school tasks, chores, appointments, and goals in one place. Help them build a habit of using this in High School, and they can continue using it in college.

Brain Games build skills in creative thinking, problem-solving, logic, reasoning, math, reading, spelling, and more. Plus, they’re a great way to relax and give your brain a break! College students also enjoy them as a nice reprieve after a busy day of classes.

Top 30 Grammar Mistakes dives into the most common Grammar mistakes and gives students plenty of practice using proper grammar rules. Even if your child completed this in a younger grade, repeating it to pick up rules that didn’t “stick” is a great idea. Many families like to combine the Life of Fred Grammar books to fulfill one (or more) credits- and they can often test out of intro-level college grammar with these books + this journal.

Spelling Time: Top 150 Misspelled Words helps students learn the most often misspelled words in a fun and engaging way. This is another journal worth repeating more than once to ensure each word is properly learned.

Viking Vocabulary is our most advanced Language Arts journal. We specifically wrote it as a college-prep journal. Students will learn tools invaluable to them in their college education. They’ll also build a stronger vocabulary and have fun learning about Vikings. Use alongside the Viking section in American History Timeline to do a deep-dive into all things Vikings!

Pocket Core Journals- These are 60-Day core journals that cover all the basic subjects in a smaller size. Students love these for on-the-go learning. Two cover options, boats and birds. They are also popular with students who have learning or physical disabilities or other learning challenges as they have much less writing space on each page.

What other journals are you having your college-bound homeschoolers use? Share in the comments to help other families!

Make sure to check out part 1- Is Fun-Schooling Enough for Students to Go from Homeschool to College?

More About Fun-Schooling High School

About the Author- Amanda Osenga is a Fun-Schooling mom in Columbus Ohio. She is also the social media manager and Virtual Assistant for Thinking Tree. Her family combines Thinking Tree books with the Charlotte Mason method using books from Ambleside Online and Wildwood Curriculum. In her free time, Amanda is an avid reader and loves to be outdoors.

Is Fun-Schooling Enough for Students to Go From Homeschool to College?

“I love this approach, my children are delighted to learn. I’ve never seen them light up like this before with schoolwork. But is it enough for them to get into college?” I’ve answered dozens, if not hundreds, of messages like this from mothers over the years. We’ve seen many Fun-Schoolers successfully go from Homeschool to College. While our students can’t walk into their high school guidance counselor’s office, today we’ll offer a few tips and resources for your college-bound student.

To Dos for College Bound Homeschoolers

First and foremost, make sure you know your state/country’s legal High School requirements. Your child’s ability to graduate with a valid diploma depends on ensuring the proper laws are followed. We have found the HSLDA to be an irreplaceable resource for understanding your local laws. This is good research to do in between 8th and 9th grade before your student starts high school.

Next, check with the school(s) your student plans to apply to. You can’t start too early. Freshman or Sophomore year is a good time to start looking. Ask specifically for resources for homeschooled students. As home education has grown in the last few years, many Universities provide guides for what they’re looking for from kids who didn’t attend traditional school. Also ask about standardized tests, prerequisites, and credit requirements for admissions.

Ensure you know how to write a strong transcript and assign credits. Last year we wrote a comprehensive guide to doing this as a Fun-Schooler. Don’t forget about volunteer work, jobs, clubs, athletics, etc. when considering what to include on this transcript!

How does Fun-Schooling prepare a student to go from homeschool to college?

One of the biggest advantages we’re giving our children through Fun-Schooling is teaching them how to learn vs teaching them how to study. Schools teach kids to study for a test and memorize rote information. We ignite a love of learning in our children which helps store the information for the long-haul. Fun-Schooling parents with kids in college have told us how impressed professors are with students’ abilities to learn and hold onto information vs spitting it out for a test and then forgetting it.

Fun-Schooled students often work above their “grade level,” and in many cases can test out of courses once they get into college as well. By giving them a chance to deep dive into their passions and providing them with a broad feast for learning, they’ll often come into college able to knock out several courses before they even begin.

Don’t fear “gaps.” All students come into college with gaps, it’s impossible to learn everything we are taught! Students can take courses at a community college if there’s something specific they have to have in order for admission. Once they’re in school, they are so well equipped to know how to learn that they’ll be perfectly capable of filling in any gaps. Check out this post for a few other thoughts on gaps.

Tips from Fun-Schooling Moms

Here are a few tips from Moms who have Fun-Schooled and then seen their kids go from homeschool to college-

  • Jennifer- “Better to be over on transcript than have no idea what you’re doing!”
  • Samantha- ” If one college is asking for you to jump through outrageous hoops because you’re home educated then try another. Some schools require FAFSA even if you don’t qualify for financial based aid in order to issue and awards and merit. Make sure any dual enrollment you do will actually transfer, not all do. Look out for free application days through common app or the schools.”
  • Laura- “Start in 7th grade with your child investigating careers, what degrees are required for various degrees, do they need an AA/AS or a BA/BS, or will they need to go onto grad school, etc. Have them start with state schools and examine entrance requirements and degrees offered — if they are interested in social work but looking at a school that doesn’t offer that program, then they know to cross that off their list. Have them look at what courses are required in majors of interest — if Calculus 3 is going to be required and the student detests math, then there is a need to reevaluate plans or learn to enjoy math 😉. Once the students have researched, work with them to set up their high school plans, coordinate courses the college requires for admission, state homeschool requirements, and any additional passions they wish to pursue. Explore dual enrollment options in your area – some states provide free or reduced rates for high school students taking dual enrollment at local community colleges. Explore study skills – while some kids intuitively know how to study, take notes, etc., others need step-by-step instructions in things like Cornell Notes and the SQ3R method for reading a text. The majority of post-secondary schools are only concerned with transcripts listing course titles and grades/GPA and test scores. Still, others, particularly private or smaller schools, might ask for course descriptions, lists of books read, etc., so it’s always a good idea throughout high school to have your student keep a running doc of books read. While some schools are test optional now for admission, some states or colleges still use test scores to qualify for merit money. I always recommend taking the SAT and ACT once and then re-taking the one they scored highest on. There are plenty of free or low-cost options to study for the SAT/ACT, so there is no need to pay hundreds of dollars for test prep classes. Using the Thinking Tree Journals is great prep because it helps the student take ownership of their learning and teaches them to read, watch, listen, explore, and then record their viewpoints. I will put a plug in for exploring Purdue Owl, how to cite appropriately in both MLA and APA papers, and the importance of using recognized sources – not just google searches and Wikipedia 😉. Help your student learn to find resources for topics they don’t understand in their math or science, such as Quizlet, crash course videos, or other YouTube videos. If your student is not accustomed to using a TI83/84 calculator, then have them use YouTube videos to learn the basics. Make sure by the end of Junior year that your student knows the application dates, particularly at more selective colleges. Some colleges use application dates for things like housing priority, etc. If you have a student with a documented disability, you’ll want to apply for accommodations to the ACT and College Board (SAT) by the end of the 10th for testing in 11th. Your student should also reach out to potential college Accessibility Offices to determine documentation requirements to apply for college accommodations and to inquire about typical accommodations offered to students with disabilities similar to them. If your student has a disability, it is also wise to begin learning to use certain devices or resources such as Learning Ally and Bookshare, Livescribe pens, notability, screen reading software, speech-to-text, Grammarly, etc. In addition, it is a good idea for them to role-play requesting accommodations and how to approach professors once approved by the accessibility office if the student is not already accustomed to requesting accommodations and discussing their needs and how their disability impacts them.”
  • Rosanna- “Just because a college says something on their website doesn’t mean it’s what they do AND sometimes they have things NOT on the website they want- we applied to one school that said we needed to submit a full list of all materials studied /books used, and test scores for Homeschooled students- our girl was accepted and although she opted to NOT go there this year, they never asked for any of that info. Also, private schools can also be as cost effective as public universities because they give tons of scholarships. Take advantage of school visit days if you are close, because they often give scholarships for that- my son had a $1000 knocked off his tuition for going to the full day event. Another $1000 for having a friend who was an alumni write a letter of recommendation. If your kids are ready, dual enrollment is a great way to cut cost- if they know what they want to do and where they are headed ask for a list of comparison classes needed to transfer- our school has partnerships with 20+ schools in our state my son was able to print a list from his desired school of what classes he needed to take at his school to start his transfer with the proper credits. I wish I would have pushed a little harder for at least 1 class per quarter for my older two- in dual enrollment- it is free in our county/state except for lab fees and books- my last one will be taking advantage of it next year. I would say 1/2 of the students at the CC my daughter is starting at for her AA-Transfer degree are in Running Start (Our dual enrollment). ALWAYS fill out the FASFA- even if you have money saved – as said above it is used for more than grants. If your child has a diagnosed specific learning disability, know that many schools require a diagnostic test done in the last 3-5 years to access services … You also want to empower your student to advocate and talk to the staff as much as you can- they are the student, they are owning their new life and unless they sign paperwork to include you, you can’t even see their financial information, talk to anyone about anything at the school, etc. “
  • Elizabeth- “In my experience (have graduated 2 from homeschool) anything that was “missed” in homeschooling education can quickly be learned or they can take a class at community college to fill that gap…they will figure it out as long as they have a passion for learning and that is what funschooling does—it ignites their passion for learning and they have to take ownership of the learning”
  • Tammy- “Call the schools and talk to them about what they require and concerns you have! They want to help. My dyslexic daughter wrote a beautiful essay as one of her entrance essays about living with dyslexia. I think, we as parents worry too much sometimes about our kids when they will be perfectly fine. I know I had a melt down a few months ago, and you guys were amazingly encouraging! Unschool on my fellows moms and dads! keep going!”

Find out what journals college-bound homeschoolers most love to use in this post

More tips for college-bound homeschoolers

About the Author- Amanda Osenga is a Fun-Schooling mom in Columbus Ohio. She is also the social media manager and Virtual Assistant for Thinking Tree. Her family combines Thinking Tree books with the Charlotte Mason method using books from Ambleside Online and Wildwood Curriculum. In her free time, Amanda is an avid reader and loves to be outdoors.

Fun-Schooling For Every Grade

Today I’m excited to announce our “Fun-Schooling For Every Grade” blog series. This is something y’all have asked for time and time again. We are delighted to be bringing this series to you this school year.  

This will include what to expect regarding academic ability and developmental level every year. We’ll also look at common challenges in each phase and share tips. For each grade, we’ll discuss how to build a curriculum including what to expect for workload and schedule. Tips from other Fun-Schooling moms will help give you the POV of several people. The most popular journals for each grade and tips for using them will round out each post. 

A big focus for us at Thinking Tree is letting kids be kids. You’ll see a lot of room for play, nature, and wonder in these plans. We want kids to have plenty of time to explore the things they love and soak up their childhood. 

Remember– This blog series will be based on the average level for the grade/age. The bell curve is extremely important to remember throughout this series. Some children will fall outside of this average. We’ve chosen to homeschool for a reason- so we can customize our children’s education to their unique academic level and needs.

Students can go up or down several grade levels from these suggestions as needed. Virtually all our materials can be used by kids from reading age to teens (and adults!) For non-readers and early readers, we have level A-1 materials. Each student’s education is customized by choosing academically appropriate materials. 

How do I know what grade my homeschooler is in?

The general guideline is- age in the fall minus 5 = grade. For example, my son is 12 this fall. 12-5=7
If he were in the school system, he’d be in 7th grade. 

Sounds great, what’s the plan?

By far the top age we’re asked about it High School so we’re starting at High School and working our way down from there. Here’s the schedule for this series-

October ‘23- High School- College/ Advanced Academics Path
November ‘23- High School– Career/ Calling Path for those who will not need college
December ‘23-  Middle School– emphasizing choosing a major (and why it’s ok if they change it!)
January ‘24- 6th grade 
February ‘24- 5th grade
March ‘24- 4th grade– with an emphasis on the fact it’s often a step-up academically and in terms of independence 
April ‘24- 3rd grade
May ‘24- 2nd grade– with a focus on fostering more independence 
June ‘24- 1st grade
July ‘24-  Kindergarten
August ‘24-  Preschool

Eager to learn about a specific grade now?
Check out the grade-by-grade video series we did in 2022 in our Facebook group-

Concerned about gaps in your child’s education? Check out this post.

About the Author- Amanda Osenga is a Fun-Schooling mom in Columbus Ohio. She is also the social media manager and Virtual Assistant for Thinking Tree. Her family combines Thinking Tree books with the Charlotte Mason method using books from Ambleside Online and Wildwood Curriculum. In her free time, Amanda is an avid reader and loves to be outdoors.