Homeschool High School - YOUR Way

Summary: How to do high school your own way, even when applying to college. About pubic school graduation requirements and more.  Note - This post may included affiliate links to products that we love and have used or would use in our  own homeschool. Please see my disclosure policy.

As many of you know, we are a homeschooling family.  We began that early on, during preschool, and it worked well for our  daughter that we continued on for many years.  

Then we hit middle school.

When she was a 7th grader, we began to think A LOT about her future and the college options for her.  Our gifted, 2e daughter was thriving in our homeschool. 

She was exploring her interests in marine biology and also trying out her skills in teaching, as a volunteer TA. We loved that we could choose our own curriculum and adapt it as need be. Homeschooling was working well, and we saw our daughter continuing in it through high school. 

But there in lies the rub.  What about college?  

What about applying with a homeschool transcript?  Would our daughter have the same chances of getting into the college that she wanted, as a homeschooler?

As a homeschooling family, we had already heard of college experiences from our homeschooling friends.  The talk in our group was that it would be hard to get into the tier one U in our town, and probably still difficult for the other colleges in our state.  

Many of our friends went the community college route, and later applied to the 4 year college as a transfer students.  They told us that was the easier route, and that was a possibility for our daughter, too.

But we didn't want our daughter to be limited to that.  We wanted her to have the option of going to a 4 year college from the start. So she and I got busy studying the college entrance requirements for her top choice U, and some other contenders, too.

College Entrance Requirements

It was easy to find this information, just by checking the college websites.  

The good news was that all we had to do was to do those college entrance requirements and any extra homeschool requirements, if there were any.  (Be sure to check for those on each college you apply to.)

We added in high school electives and activities, which was the beauty of homeschooling.  And the colleges want to see some high school activities, too.  (See more on that below)

Public School Graduation Requirements

Homeschoolers in almost all states do NOT have to follow the public school graduation requirements.  Your state's homeschool association will know if yours in one of the few states that do require that.

Knowing that gave us a lot more leeway.  Instead of having to do economics during senior year, as the public school kids had to do, we had a lot of choices. 

You see, our college entrance requirements gave us lots of choices for social studies.  So my teen could chose from those, including sociology, psychology, more history in an area she was interested in, etc. 

We made sure the college requirements got done, but we didn't have to changed our homeschool style and we found time for teen-led learning, too.

Curriculum - Prepared or Homemade

For core studies, we used a lot of Oak Meadow and 7 Sisters Homeschool curricula, which were more creative and project-learning based, and my daughter really loved it.  

We also made our own homemade courses , too and designed her learning based on her college entrance requirements. 

Meanwhile, I contacted a number of admissions departments, and did research on  course descriptions, college reference letters, assigning high school credit, transcripts, scholarships etc, in an effort to best present my daughter to the colleges.  

College Reference Letters

We were concerned about the college reference letters, as they asked for one from a teacher and one from a school counselor.  But we were able to find a way that worked for us.  Coaches, group leaders, youth ministers, etc can be great resources for those college reference letters.   

The Common Application asks the homeschool parent to write a recommendation letter on their student, to the colleges.  I wrote up a guide on this, which is available here.  Just a few additional bits of paperwork required for homeschoolers now.

Colleges Becoming More Homeschool Friendly

And in the spring of my daughter's senior year, we got good news. My teen was accepted by her top college choice U and the other colleges that she applied to as well, with scholarship offers. And here's a second piece of good news. 

My teen's top choice college now has all but dropped their extra requirements for homeschoolers, the year after she was accepted. And that seems to be the trend, in our state of WA, and around the U.S. as well.  

I am so glad that we stayed with the homeschooling option, as it allowed our 2e daughter time to explore her interests much more than she would have done if she were in public school. 

High School Activities

Even though she was busy with her core studies, she also had time for irish stepdancing, some science camps, mock trial, and a leadership program, called Youth and Government.   And the last two groups helped her to discover what she might want to do as a career.  

Are you familiar with these two programs?  Mock Trial was offered at a local high school, where teens enacted real court cases, under the supervision of volunteer lawyers. 

 Youth and Government is a leadership program that focuses on state government and politics. The teens write their own mock bills, debate and discuss them, then compete regionally.  Finally, they gather once a year, in their state capital for the Mock Youth Legislature.  

There, they take on the rolls of legislators, senators, and elect a governor, while voting on the mock bills that are presented there. These activities later helped my daughter to decide on her college major of Communications, with global leadership and political science. 

100 more ideas for high school activities and electives is now a chapter in my new book below. 

Most colleges want to see what high school electives and activities that your teen has done.

The colleges are looking for leadership and perseverance in their applicants, and those things can easily be shown through our teen's high school activities.

If your teen wants to go directly into a 4 year college from homeschool, you may like my book called Homeschooling High School with College in Mind - 2nd edition.  

Do you want a guide to high school and college, plus my exclusive guide to the Common Application for homeschoolers? 

I have gathered together all my best tips for high school and college and put it into my new book, Homeschooling High School with College in Mind, 2nd Edition

It gives you everything that you need to plan your high school homeschool for your college bound teen.  Plus how to help them get into the college of their choice.

Amazon for only $11.99
Paperback is on Amazon for only $11.99
This book is an easy-to-read guide to college for homeschoolers, recently updated with 7 NEW chapters, including:

- My own homeschoolers guide to the Common Application
- How to write the Counselor Recommendation Letter
- Where to find college scholarships
- SAT/ACT Prep
- How to make your own homemade courses
 Included are also 12 homeschool high school planning printables to make your record-keeping easier.

10 easy to do steps to homeschool high school with college in mind. And it really is NOT that hard!!  

This book does not tell you how to homeschool high school.  Instead it gives you guidance for doing it your way!  

Keep your nurturing homeschool style and showcase their accomplishments to the colleges!

Recommended by: 
Lessa Scherrer, Certified College Counselor
                               from College Inside Track

"Betsy has a wealth of understanding and knowledge to share with the parents of college bound homeschoolers.  She provides support, encouragement and step-by-step advice on all aspects of the homeschool high school and college application process. This book is a must-read for parents considering homeschooling high school and for parents in the thick of the application process."

And help for record keeping!  With my exclusive high school and college planning printables.

The high school and college planning forms include:

College Entrance Requirements Form
Overall High School Plan
Curriculum Planning Sheet
High School Credit Record Form
Transcript Form
Activities and Awards Form
Homemade Course Form
Writing the College Essay Form
Course Descriptions Record Keeping Form
Reference Letter Request Form
PE Record Form

For more information, click here - Frugal College Prep for Homeschoolers or to buy it here - my book on Amazon for only $11.99.  

And don't worry about forgetting things!

Thanks for stopping by BJ's Homeschool,

Betsy is mom to her now college grad, whom she homeschooled through high school.  She blogs at BJ's Homeschool, about the early yearshighschool
collegegifted/2e and wrote -Homeschooling High School with College in Mind, 2nd Edition,   She offers homeschool help through messages at BJ's Consulting and has had some of her articles picked up by the Huffington Post.

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  1. I enjoyed reading and learning from this post. Thank you for sharing. I like what you say here especially: "I am so glad that we stayed with the homeschooling option, as it allowed our daughter time to explore her interests and be much more interest-led that she would have been in a public school. Even though she was busy with her core studies, she also had time for irish stepdancing, some science camps, mock trial, and a leadership program, called Youth and Government. And the last two groups helped her to discover what she might want to do as a career."

    1. Thanks for stopping by BJ's Homeschool and our monthly blog hop from GHF, The Cardinal House! It is fun to connect with other families here. Have a great week with yours.

  2. You do such a great job of sharing the benefit of your experience. I always enjoy reading about your path. The options here in the UK are slightly different, but just like in the US there are many and varied paths. Just as well we are a creative bunch!

    1. Thanks for stopping by, and I loved getting your comment, Lucinda Leo! I am interested to learn more about homeschooling in the UK, and now it is similar to the US and how it is different. Nice to chat with you across the pond!

  3. Though my kiddo has a ways to go before high school, I save all of your posts as I look towards the future! You must be so proud.

    1. That is so nice to hear, from you at I haven't seen your site yet, and will have to plan to stop by! Yes, I am proud of my daughter, and it has been and still it a wondrous journey, watching her grow and learn and now take on college. So glad that we homeschooled all the way. Thanks for stopping by BJ's Homeschool.

  4. This is an inspiring story - thank you for sharing. Seeing this radically different approach to study actually work out is spirit-stirring, hopefully by sharing this story you are encouraging more people to consider homeschooling!

    1. Thank you, for your kind comments! It is so fun to watch my homeschool grad take on college, and see how her teen activities during homeschooling helped to shape her choice of majors. My "kiddo" is studying politics and leadership, and has an interest now in a political career, or something in nonprofits. Thanks for stopping by!


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