Wondering about Homeschooling
You’ve had 12 or 13 great years of knowing your child, teaching them by example, peering over their schoolbooks, praying for and with them, watching their friendships grow…
Can the number 12 or 13 really mean it’s time to hand them off?
Homeschooling highschool is a privilege. Yes, it’s work. Yes, you will wonder if you are preparing them for the next step.
BUT YES! You can do this! You don’t want to miss the benefits to homeschooling high school. Give us a call, and let us connect you to families that have been on this journey.
Why Homeschool the High School Years?
You’ve read through our Homeschool 101 guide. You’re ready to face the new school year. But wait – your student is entering high school! Should you continue homeschooling?
Here are 10 reasons to homeschool the high school years:
- Continue the family building process.
- Cement family relationships.
- Provide an excellent learning environment.
- Individualize education based on needs.
- Accelerate academic progress.
- Have direct influence over peer relationships.
- Protect from the pressure to conform.
- Maintain flexibility.
- Create a safe learning environment.
- Allow God to show Himself strong.
What are the goals for the high school years?
Can I homeschool high school?
What do I need to homeschool high school?
- You, your spouse your child are on the same page
- Committment – this is not just a trial for a day!
- A general idea of goals
- Access to resources – our vendors are there for you
- Prayer – as in every walk of life!
What are the benefits of homeschooling high school?
The 10 benefits listed to the left truly do outline the areas of greatest benefit – stronger family relationships, flexibility in learning through content, style, location & timing, access to alternative teachers & resources, the building of your child’s aspirations as they see the magnitude of options available – and during a time of maturing, being able to learn from their parents how to respond to God.
What about diplomas?
This question most often refers to the OSSD Ontario Secondary School Diploma. It is often requested by universities as a requirement for application. Many homeschool families simply homeschool the first 3 years of high school, then use an online source for the grade 12 year and the OSSD.
On the other hand, many universities now recognize applications by home-educated students.
UniversityAdmissions.ca is a great resource to find out which ones do!
Minimum Ontario course requirements:
30 credits total, along with 40 hours community service and a literacy test:
- 4 English
- 3 math
- 2 science
- 1 history
- 1 geography
- 1 arts
- 1 health
- 1 French
- ½ career
- ½ civics
- 15 other electives
What about trades?
The strongest challenge to trades is finding the business or entrepreneur who will take your student on as an apprentice. And this is true whether your child is in the public system or at home. That our society needs more trained trades is evident every day!
Homeschooling allows flexibility for fitting into your sponsor’s timetable.
Check out Skilled Trades in Ontario schools (ontario.ca) for further information.
Basics of Homeschooling the High School Years
STEPS for homeschooling high school to post-secondary (with thanks to Lisa Marie Fletcher for a great outline!):
1) Diploma or no diploma
This really depends on your child’s post-secondary goals and your family’s preferences.
- Register with an accredited supplier for accredited courses for OSSD (Ontario Secondary School Diploma). Suppliers include public secondary schools, private schools, virtual and online schools
- Create your own program & document well, issue your own transcript & diploma (sample transcript available)
- Grade 9 – 11: do your own thing followed by grade 12 using accredited courses
What are the pros and cons of these options?
- Pros for OSSD – easier for post-secondary acceptance & recognition
- Cons to OSSD – course requirements that might not meet your preference either for delivery or worldview
- Pros to do your own thing – choose method, timing & curriculum. Most universities recognize homeschooling, which may provide more flexibility for your family life & adventures
- Cons to do your own thing – more hoops to jump through later, but can be done
2) Make a Plan – be proactive
“Without goals, and plans to reach them, you are like a ship that has set sail with no destination.” — Fitzhugh Dodson
Minimum Ontario course requirements for homeschooling high school: 30 credits total, 40 hours community service, literacy test
- 4 English, 3 math, 2 science, 1 history, 1 geography, 1 arts, 1 health, 1 French, ½ career, ½ civics
- 15 other electivesPrerequisites
Start looking at potential post-secondary studies and the prerequisites listed for entrance – these will be the courses your student should be prepared to study in grade 12, then check for the grade 11 course prerequisites for those grade12 courses. Grade 9 and grade 10 courses will be more flexible.
Your Own Plan
- Keep in mind your student may ‘change the direction of the ship’ as you’re homeschooling highschool
- If appropriate, include courses that are often considered standard fare – math, science, English
- This is a great opportunity to work within the framework of your student’s interests, abilities and goals
3) Pick a Study Program
- Pick a curriculum & study method that works both for your student and for your family
Many of our vendors will be able to help you more specifically
Understand your student’s learning style Guide Your Curriculum With The 4+ Learning Styles
- Refer to the Table on Alternate Routes to Credits
- Many on-line, public/private/self study options – one or a combination will likely work for you.
4) Be disciplined
“A year from now you may wish you had started today.” ― Karen Lamb
“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” – Jim Rohn
It really is satisfying to reach your goal in homeschooling highschool. It’s quite easy to accomplish step by step.
- Remove unnecessary distractions
- Make a realistic schedule that leaves room for exploration of other interests
- Look at each day as a gift to be used for His glory, not to be wasted
5) Add Extras
- All add to transcript + life + maturity
- Recognize the need for social interaction
6) Keep Records
- Use planner, digital tool, etc.
What about University and College?
7 Ways to get into university without an OSSD – Sarah Rainsberger (www.universityadmissions.ca)
- As a mature student – over 18
- With the presentation of standardized test scores – SAT, ACT
- With a year of university courses received from an open university – i.e. Athabasca University.
- As a transfer applicant from a junior college – provinces other than Ontario, possibly use as a stepping stone for Ontario
- With a portfolio – standardized tests, samples, external recommendations, evaluated work external to parents
- With the “Top Six” (unique to Ontario) – grade 12 credits only based on program prerequisites through accredited school
- May not get OSSD but still receive credits on OSR (Ontario Student Record)
- With a little smooth talking!
What are the minimum OSSD credit requirements?
Minimum Ontario course requirements: 30 credits total, 40 hours community service, literacy test.
- 4 English, 3 math, 2 science, 1 history, 1 geography, 1 arts, 1 health, 1 French, ½ career, ½ civics
- 15 other electives
What options are available for high school?
Some of the options available include:
1. Customize your course of study
– include basic courses
– include interest courses
– include a variety of learning options
2. Select a complete curriculum from a curriculum provider and study at home
3. Outsource the supervision of your course
– accredited on-line programs
– non-accredited on-line programs
4. Enlist in your local high school for some courses
5. Combination of any of the above
What about dual credits?
Attaining OSSD + Post-Secondary certificate/diploma/degree/apprenticeship through Ministry of Education
Eligibility is determined by school board, principal or guidance department
Dual credits reduce risk of not graduating, while also helping your student explore career pathways.
This also helps with the transition to college or an apprenticeship program.
Search for dual credit programs at local college as you look into dual credits!
Planning for High School – Online Schooling Options:
Virtual providers have been pushing for prior credits with their service. OCHEC will be checking how this system operates now. What you learn, please share with us.
Quick summary : VLC appears more supportive than ILC, & less expensive, costs in this chart were input 2 years ago, and are susceptible to updating!
|Public Virtual school||AMDEC (Avon-Maitland)||Enrolled with local hs|
|Open School||Asynchronous, continuous
Gr 11 & 12 only
|VLC (Trillium Lakes)||As above, web + async|
|Private Virtual schools||Blyth Academy||$500+/course
Customized hs, start anytime
|Bright Minds||$500/course ,OSSD
Global, Ministry guidelines
|Christian Virtual School||$440-$$550/course OSSD
|Canada eSchool||$500-$600/course OSSD|
|Lighthouse Academy||$450-$750 OSSD
|Ontario Virtual School||$450-$500/course
4 wk- 12 mo /course
Marks sent to OUAC
|Uchenna Academy||$430-$580/course OSSD
Equivalency OR proof can do the work
|Virtual HighSchool Ontario||$480-$500/course
Asynch, up to 18mos
IEP, all on-line
|Ontario eSchool||$125/course OSSD
12 mos to complete
No enrol required
|EQUIVALENCY||GED||Testing program administered by ILC||Certificate ≠ OSSD
18 yrs old, not attended regular hs for 1 yr
Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition)
|Guelph 519-836-7280 (x627)
Dufferin t 519-941-2661 N.Wellington 519-323-4840
|Enrolled in school or ILC
Challenge vs equivalency
Support for the High School Years
Top 10 Questions about Homeschooling High School:
How can I be homeschooling high school when I don’t know/remember the material myself?
- You don’t have to be an expert in all the subject, or even in any of them
- It’s okay to not always have all the answers
- Resources are in abundance, and often include a teacher’s manual
- You will be able to “trade” your expertise with other mothers in your area/group
- Primary goal is to teach your student how to be resourceful and how to develop into independent learners. This is best started before the high school years but can be developed now too!
How do I know which material to cover or where to begin as I’m homeschooling high school
- Consider first, with your child, your child’s interests and goals: These may be take a different path than yours. Make a long list of immediate goals, and then a short list of long-term goals
- Determine the prerequisites for the long-term goals: i.e. should there be a concentration in the maths & science, or should you lean towards literature and music? Whichever is selected, know that it is wise to include studies from each type of field along the way
- Curriculum guidelines can be found through curriculum providers, generic scope and sequence tables, and high school course calendars
- Joining local homeschooling group, if possible, should be a priority. This provides social interaction for your young adult, support for you, access to information, and suggestions and material from other parents. There are also Facebook groups dedicated to high school.
How will my child get to university without an OSSD?
- Universities have developed policies to address homeschooled applicants
- See section on 7 Ways to get into University without an OSSD.
Is this legal?
- YES! PPM 131 covers high school too.
Alternate ways to earn high school credits
- At home with textbooks/courses you provide
- Use of virtual schools, whether public/private/Christian
- Practical hands-on life experience and training
What are PLAR, AP & CLEP?
- PLAR = Prior Learning Assessment & Recognition: enroll in accredited program (local school, ILC), which gives you access to OSSD
- AP = Advanced Placement (USA): apstudents.collegeboard.org. Includes courses & exams that give high school & college credits. Your student can write the exam without taking the course. Look for internet applications, courses and exam writing.
- CLEP = College Level Exam Prep (USA): colleges may accept credit for a few exams, or for all of them (34 available). The CLEP tests involve multiple choice, numeric, essay, and listening types of questions. Look for internet applications, courses and exam writing online!
What about Apprenticeship?
- Curriculum assessed by college instructor/professor
- If enrolled in local high school, this marks goes on student’s transcript
- Minister of Training and Colleges &Universities records the completion
- Often parent/student needs to find a willing apprenticeship placement
- Need to work with the local school re time, required coursework
- Need to work within WSIB etc guidelines
Royal Military College – still requires OSSD, even if you have a BA!Read more here.
Is there a Facebook group?
Here are a few Facebook groups where you can interact with parents homeschooling the high school years:
- Canadian Homeschool? High School? Help!
- Christian Canadian Homeschoolers – High School
- Homeschool Swap & Chat Canada – High School Edition
- It’s Not that Hard to Homeschool High School (US-based)
- Homeschooling High School and Teens (US-based)
- Christians Homeschooling Middle and High School (US-Based)
This answer is as varied as one’s own parameters. Many have experienced an affordable yet rich education for less than public school and certainly less than private school. The focus shifts largely from expenses of mandatory dress code or clothes expectations, packed or bought lunches, and transportation to quality books, reusable/resalable curriculum and life experiences.