5 Traits You Need to be Successful as a Homeschooler in High School

how to be sucessful as a homeschooler

Thinking about homeschooling? As a homeschooler, you’ll have to do a little bit of extra work to make sure things like high school graduation and college applications go smoothly. You’ll also be more responsible for designing your education and making sure you finish your schoolwork on time.

These are just a couple of reasons why it’s important to understand characteristics that make successful homeschoolers. Diving right into homeschooling will only cause you a lot of catching up to do if you don’t do your research first. Here’s a list of things you’ll need in order to get the most out of being a homeschooled student.

self motivation successful homeschooler

Self-motivation. First, a homeschooled student requires a ton of motivation to function efficiently. There are too many potential distractions: texting, lurking on Reddit, camping noobs in World of Warcraft, etc.

To succeed as a homeschooler, you need to WANT to succeed as a homeschooler. Self-motivation is key. Homeschoolers usually have a similar amount of homework as a public school student. If you are taking classes online, you won’t have a physical teacher involved to give you constant reminders about upcoming due dates. Even if your parents are going to be heavily involved, you’re the one responsible for making sure that you finish your work and meet deadlines.

A passion for learning. Homeschooling is a unique and wonderful thing that allows education to be customized to meet each student’s needs and interests. In order for that to happen, interests have to exist in the first place. As a homeschooler, you’ll have the freedom to take classes that aren’t offered at your local public school. You can participate in co-ops, online classes, or dual-credit courses at a nearby college.

Take advantage of this freedom by pursuing your passions! If you aren’t interested in your schoolwork you’re going to have a hard time. You will end up procrastinating and get behind schedule, risking deferred graduation or other terrible and unfortunate things. Stay in school if you don’t think you’ll have the motivation to finish your work. 

Patience. Next, not everyone is going to understand why you’ve chosen homeschooling and many will question your judgment. You have to possess a significant amount of patience to deal with these people. There will be quite a few of them. Some will question you especially aggressively. Try to learn from these encounters as well as to politely educate the aggressive party. Usually, these people aren’t well-informed about homeschooling. They will repeat various untruths about homeschoolers and their social or academic failures.

Arm yourself with a few facts about how well-adjusted and academically accomplished homeschoolers typically are. Sometimes, no matter how sound your argument is, the other party will refuse to consider it. It’s easy to understand why people find it difficult to change their views about something as important as education. Try to be patient and understanding. 

Organization. You’ll need to understand your state’s homeschool laws as well as its graduation requirements. If you’re planning on applying to colleges or universities, you’ll need to act as your own college counselor of sorts (unless you plan to hire one or your parents know a lot about applying to colleges). It’s not as difficult or complicated as it might seem, but the laws and requirements can vary greatly by area. In Texas, you don’t have to keep any records and there aren’t many rules you’ll have to follow. Other states require a certain amount of hours to be logged or conduct annual evaluations. To better understand your local homeschooling laws, check out your state’s department of education website.

For this reason, organization is crucial as a homeschooler. You’re going to be in charge of these sorts of things. And you can do it. There’s tons of free help available in the online homeschooling community, you just have to seek out the information.

Perseverance. You’ll need to constantly work to maintain your social relationships. If you went to public school, you’d probably be around hundreds of kids within a few years of your age every day.

Homeschooling is different – you won’t usually be surrounded by peers for upwards of eight hours a day. Homeschoolers have to actively seek social interaction. You can do that through an athletic team, a homeschool group, an interest-based club, or a job, just to name a few options. Either way, you’ll need to put in some initial work in order to create a social circle as a homeschooler.

To conclude, homeschooling isn’t for everyone! If after reading this you’re having second thoughts, you might consider getting a second opinion. Talk to someone you know who has experience with homeschooling. If you’ve read through this list and you feel like homeschooling would be a good fit, do some more research and then pitch homeschooling to your parents if you haven’t already. Good luck!

6 Homeschooling Myths that are Super Common but Untrue

myths about homeschoolers

There are so many misconceptions about homeschoolers out there.

I often hear these homeschooling myths while I’m out and about or on the internet and they frustrate me to no end! If you’re involved in homeschooling, you know what I’m talking about. I was homeschooled throughout high school and I homeschool my kids now. If you’re considering homeschooling your children, there are several things you may have heard that are just not true.

1.) Homeschooling moms or dads need/should need certification to teach their children 

One of the most common homeschooling myths is that homeschoolers learn everything from their parents. (See the last myth, below) Much of the time, homeschooling parents are facilitating the learning and supporting their child’s educational needs rather than literally teaching them everything. More often than not, they’re providing a positive learning environment, resources for their child, and redirection when their kid gets off track. 

Parents know their children the best and are the best. There are plenty of excellent, reputable, and accredited homeschool curricula out there that any homeschool parent can use with their child. There are also a ton of great resources parents can use to build their own custom curriculum. There’s no reason the parent needs to have teacher certification to guide their child through primary and secondary education.

Each state has guidelines for what is required to graduate from high school and many states require homeschoolers to meet certain educational standards on an annual or quarterly basis. AS long as these standards are being met or exceeded – where is the need for certification?

2.) Homeschoolers have no social lives.

Since homeschoolers usually aren’t locked in a building with several dozens to several hundreds of kids close to their age, socialization sometimes requires a little bit of effort up front. Most homeschoolers are involved in a sport, theater or art group, or academic co-op.

It’s easy to find a local homeschooling community that either hosts or can point you in the direction of all kinds of clubs, classes, and groups. A homeschooler without a strict public school schedule also has more job opportunities during high school – another effective way to meet and interact with people.

It’s entirely possible for anyone at all to become a hermit. But during my homeschool years, I consistently worked full or part-time, took classes at my community college, volunteered, and took courses both online and in various locations nearby. I also took ballet and participated in a robotics/programming workshop for most of the year. Safe to say that I was out of the house at least as often as I was inside. If not more so! To this day, I communicate with many of the friends I met at work or in class during my (homeschooled) high school years.

common myths about homeschooling

3.) Homeschoolers are all religious freaks or wear weird clothes

Just not true. Some people choose to homeschool for religious reasons (certainly don’t make them a freak). Some people wear weird clothes. There are so many different reasons to homeschool, and religious preference or beliefs is only one of many. Some homeschoolers wear weird clothes, but plenty of other people do that too. There will be weird-clothes-wearing people in any minority or group.

4.) Homeschoolers are sheltered from the “real world”

This is one of the weirder homeschooling myths out there. It just doesn’t make any sense. “Real world”? The one where you’re locked in a room for an hour with approximately 20-30 other people within a few months of your age? 

Here’s the thing: the real world looks and functions nothing like a public high school.

Assuming that you and your family leave the house on a regular basis, being homeschooled gives you more opportunities to interact with a much more diverse group of people on a daily basis than you’d be able to at your average American public school.

You wouldn’t be limited to talking to people within a few years of your age. Your more flexible schedule could land you a part-time job or internship that would be impossible with a normal public school schedule. I worked 30+ hours a week throughout my high school years and interacted with countless people every day. Just like I do now – in the “real world”.

5.) Homeschoolers don’t go to college

They do. In fact, a slightly larger percentage of homeschoolers than public-schoolers go to and graduate college. Homeschoolers make better college GPAs and score higher on their SAT and ACT tests.

There are some universities that require homeschooled students to jump through several more hoops and submit more documents than they require from public school students. Your college-bound homeschool student should read up on the application requirements for homeschoolers for each school they intend to apply to, well before they plan to apply.

The reason I believe some colleges ask for additional documents from homeschoolers is that in some states, there are far fewer regulations for what a homeschooler has to be doing on a quarterly or annual basis. Some states enforce stricter regulations. Some have almost none, leaving open possibilities for homeschoolers to graduate having not done a whole heck of a lot. Similarly, some colleges are more homeschool-friendly than others and don’t require any/many more additional documents. And some may require more test scores and more acutely detailed information about the student’s high school curriculum.

That being said, statistically, you’ve got just a good a chance of getting into the college of your choice as a public school student would. And you’ve got an even better chance of graduating from that college.

6.) Our moms or dads teach us everything we know

My mom taught me a lot of super-useful things when I was little – how to read, how to sleep without peeing on myself at night, and how to make really great cookies. But she doesn’t teach any of my classes. My classes were all either online or taken at the community college nearest me, or at a co-op class. This homeschooling myth caused the most misconceptions for me, growing up. My public schooled friends assumed I sat in front of my parents all day while they read to me or drew on a  whiteboard.

After elementary school, it’s more uncommon for parents to take on the sole teaching role in their homeschool unless that is what best suits the child’s learning needs.

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common homeschooling myths