Homeschooling High School – Staying the Course

Planning for high school at home and actually carrying it through may seem a daunting task.

But it is possible to do a great job and see your child’s K-12 education through to the finish line.  Over the years resources for homeschool parents to provide their child’s high school education has increased by leaps and bounds!  But how do you find out about all your options?

This page is an attempt to explain different pathways and point you to resources.

Printable version: NHN.Homeschooling High School.2017

Also refer to the NHN Homeschool MEMO to Parents, Public-Private School Administrators, State Officials 08.17.2018 for applicable homeschool laws regarding “participation” in classes, activities, and sports during the high school years.

Information on college entrance exams included at end of this page.

If you’re deciding to homeschool for the first time when your child enters 9th grade or later HSLDA has provided this helpful resource, Homescooling for the First Time in High School.

There are a variety of ways to approach the high school years building on your child’s K-8 education:

1. Continue homeschooling choosing your child’s course of study for each grade.  Build your own high school transcript as you go.

  • Begin observing your child in elementary school for his/her “bents” to try and in figure out what he/she might want to “do in life.”  Will that “career” need vocational training or college (AA degree, 4 year degree, Masters, etc., etc.)?
  • While the child is in 7th and 8th grade begin researching vocational schools, apprenticeships, and/or college and university degree programs.  Looking through required core curriculum for college freshman will help you determine the high school level and college prerequisite courses he/she may need to take in high school to ensure they have taken the high school courses they need to pursue their dreams.
  • Utilizing course descriptions and report cards for 7th and 8th grade will ensure that all the basics of K-8 have been covered, that any prep courses needed for high school is completed and can even allow the student to move ahead into 9th grade level work while still in 8th grade.  Mary Schofield discusses these grade levels in her book listed below and there are others on the market as well.
  • When your child reaches high school you can use parent taught courses (purchasing textbooks, pre-packaged curriculum, or an eclectically designed curriculum), online classes, or community based classes to meet your child’s high school education. The beauty of homeschooling is that you can focus your child’s high school plan towards their future rather than only offering them a “general” high school experience.
  • Using this approach if your child chooses to attend a 4 year college/university directly after completing your homeschool program he/she will need to take a college entrance exam.  Your child will also need to take either the SAT or ACT to qualify for the NV Millennium Scholarship.  More information available at the end of this page.

Or,

2. Continue homeschooling using a blend of home taught courses and college courses for “dual-credit” towards high school graduation and a future college degree.

  • Following same bullet points in #1, the homeschool child can begin taking community college courses for “dual-credit” as early as age 14 (younger for “gifted and talented” children).
  • Parents/students should contact the college in their area for more info (see list below).
  • Most NV homeschool families find it easy to work with the community colleges in their area.  State colleges and universities are a bit more stringent but for an academically talented student, it is possible.
  • In this option the parent pays all tuition and fees associated with earning college credits. Be prepared to submit the “Receipt of NOI to Homeschool” you got from the school district and for the student to take Accuplacer tests for English or Math.
  • The parent builds the High School Transcript utilizing a combination of parent taught courses, online courses, and/or dual-credit college courses.
  • Also, we caution homeschool parents not to have their child take college level courses if they are not mature enough (be honest in your assessment) or academically prepared for college level courses… a “bad” experience can have negative consequences for all.
  • Depending on the number credits earned at the community college, the student may be eligible to be a “transfer student” directly to a 4 year college/university.  Check with a college adviser for more information.  However, to apply for the NV Millennium Scholarship (for use AFTER completing your homeschool program, not for dual-credits during high school) a homeschool student must take either the SAT or ACT.  Details at end of this page.

Or,

3. Following bullet points in #1 above, parent continues homeschooling and uses a “Jump Start” program offered at a community college.

  • Western Nevada College (WNC) Jump Start has a uniquely designed program for homeschooled students, 9th through 12th grades and as of 2017 has 60 homeschool students participating and excelling in the program! This is an interesting option for homeschool students living near WNC… and may be worth the drive for others in the Reno/Sparks area.
    • The student remains a homeschool student and can earn an Associate’s Degree or college credits towards a 2 or 4 year degree depending on when the student enters the program.
    • Homeschool parent and NHN Officer (Provisional) Maureen Ford is the current Jump Start Specialist and Homeschool Liaison at WNC. She also gives many workshops about the program, Contact Us or Maureen for more info.
  • Other Nevada Colleges offer a “Jump Start” program (11th and/or 12th grades) geared more to public school students than homeschool students. Contact the college for more info:
  • Parents pay all tuition and fees associated with the college program.
  • If finances are an issue, Nevada State High School is a public charter school participating in Jump Start and other dual-credit college programs, homeschoolers may join in 11th or 12th grade, and the school will pay for the cost of up to two full years of dual-credit courses.
    • Contact Maureen for more information on the WNC/NSHS Homeschool Jump Start Program.
    • Contact Nevada State High School directly regarding the TMCC and CSN Jump Start programs as well as other dual-credit programs for high school age students across the state.
    • Remember, there may be “freedom issues” when choosing this route but it may help families in need of financial assistance in finishing up their child’s high school program and get a head start on college!
  • Resources:

Or,

4. Other colleges offer a variety of programs designed specifically for public high school students.

  • Some of these programs are welcoming to privately funded homeschool students, some are not. See the school websites listed below for more information.
  • But remember that high school age homeschooled students don’t have to participate in one of these “special programs” and can instead apply direct to the community college as a homeschooled student – See #2, First Bullet.

Or,

5. Enroll your child in a Nevada Private School or a Nevada Public School at the beginning of 9th grade.

  • This option – our least recommended – used to be pretty easy regarding the public school system (and still is in some school districts).
  • But due to recent changes in “promotion from middle school to high school and graduation from high school requirements” in state law, some school districts are making the hoops you need to jump through more difficult than need be.
    • For instance, Clark County School Districts accepts the parent’s middle school transcript created by the homeschool parent and enrolls the child into 9th grade… easy-peasy!
    • But other school districts are saying “accredited” courses only will be accepted for enrollment into 9th grade even though the State Legislature gives the school district many ways to review a child’s middle school and high school transcripts.
  • To help you navigate this option NHN recently updated our FAQs as well as this FLOW CHART, answering the question “May a child enroll in a private or public school after homeschooling?”  The simple answer is “Yes.” For the full explanation of steps you’ll need to take, CLICK HERE and scroll down to Question 6.A

NOTE on College Entrance Exams:

Though not required to complete a homeschool program, a homeschooler may take college entrance exams offered in this state such as the Scholastic Aptitude Test – SAT, the American College Test – ACT, the Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test – PSAT and the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test – NMSQT.

The school district is required by law to post all college entrance exam dates and locations on their website for all children in the district, including those available to homeschooled children.

  • Contact your district for information on signups and test dates for the High School Proficiency Exam (only students graduating 2016 or earlier)
  • The school district must list college entrance exam (ACT, SAT, PSAT/NMSQT test dates on their website. You can find your school district’s website on the NV Dept. of Ed website:  http://www.doe.nv.gov/.
  • Homeschool parents pay for and register their student for the exam online.
  •  Because of the increased number of homeschooled students applying to colleges and universities, the College Board developed universal codes for homeschoolers who take college admissions exams.Using the specific homeschool code provides two advantages:
    1. The scores of the homeschooled student are sent directly to the student’s home address rather than to the public school, resulting in more privacy.
    2. By using the homeschool code, the test results will NOT be calculated with the average scores of the local high school.

    The following codes are the same for homeschoolers in all states:

    SAT Homeschool Code: 970000
    ACT Homeschool Code: 969-999

    PSAT code varies by state. See instructions for all states here.

    1. According to the PSAT link: To sign up for the PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10 just get in touch with a local school.  It does not have to be a high school your child is zoned for.
    2. Per HSLDA use 992999 (Nevada) for the “homeschool” code when signing up for the test. Note: While using the “Homeschool Code” helps the NMSP administratively, it does not mean that if you use the public school code your results will be lost. NMSP follows up with all students who make the grade and will discover your true status as a homeschooler.
    3. Ask for the Official Student Guide, which includes a free practice test.
    4. Score reports will be sent to your home address.

A homeschool student seeking the Nevada Millennium Scholarship must take and achieve minimum scores on the SAT or ACT, see Question I in this section and complete the homeschool program. Homeschool students graduating in 2016 or earlier must also take and pass the Nevada High School Proficiency Exam to qualify for the MS.  See Application for Homeschool Students on the MS website.

All homeschooled students, especially those who are academically gifted, who are entering their junior year of high school, should consider taking the PSAT/NMSQT (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) at the local high school. National Merit Scholars are highly sought by the most prestigious universities. The local district is required to make information available on their district website to homeschoolers in a timely manner regarding signups for the PSAT/NMSQT .

And lastly, many homeschool students/parents have expressed concern over personal questions asked during the registration process for college entrance exams.  The US Department of Education issued a Guidance Document on student privacy protection, read more here.

Helpful Links:

HSLDA:  Homeschooling Thru High School (may require membership for viewing)

Six Ways to Help Prepare Your Homeschooler for College

Promotion and Graduation Items for Purchase from HSLDA

HSLDA: Benefits of Membership – legal protection of your homeschool including after your student as graduated and a college or employer calls into question your child’s high school transcripts/diploma.