For Homeschooled Teens
So you’re being homeschooled—so were we! We want your homeschool experience to be the best experience it can possibly be. On this page you will find answers to these questions:
- How can I know if I’m on track with my studies?
- What educational resources are available online?
- How can I make sure I’m ready for graduation and college?
- What if I’m not happy at home?
Our organization exists to advocate for homeschooled children like you! If you don’t find the information you need on this page, feel free to contact us. We’d love to hear from you.
How can I know if I’m on track with my studies?
Homeschooled kids often want to know how their performance compares to that of their peers. Am I behind? Are there any subjects I’m missing? There are ways to answer this question! A growing number of websites offer information on what students are expected to learn in each grade, and some of these websites also offer free placement tests.
Scholastic provides grade-by-grade guides that offer a good starting point (3rd grade, 4th grade, 5th grade, 6th grade, 7th grade, 8th grade). Calvert offers free placement tests for students through eighth grade. These tests are designed to be printed and filled out by hand rather than taken online; they come with answer keys and placement guidelines that summarize the knowledge a student should have for entering each grade.
High school requirements
High school requirements vary by state. In each, students are expected to complete specific courses such as biology, algebra, and U.S. history. Homeschooled students should meet these same requirements. You can learn about what courses your state requires students to complete for high school graduation on your state educational agency webpage. As a starting point, you can find high school course descriptions on this website.
What educational resources are available online?
If you have access to the internet, there’s a lot you can do to educate yourself on your own time—in ways that are fun and engaging! Whether you’re looking for new ways to cover a subject or supplemental instruction, it’s out there.
Some students do well teaching themselves out of textbooks; others do better with online courses or interactive activities. You can figure out what works for you!
Khan Academy—Free online courses, lessons, and practice, in a variety of subjects. Develop your own learning dashboard and personalized educational plan!
Duolingo—Learn a new language on your smartphone or on a computer, for free! Enjoy simple interactive lessons in Spanish, French, German, Chinese, and more!
The American Yawp—Check out this online, collaboratively written American history textbook! This resource also includes primary sources and recommended reading.
Scarleteen—This website presents provides inclusive, comprehensive, supportive sexuality and relationships info for teens and emerging adults.
Websites like National Geographic and NASA may offer articles and information that will help you expand your knowledge base and interests. Reading newspapers and magazines can be similarly informative. The website FiveThirtyEight offers analysis on a variety of topics from a statistical viewpoint. How Stuff Works offers information on a variety of topics.
AP and CLEP tests offer a way to gain college credit or simply show mastery in a given subject. You don’t need to take a class to take these tests; you can sign up for them in advance and study for them on your own. Finally, don’t forget that in some states you can enroll in individual public school courses. Think chemistry, or band, or computer science!
How can I make sure I’m ready for graduation / college?
Our article on homeschooling with college in mind is a good start. You can also read our guides to creating a homeschool high school transcript and obtaining a high school diploma. When students are homeschooled, keeping good records and finding means for external verification become especially important. It’s never too early to start.
State graduation requirements
Learn what courses your state requires students to complete to graduate from high school. It is a good idea for homeschooled students to meet these requirements; a future college or employer will expect you to have met the same benchmarks as other high school graduates. Make a list of courses you need, and those you have already completed. Work with your parents to create a plan for completing the remaining courses.
Planning beyond high school
Next, ask yourself what your longterm goals are. While homeschooled students should complete all of their state’s requirements for a high school diploma regardless of their specific interests, homeschooling offers the opportunity for students to explore these interests more broadly. If your interest is in nursing, you may be able to volunteer at your local hospital, for instance. It’s never too early to start thinking longterm!
Finding external verification
While you may know what subjects you have mastered and what courses you have completed, your future college or employer doesn’t! They may wonder how they can know whether the information in your transcript is accurate. It is a good idea to start thinking about ways to provide external verification of your studies. AP tests and SAT/ACT scores are a good start.
What if I’m not happy at home?
Not every homeschooled student wants to be homeschooled. If this describes you, consider talking to your parents about your reasons. You might want to start by doing some research on local public schools, as well as private or charter schools. If you can present your parents with alternative options and the results of some research, they may be more willing to listen.
In other cases homeschooled students may struggle with difficult situations at home. They may be expected to care for their younger siblings and have little time for themselves; they may not receive the support and resources they need for their education and may flounder in their studies; they may have parents who are angry or unpredictable, or who hurt them.
If this describes you, our heart goes out to you. Some of us had homeschool experiences like this as well. You are not alone. We know because we’ve been there—and we want to help. Click one of the buttons below to learn more about the resources and options available.