Ever wonder if you have what it takes to homeschool high school? Meet Jean. This mom has no college education, no teaching experience, poor health, poor memory and even so, her daughter experienced success! Read this whole story - it's just so encouraging! I'm so thankful to Jean for sharing her struggles and encouraging other parents to homeschool through high school.
My Journey of Homeschooling High School with The HomeScholar
by Jean Freeman (Orrum, NC)
Contrary to popular belief, you do not have to be a trained teacher to be qualified to homeschool your child through high school. In fact, in my situation, it was quite the opposite. I was certainly not by any means qualified at all! At the time I started homeschooling, I had no college education and no experience teaching, except for teaching Sunday school. My health was not very good either. I had been through two surgeries for a dissected carotid artery and then had a major stroke, resulting in me having to relearn how to talk and also regain the use of my right hand. I also had some serious memory issues and other brain damage from the stroke. To add to that, before I had even recuperated from the stroke, I was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of breast cancer and had to go through several more surgeries, along with six months of chemo and two months of radiation. It was all I could do to just focus on regaining my health and my strength after all that, so I certainly didn't think I could manage to do much of anything else—especially teaching my child academic subjects that I didn't even remember from school or had never learned!
I took my daughter out of public school and started homeschooling her when she was in the last nine weeks of fifth grade. I taught her all the subjects myself, and it really wasn't that difficult with a teacher's book explaining everything. Then, as she went into sixth grade, I learned very quickly that my style of teaching was not her way of learning, so we butted heads constantly during that year. I knew it was due to the curriculum we used being very teacher-intensive, so, in seventh grade, we decided to let her do Classical Conversations. Classical Conversations used various homeschooling curricula, and she went to class one day a week, with a "tutor" explaining the subjects, and then she did her work at home the rest of the week. Tiffany was the only seventh grader in her Classical group; the other three or four kids were in eighth grade, so the curriculum consisted of eighth grade subjects, including Algebra 1. She didn't have any problem transitioning from sixth grade subjects to eighth grade subjects, so she enjoyed that year immensely. As she thought about the next year though, with most all of her homeschool peers entering high school, she asked me if she could just continue on and study ninth grade subjects with them so they could all graduate at the same time. And with that, I went from having a whole entire year to prepare for homeschooling high school to having to deal with it immediately! I was not at all prepared or equipped to homeschool Tiffany through high school. I didn't know anything about how to figure GPA's, how to do a transcript, how to schedule high school tests such as the SAT/ACT, how many credits you have to have to graduate, etc… the list went on and on!
Enter The Home Scholar. I ran across a story in an article that referenced how much Lee Binz had helped the author with homeschooling high school, so I decided to give her a call. She had a special "Gold Club" membership for less than $40 per month which included access to all her resources (transcripts, course descriptions, forms, "how to" articles, blog, etc.), a special email address with immediate response, and a 20-minute phone consultation with her once a week to pick her brain about any questions or concerns I might have. I decided to take advantage of that since I could not rely on myself to remember anything about what I read in her articles or heard on her webinars. I downloaded everything she offered regarding high school credits, transcripts, extra curricular activities, etc., and I organized them in folders on my computer where I could access them at any given time. This was an invaluable asset to me during our 4 years of high school! Lee gave me access to links for all her resources that I needed to prepare for my daughter's Freshmen year. She also had a form that detailed what I needed to do during each subsequent year of high school (subjects to consider, standardized tests to take with website addresses, when to apply for college scholarships, when to send transcripts, etc.), and during any given year would also point me to what I needed to read and download to prepare for the next year.
Then, when I started doing my daughter's transcript, college applications, scholarship applications, college visits, scholarship interviews, etc., I was constantly emailing Lee for advice and information. And, she never failed me! As a result of my Gold Club Membership, the following is what my daughter was able to achieve.
She graduated when she was 16 years old. She applied to 7 colleges and only had to pay 3 applications fees due to the most of them sending her special applications with no fees. She was ACCEPTED TO ALL 7 UNIVERSITIES to which she applied with huge scholarships. She was awarded 2 PRIVATE SCHOLARSHIPS.
Tiffany started attending University when she was 16 years old. She took 16 credit hours her first semester, maintained a 4.0 GPA, and finished the semester on the President's List. Also during that semester she was hired as a tutor at a local elementary school where she worked 3 days a week for 3 hours each day, volunteered a couple of days a week at a local middle school, and sang in the university's gospel choir. Contrary to popular belief, homeschooling DOES prepare students for the real world.
I hope Jean's story brought you as much encouragement as it did for me! Remember, YOU can do it, too!
Wow Jean Freeman! What an absolute inspiration you are! I am a single parent homeschooling a special needs kido and there are many days I don't feel equipped. However, I must always remind myself that God gave us our kids, and He knew WE could do the job, despite our circumstances.
My favorite verse: I can do ALL things through Christ who gives me strength! As long as we keep Christ first ... there is nothing we can't do! And, HE doesn't give us more than we can handle (even if we 'think' He has.) Thank you Jean for sharing your story. Its just what I needed.
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