Do you have a homeschool student entering high school? Perhaps the idea of handling their…
How Much Does It Cost to Homeschool High School?
If you are considering homeschooling high school, the biggest question you probably have is if you can afford it. The question of cost, when anyone is considering homeschooling at any grade, is usually the first question. The second question is usually about socialization, but that’s a subject for another day.
The cost of homeschooling high school isn’t a simple question to answer. The answer actually depends on how you are going to go about it. There are many aspects that go into homeschooling high school – electives, dual enrollment, additional classes, etc. So let’s dive in and discuss all these options.
The first thing you have to consider is how you are going to cover the core classes. These classes include any that are required by your state to qualify for graduation – English/Literature, History/Social Studies, Sciences, Foreign Language, etc.
There are several options available to you to cover these courses:
- Online courses
- Local classes/private tutors
- Dual enrollment classes at community college
- Curriculum options at home – textbooks, workbooks, computer software, etc.
Free and paid courses are available online for high school. There are also options to enroll in a single class, or a full course of classes. Some of these are:
- James Madison High School online – paid
- K12 – online public school – free
- Bridgeway Homeschool Academy – paid
- Forest Trail Academy – paid
- Connections Academy – free
- Easy Peasy All-in-one High School – free
- Bob Jones University – paid
The above options are just a sampling of what is available in total. Your student can take all courses from one of these providers, or just one class, depending on what’s available from each.
Local classes/private tutors
Many homeschool families opt to have some of their child’s courses taught by an outside entity, either a class available nearby, or a private tutor. This is especially the case with higher-level mathematics. Many parents are not equipped to teach or assist in these courses, so they get help elsewhere.
Dual enrollment classes
Dual enrollment is quickly growing in popularity among homeschoolers, and for good reason. It’s available, oftentimes for free, and it allows your student to take a course at the local community college and receive credit for both high school and college. Your student could take just one class per semester, or two to three classes, depending on the amount of work they are prepared to take on. The downside to doing dual enrollment is that if your student doesn’t do well in a class it will be part of their transcript. The same is true for high school, but the difference is this: if your student takes classes at community college before transferring to a university, that is the transcript that will be considered by the university, not the high school transcript. And the dual enrollment courses become part of that. So it’s best to be sure that your student is well-prepared to take courses at the college level before taking on dual enrollment classes.
Curriculum options at home
The most traditional method of homeschooling high school is purchasing curriculum and having your student do the work in your home, under your direction. Most of these options are written to the student, and are meant to be self-guided or directed. This means they are meant for the student to read the material and do the work with little to no direction from the parent. Some do require you to do some of the work, however, such as testing, reading a text for dictation, discussion questions, etc.
This option varies in cost, as well, because there are a wide variety of options available to purchase for use at home. You can purchase a complete, all-in-one package, or gather different subjects from different publishers and put it all together yourself. There are computer programs, video courseware, and textbooks.
After you have the core classes covered, the next step is to consider which elective courses your student is going to take. Fortunately for the homeschool student, many outside classes or sports count as their electives. Your homeschooler could take classes in art, piano, voice, acting, etc. Many cities offer classes as a community resource and they cover many different interests. But you may need to do a little research to see what is available in your area.
As an example, my older son took drum lessons last year. My younger son takes Kung fu. My daughter participates in a weekly P.E. class. Each of these was provided through a different resource, some homeschool options, some not. So check your local resources and see what’s out there.
If cost is an issue, you can find some free options online or through the local library. You could also barter! If you know someone who knows a topic your son or daughter is interested in, or they teach it, maybe you could offer a service in return for their lessons? Perhaps babysitting, yard work, house cleaning, or you could offer to teach their child something that you know.
Some elective courses are available online, as well. If your student is interested in coding or building websites, there are free and paid courses available. Khan Academy provides many free courses on their site, from math and science to computer coding. There are other elective courses available online, including art, piano, even driver’s education!
Beyond the websites I listed above, there are some ways you can homeschool for free without enrolling in online courses.
The main way you can homeschool for free is by utilizing all the library has to offer. Many libraries not only have books but they often have free classes available, through their website or in person. And of course there are book clubs and the like for kids to take part in.
You can teach your student completely free by using library books, too. There are books available for every topic of study – science, history, geography, literature, etc. There are also magazines, videos, and books on tape.
The main idea is you or your student can pick a book for each subject. They can range from informational texts to biographies, and of course literature. They read the book and then write about what they are learning. You can have discussions with them about what they are learning, continually asking questions to enable them to further their understanding. As they write papers you can grade their paper, checking for spelling, grammar, and punctuation, as well as word flow and whether their thoughts are developed thoroughly or not. You can also find worksheets online for them to complete, or book journals for them to fill out as they progress through each book.
The one exception may be math. It’s possible you can find math books available at a thrift store or a homeschool curriculum sale. You can buy one used online. Or you can use KhanAcademy.com, which is completely free.
These are just some examples of what can be accomplished completely free. It’s possible to provide a complete education for your student absolutely free! It takes some extra work and determination on your part, but it can be done!
As you can see, there are so many options for homeschooling high school that it’s impossible to provide one cost. What you spend could be completely zero to thousands, and the possibilities are endless. But the exciting part is…. the possibilities are endless! It’s fun to explore all the different options and to discover what works for you and your kids!