Thanks to SHBE Member and my friend Kris Nelson for allowing SHBE to use this article. You can follow Kris on Facebook at Just a Pen and Paper: https://www.facebook.com/justapenandpaper
I wanted to encourage those considering homeschooling high school! Many here in Saskatchewan do, and it’s not as overwhelming as some may think! I never imagined I would be a homeschooling mom, but here we are, eight years later! When we first began homeschooling, our oldest had just finished grade 2 in public school. We didn’t withdraw from school due to any particular reason; it just wasn’t the inspiring, engaging experience I was hoping he would have. I told my mom, who had been a high school teacher for THIRTY years in Saskatchewan, that we would likely return for high school though – in order to get those coveted high school credits and a government-issued high school diploma. She was the first one who told me to seriously reconsider that decision. We did. She knew better than anyone else what all goes on in a high school classroom.
I think people worry about homeschooling high school for two reasons (at least this was my case): how to teach material I don’t know (or at the appropriate level), and how to gain university entrance without a Sask Ed diploma. Lo and behold, both can be done.
The material that is out there that has been developed for home learners is amazing – in every subject under the sun and at every level! Want to learn something different like Latin? No problem. We bought a course from Compass Classroom (waited for a sale) that has short videos. The kid actually likes it! Logic course? Check out The Critical Thinking Company (their emails often have discounts). Computer Science or Programming? A group called Homeschool Buyer’s Coop has heavily discounted sales in that subject and many, many more (sign up for their emails!). We waited for a sale and tried one. Even for subjects I’m well versed in, I still outsource it to a book/course because our toddler eats up all my time. Need a good writing course? Check out Institute for Excellence in Writing, Essentials in Writing, or Brave Writer. High school science? Many people like the Apologia textbook series; it is incredibly well written. Want something unique? You’ll find so many courses on Udemy (we’re trying a computer hacking one at the moment!), and if you’re patient, they’ll eventually go on sale for around $15 with lifetime access! Economics? Physics? Something you’ve never imagined? Khan Academy, classcentral.com and coursera also offer free online academic courses. There’s no end to what can be learned at home!
Post-secondary entrance: Pretty much every college/university lists what is required for homeschool admissions on their admissions page. Many involve writing the SAT or Accuplacer test which is hosted by College Board, and can be prepared for at home. Others require a homeschool transcript from the parent. Some may also require taking a high school (30 level) course without a full diploma, or a university level course. One option is to write an AP exam (Advanced Placement – you can self study and request your school division to arrange it for you. It is also offered through College Board and will typically give you a university credit depending on the score). But another great option is taking a class at the University of Regina through their high school accelerated program offered by their Centre for Continuing Education. They’ve got Psychology, Astronomy, English, Economics… Other options to satisfy entrance requirements include taking courses from open universities such as Athabasca University or Thompson Rivers University which can be done at home and without any pre-requisites. You can also always transfer to another university of your choice – once you’re an accepted university student, you’re no longer homeschooler. No doubt there are many other options out there too! Look ahead and check out admission requirements. Don’t let anyone convince you that you can’t do post-secondary without a Sask Ministry of Education diploma. Ask questions on here and the multitude of other homeschooling groups now available, connect with others and meet new friends, and enjoy exploring all the options out there!
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