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The latest trend in our movement is the phenomenal amount of interest in homeschooling through the high school years. Demand for the topic was at record highs at provincial and local conferences right across Canada during the spring of 2023, and HSLDA was invited to present at several additional events specifically set up to address the topic.

This development reverses a long-running trend which has typically seen most families homeschool through the elementary years, and then send their children off to a bricks-and-mortar school for their secondary-level education. Parents have typically done this for three primary reasons: 

 

  • a concern they may not be able to teach subjects well at the high school level;
  • a desire on the teen’s part for social interaction, sporting, and other opportunities; and
  • a belief that a high school diploma is necessary for postsecondary admissions and general success in life.

 

However, it is not just long-time homeschooling families who are deciding to homeschool through high school now.  A growing number of parents who have never homeschooled before are also taking the plunge and directly providing their teen’s formal education for the very first time!  

Many of the parents who have homeschooled for years, and those who are just starting out, express alarm at what they see happening in publicly funded schools. They refer to the growing amount of “indoctrination, not education,” safety concerns, the inconsistent quality of teaching, and the rise in anxiety and depression among teens in school. Despite the challenges of providing a secondary-level education, these parents have come to believe they can do a better job than the schools.

And, indeed they can. 

 

Many Benefits of Homeschooling through High School  

There is now an incredible variety of excellent learning opportunities for high school-aged students, including top-notch curricula and many great online courses.  When potentially challenging subjects like chemistry or foreign languages are tackled, families are forming high-school level co-ops to share parents’ expertise, or hiring tutors.

Not only are homeschoolers getting a great high school education, but universities and colleges are often eager to admit these students because the experience of the last three decades has shown that home educated students typically develop the self-study and learning habits that lead to success.

In fact, universities have always offered numerous pathways to admission. Homeschoolers are discovering that their parent-generated transcripts, portfolios, and standardized test results are often sufficient to achieve entry to many institutions. Others have used the ‘transfer credit’ pathway to gain a place in the program of their choice. Transfer credits are credits earned at another institution such as an open online university, like Athabasca University, or as a result of passing a subject specific test, such as the Advanced Placement (AP) test. Alternatively, students can often access their local adult learning centre’s correspondence courses to complete six grade 12 credits which can be used to apply to university.  

Applying to community college can be a bit more challenging, but many are opening up pathways for homeschooled students to gain admission through equivalency testing or mature student admission tests. 

 

Benefits Outweigh the Challenges

While home educating families often excel at academics and postsecondary admissions, the biggest challenge can often be finding sufficient and appropriate social, sporting, and artistic opportunities for their aspiring scholars. It’s challenging to build friendships if homeschooled students meet only once a week at an activity or group. As well, the onus is on homeschool families to do their own research to find suitable and affordable opportunities and then spend copious time driving their children around. Even so, the benefits of home education usually significantly outweigh the challenges.  

See more information on homeschooling through high school and postsecondary for the home educated.