Homeschool through High School and Have Fun Doing It by Janice Campbell
When you make the decision to homeschool through the teen years, you open the door to many exciting options for your student. Teens not only have the opportunity to develop as individuals, but they can also pursue special interests, start microbusinesses, travel, accelerate their education, sample a variety of careers, and more. Let’s look at each option.
Have you noticed who is winning spelling and geography bees, music competitions and chess tournaments, debates and robotics competitions? Homeschooled students are often at the very top of these competitions. Why? It’s because they have time to pursue special interests. If they want to spend three hours a day practicing violin, there are no deadlines. They don’t have to put down the violin after 45 minutes and go rushing off to algebra or soccer. A homeschooler’s world is a world almost without deadlines, which means that time can be spent for things that really matter.
Resource: 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens by Sean Covey
What could be better than a summer job flipping burgers? Entrepreneurship, for one thing. Just think—instead of spending time in a mindless entry-level job, teens can start and run small businesses, and not only earn money for the future, but also learn about planning, budgeting, organization, marketing, and customer service, and perhaps even gain experience for a future career.
What kind of businesses can be operated as a microbusiness (small scale, no loans, minimal overhead)? Possible service-based businesses include tutoring, web design, pet sitting, calligraphy, landscape maintenance, and many others. Potential product-based businesses include selling produce, flowers, or baked goods, jewelry making, leather- or wood-crafting, or selling items on eBay. Almost any business that can be headquartered from home has potential to be a microbusiness.
Resource: Microbusiness for Teens curriculum by Carol Topp, CPA- www.MicrobusinessMadeEasy.com
Why spend four years just doing high school, when you could exert a little more effort and earn college credit at the same time? By taking full advantage of college-level exams, including AP and CLEP, community college and online classes, and other opportunities, it is completely possible to graduate from college at the age most teens are graduating from high school. Two of my sons have taken this route—one graduated with a bachelor’s degree at 20, and the other graduated at 19. Acceleration doesn’t just save time, it can save thousands of dollars in college costs. It’s well worth it!
Resource: Get a Jump Start on College! A Practical Guide for Teens by Janice Campbell – www.doingcollegeyourway.com
In traditional school, you’re lucky to get one day off each year to shadow a worker at his or her job. Homeschooled teens can try different careers through informal mentoring relationships, formal apprenticeships, or volunteering opportunities. Although formal internships and other programs exist, it is possible to make private arrangements for a teen to volunteer in the workplace. It is easiest to begin with personal friends and acquaintances with potentially interesting careers, but it is possible to approach strangers with a polite business letter and a resume. Career sampling is a wonderful way to try out a job before committing to several years of college or other training. You can think of it as the Goldilocks option!
Resource: Do What You Are by Paul Tieger and Barbara Barron-Tieger – www.dowhatyouare.com
There are few things more educational than travel. Homeschooled teens have the flexibility to travel at any time during the year, and if they happen to have a microbusiness and need to travel for it, they may even be able to deduct some of their travel expenses from their taxes! Family vacations tend to be less expensive and more pleasant when taken during off-peak seasons—homeschoolers don’t need to wait for summer break! I took our boys on a two-month trip around the country one year—it was a geography, history, and culture lesson rolled into a very memorable package. We’ve also taken a wonderful 2-1/2 week trip to Europe, and several shorter trips in the states, all on a very tight budget. Homeschooling offers families the opportunity to travel for competitions, for business, and for pleasure whenever and wherever they want to go.
Resource: Europe Through the Back Door by Rick Steves
These are just a few of the many options open to teens who are homeschooled. The thing I have most enjoyed about homeschooling my boys through high school and into college is seeing them develop as individuals. Without excessive scheduling or peer pressure, they were free to learn things they really wanted to know, to sample small business ideas and careers without the pressure of having to immediately earn enough to live on, and to get a jump start on life by accelerating through high school and college. There’s nothing more exciting than seeing your teen your teen become the person he or she wants to be!
Janice Campbell, the graduated homeschool mom of four sons, writes and speaks nationwide on writing, homeschooling, and entrepreneurship (when she is not reading, that is). She is the author of the Excellence in Literature curriculum for grades 8-12, Transcripts Made Easy, and other resources. www.Everyday-Education.com