I want to be homeschooled, but I’m at a level where my parents can’t teach me. Can I teach myself?

I’m a junior in high school but completely sick of mainstream schooling. I’ve always been bright, so my parents don’t have the specific knowledge to teach me most things. If I have the discipline, are the internet and my library enough for me to teach myself enough to get into a good college?

Written Sep 2, 2016

The devil is in the details …

Of course, you can learn by yourself. I’m not so sure you can teach yourself, so let’s explore that.

What are your goals?

You mention that you want to get into college. If you are homeschooled, you won’t have a counselor readily available. Therefore, you will need to have a pretty good picture of what you intend to study at college, and which college(s) meet your needs. Next step will be to ensure that your learning plan focuses upon achieving your goal.

However, there are plenty of resources available to you. Most colleges provide information on their websites regarding admissions policies, and will probably be receptive to calls or emails for information. Additionally, many colleges and universities are actively recruiting homeschoolers.

Next step … getting started

You can’t just take yourself out of school and say you are homeschooling yourself (that could get you arrested). You will need to comply with the procedures for your state and local school district (in the US). This may be as simple as having your parent or guardian submit a letter, but you need to check the requirements. There will also likely be annual reporting requirements.

This step will likely need your parent’s approval, so you may need to convince them that homeschooling is right for you. Ross Hall’s answer to How do I explain to my parents that I want to be homeschooled?

So now you are a homeschooler …

A lot of people report that it takes up to a year to adjust to being homeschooled. In your case, as a junior in high school, you really don’t have that luxury. You will have to dive right in to ensure that you complete all your requirements. In your case, that probably means enrolling in the appropriate courses and dedicating yourself to doing well to maximize your chances of reaching your goal of college.

Our state and school district each offer online (virtual) high school courses free to students. This option is accredited, and allows students to graduate with a high school degree. If this is available to you, it will likely be the best option to reach your goals on time.

Your next option is to enroll with an accredited curriculum provider. This could be costly, and may involve delays due to administrative processing, class start dates, etc.

There are other homeschooling methods, but I believe they could put you at great risk of not meeting your goal of getting in to college, due to the limited time available to you. For example, let’s say you have decided that you want to be a computer programmer, and study advanced programming courses. Unless you have met all the other requirements, you could have a tough time getting accepted into college. You do not have the luxury of developing a long track record of homeschooling excellence, so be careful how you present yourself.

Summary

Obviously, as a homeschooling Dad, I believe homeschooling is the right choice for our (10 year-old) daughter. But we have years to develop a homeschool transcript and portfolio. As a junior, you do not have that luxury … time is your enemy. If you choose to homeschool, you will have to work at least as hard (or harder) than your peers to achieve your goals. Think very carefully before you take the leap – in your case, the solution may be worse than the problem.