When we begin our homeschooling journey, we think that high school is so far away.
Thinking about “after high school” seems silly when you’re playing patty cake with a toddler, singing ABCs with a preschooler, or teaching a 6-year-old how to read and add.
But the goals we set when our kids are young ensure our children’s success when they are adults.
How should you prepare your child for college, vocational school, or work?
How do you know your child is ready for life after homeschool?
Three important areas should be addressed for success after high school: our child’s Heart, Hands, and Head.
Humans have three areas in our bodies that are in communication with each other through the vagus nerve:
• the heart = intelligence
• the gut = intuition
• the head = intellect
Spiritual, emotional, and psychological well-being are important for success after high school.
What is your child’s worldview and character like?
Is your child equipped with critical thinking skills? Does your child know how to handle adversity, relationships, emotions, communication? It’s important to learn how to apologize and be emotionally healthy.
Is your child able to show self-control when her peers indulge in poor behavior? Teaching self-control is probably the most important lesson children can learn.
Can your child exhibit empathy if a friend experiences a tragedy – illness, injury, death in her family, failing a course, an ugly breakup with a boyfriend? Teaching and modeling kindness is integral for a child to show compassion to others.
Life skills are necessary for success after high school.
Life skills books are helpful, but doing makes for more lasting learning.
Most teens get a driver’s license before age 18. It’s important that young adults learn defensive driving skills. Driver’s ed is a requirement in many states for teens under age 18.
Car maintenance schedules and simple auto tasks should be taught so they don’t get taken advantage of by mechanics due to their ignorance.
We love this book: Girls Garage: How to Use Any Tool, Tackle Any Project, and Build the World You Want to See by Emily Pilloton.
Make sure your child understands finances: balancing a checkbook, the difference between a credit card and a debit or check card, avoiding debt, the basics of investing or planning for retirement, and taxes.
Cooking skills are super important. An easy way to ensure this is to include your children in meal planning, shopping, cooking, and cleaning up. Have your child practice simple cooking with help and supervision – building up to planning and preparing several simple, frugal, and healthy meals. We build recipe binders for our four kids with their favorites that they are very proud of that they will eventually take with them when they grow up and away.
Laundry care is important. Kids should learn all the washing and drying basics. Reading labels is necessary to keep clothing well maintained. Learning how to remove tough stains and make small mending repairs is helpful. We’ve even made our own laundry soap.
Housekeeping chores and home maintenance are very necessary skills. Everyone should know how to do dishes, laundry (to include ironing and mending), deep cleaning of every room, and minor handyman tasks.
Basic safety tips for real life and online are necessary. It’s more than a single conversation about sex ed. I give my kids a lot of freedom online, but we constantly discuss online safety and problematic apps.
Survival skills are a lost art. We love to go hiking and camping so my kids know how to prep fish and use a compass. What happens when the
First aid knowledge will be helpful in all sorts of situations and emergencies. Practice using a fire extinguisher and know when to use it. Also discuss kitchen fires and how to use salt or baking soda on grease. Knowing what to do in emergencies and car accidents is imperative so the child doesn’t panic. Calling authorities for help is scary and should be discussed so teens know what to expect when they’re in their first fender bender. Role playing and checklists can help.
Academics are certainly important for success in college, many technical schools, and jobs.
Here’s an unpopular thought: Academics are the smallest factor for success in life.
That being said, let’s not be lazy.
Too many homeschoolers I know seem to take the easiest way out. Parents choose a simpler, cheaper, or easier curriculum, often DVD, online, or workbook, just to check it off on the transcript. And that may be fine for some of the hoops we homeschoolers have to jump through, depending on state graduation requirements. Just don’t fear a challenge or shortchange yourself.
I’ve even known some homeschoolers who “graduated” without completing all their high school coursework. Is a ceremony and party so important that we shouldn’t have integrity?
Homeschoolers need to complete a decent course of study in the core academic areas: English, math, science, and social studies.
If a teen has his heart set on a specific career, then tailoring his high school focus towards that academic goal is wise. Look at the college or technical school requirements and make sure he completes all that – to excellence.
Electives are a great way to customize a homeschooler’s education to interests and strengths.
Many homeschoolers have the freedom to get a headstart on college courses online or at local colleges during their junior or senior year. This is a great way to gently transition into college life or to prove to a chosen university that the homeschooler can succeed at college coursework.
Liberal arts college isn’t the only option.
There are many training opportunities after high school.
Teens need career counsel to help them on their future path.
Teens need to know how to fill out applications and conduct a successful interview. Following up with thank you letters or emails are good too.
Good communication and organization skills are necessary before independence.