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Whats Next? 8 Options After High School (Part 2 of 2)

#Homeschool Graduation - What's Next? @TheHomeScholar May 2012
by Lee Binz
The HomeScholar

Last month, we explored four of the traditional college options for what comes after homeschooling high school. This month, we will continue our discussion by looking at four less-traditional options - options that are growing in popularity and should be explored with your teen. I say four options, but really one of them is a path I would not recommend. Read on to discover some of the roads less traveled for homeschool high school graduates. You may discover a path that fits your family perfectly.

Try Distance Learning You can work toward distance learning independently, and have your child earn college credits while studying at home. This involves taking CLEP or AP exams. College policies vary widely so make sure that it’s going to meet your needs. CLEP exams can be outside documentation of your homeschool, or you might want to use CLEPs for college credit in order to save money, which is a little bit different. There are two basic ways of using CLEP. One is to follow behind your student and scoop up what they know; wait until they have learned something and then take a CLEP exam when you’re absolutely positive that they can pass the CLEP exam in that particular class. The other way of doing it is to plan ahead. That means that you study a new material to study for a CLEP exam in that particular college subject.

You can also get help with Distance Learning, by relying on the expertise of reputable companies that can guide you through the process. I recommend CollegePlus. CollegePlus will mentor the students that are homeschooling college. That has some real benefits as sometimes students can be difficult for parents to deal with and yet not so much trouble for other adults to deal with.

For more information, I love the books Accelerated Distance Learning and Bear’s Guide to Earning Degrees by Distance Learning. It sounds very trendy today to say you’re doing online college or something like that, but it’s really not a new phenomenon at all. Years ago, people would do distance learning as well. They would mail in their tests and their papers instead of email or fax them, but it was really the exact same thing. Resources for distance learning have been around forever.

Take a Gap Year#Homeschool Graduation - What's Next? @TheHomeScholarTaking a gap year is becoming more and more common among high schoolers. It’s becoming favored by some colleges, notably Harvard and Princeton. It can also develop a more mature student. If a child were to take a year off between senior year and when they start the university, they will become much more mature during that time and the colleges are hoping that they will function better as students when they get there.

College policies vary widely so it’s really good for you to look into the college that your child wants to go to. Some will be very easy-going and happy to have you no matter what, and others will be so persnickety you won’t even know how to please them. It’s a good idea to check each policy.

When you think of a gap year, you want your students to actually do something. Sometimes that means community service, missionary work, or youth with a mission. Other times it might be a meaningful work experience. Sometimes as children are doing these things, they will search for scholarships.

Try Meaningful Work, Internships or Vocational School #Homeschool Graduation - What's Next? @TheHomeScholarEventually children need to become self-supporting. Instead of college, some children will enter the work world directly. Although it is tempting to believe that any job is a successful launch into society, it's important to remember that your goal is not for them to "work." Your goal is for your children to grown up and become independent, and that means making a living wage. While meaningful work is important, they will need to make enough money to support themselves, pay rent and car expenses, buy groceries, and eventually raise a family of their own.

Even in conservative families where women do not work outside the home, girls still need a vocation in order to be fulfilled. Nobody feels satisfied sitting on a couch all day, and each child must feel productive. When these girls graduate, they will still need to provide full time contributions of work in the home. Homeschool must prepare them for marriage and family, and the possibility of living independently if marriage doesn't come immediately. The need for meaningful work is deeply embedded in all of us and as homeschool parents, we need to find ways to encourage our children to find work that will help them feel fulfilled.

Internships are a very popular option for homeschool graduates to "test drive" a vocation/profession. Whether they are paid or unpaid internships, they can be valuable if only for the insights they provide. Students who successfully complete an internship may eventually even land a full time position at the same company. But even if they don't, internships can yield some valuable letters of recommendation which can be used for finding paid jobs.

Finally, vocational school is a wonderful way for students to transition to independence. These often grow out of the passionate interests that often develop with children reach the teen years and begin to discover more about themselves. Far from being "less than college," a vocational school graduates are well on their way to meaningful employment and an honorable career in a field they care deeply about.

#Homeschool Graduation - What's Next? @TheHomeScholar

The "Couch Potato" Strategy It is not the same as a gap year. The goal of graduating your children is to have them grow up. As a parent of young adult males, the movie Failure to Launch (which I do NOT recommend), is a scary possibility. You don’t want your children to sit on a couch playing video games for the rest of their lives. You want them to do something meaningful to find their place in the world. Your job as parents is to avoid enabling their dependency upon you. Your goal is to encourage them to become independent adults.

It’s possible to do everything in your power to ensure independence and still end up with a couch potato adult. When I talk with my older friends from all walks of life, I’m surprised at how often it happens – and how rarely parents will voice their concerns to others. If you have trouble with failure to launch, these resources may help.

There is online encouragement in the article ‘Parenting Super Hero or Not?’ from Crosswalk. The author has two free ebooks that I recommend, "10 Ways to Turn Around Teens" and "Rules/Boundaries." There are some books that may be helpful. Setting Boundaries with Your Adult Children: Six Steps to Hope and Healing for Struggling Parents by Allison Bottke is geared primarily toward parents dealing with delinquent behavior: drugs, alcohol, felonious behaviors. Parenting Your Adult Child: How you can help them achieve their full potential by Campbell and Chapman may help, but it seems to recommend counseling more than anything. When Our Grown Kids Disappoint Us: Letting Go of Their Problems, Loving Them Anyway, and Getting on with Our Lives by Jane Adams provides warmth, empathy, and perspective.

Changing ChoicesRemember that kids will change their minds. You just don’t know what the future is going to hold. Kids mature and change their minds and the next thing you know, they want to own a business of their own and they need a degree. Working is an option but planning for a college prep education is one of the best ways to provide that for them in the long run.

You have permission to reprint this article as long as you don't make any changes and include the bio below.

Lee Binz, The HomeScholar, specializes in helping parents homeschool high school. Get Lee's 5 part mini-course, "The 5 Biggest Mistakes Parents Make Homeschooling High School." You can find her at http://www.TheHomeScholar.com.

Sally in WashingtonSally wrote this review of our Comprehensive Record Solution product:

WOW!!!!!! I love this product.Oh, how I wish it would have been available a couple of years ago!! Still, the info you have shared ever since I met you (thankfully, just before Clayton started high school!) has been awesome.

But this resource contains it all!!

I just finished going through it and I am amazed at the wealth of information you have provided for homeschool parents and their high schoolers. As I am in thick of the application and admission process, I can confidently say that you have done your homework very thoroughly, the information you share is right on. This product is going to save many homeschool parents time, energy and money. It is by far the best resource I have seen on homeschooling high school for college preparation and admission.


Not only does it explain the process of creating a Comprehensive High School Record, but it also shares the information in a number of different ways so that parents can learn about it in their preferred learning style: audio, video or book format. The written information is clear, concise and easy to use. The audio/video portions are easy to listen to and your chatty conversation-like style puts the overwhelmed homeschooler at ease. Also, the user can stop and start according to his or her time restraints. The different formats also give the user an opportunity to see the process of creating a Comprehensive High School Record as a quick overview or as an in-depth course to follow step-by-step depending on his or her need at the time.


You have taken an enormous amount of information and put it into bite-sized pieces so that the homeschooling parent can learn the information and process without becoming overwhelmed and frustrated–that goes for beginner homeschool high school parents and those of us who have been at it awhile. And you speak in the videos like a girlfriend who is going through all the same stuff with me! I feel myself saying, “YES!!! That was your experience too?!” It is soooo affirming.


Also, your encouragement is awesome. I loved the Prologue for Easy Truth About Course Descriptions. You not only broke the process of writing course descriptions into small, easy steps, but also gave Scripture to inspire and comfort along the way. You understand the concerns, anxieties and questions of homeschooling parents and effectively address them all. Not until recently did I realize that creating a Comprehensive Record is a process to be maintained throughout the high school years, not an event that I can just check off and be done with. You address this idea in your material and it keeps the expectations of the user in check so that he or she does not become weary of it “never ending.”


Sally in WashingtonAnother aspect that is very helpful is your warnings against procrastination. You effectively debunked false self-talk that leads to procrastination. I am certain that procrastinating is one of the worst things a homeschooling parent can do. It will terribly limit a student’s future opportunities and cause unspeakable stress during some of the best years of homeschooling…the time when the parent and student get to see the fruit of all their hard work.

Your understanding of the admission process was awesome too.


The format is great. I will tell you that it is like drinking from a fire hose! There is so much there and I worry that I may not be able to tell you how easy it is to follow because I have been using your resources for Clayton’s entire high school career. It all makes a lot of sense to me. So your inclusion of other course descriptions and comprehensive records add a lot of strength the resource because it shows the variety of ways to display the information, just in case a person who does not think like you do comes along. It covers a wide range of styles.


As I said, you have done your homework and the experiences and information you share will save many parents hours and hours of time and effort. Your product is worth every penny and I can’t wait to recommend this new resource to all of my homeschooling friends. Great job and thank you so much for sharing your work, energy, time and expertise with the rest of us. You have been the best resource for my homeschool high school.


I have written a lot and I could provide more details on what I thought. As I said, there is so much there. Nice, nice work. You are going to bless sooooooo many parents with this!"

~ Sally in Washington



"Renee in EuropeIt really made for a more professional look. You are providing a service much needed by many. Her scholarship will be paying for four years of tuition, out-of-state fees, room/board, book stipend as well as $5000 toward a month summer abroad program. Thank you again for all that I learned through your services."

~ Renee in Europe

Bryan Jones
"Your transcripts and records were
the best organized and documented I have seen"

- Bryan Jones, Associate Director of Admissions,
Seattle Pacific University
"Remember me from convention? I was the desperate mom who had no idea how to proceed since my son decided to go to college at the last minute and was stressed? Well, thanks to you our very nice transcripts are done and because of your advice he studied for the SAT (we didn't realize the importance of a high score) and he got above 1800 which he needed for some very nice scholarships. I cannot thank you enough Lee, your advice was God sent! Thanks Lee....I am just so thankful to you!"

~Julie in Washington


Dana in Oregon"I’d like to thank Lee for helping me gain the confidence I needed to start teaching high school this year. Instead of timidly requesting information from various sources I simply devoured everything I could find on her web site and spoke to her several times as part of a Gold Care Club membership. I also purchased the Transcripts e-book, High School Testing CD and the Scholarship DVD. I cannot stress enough how empowering it is to have this important information up front! I am not worried about missing test dates. I know when to start communicating with colleges. I know generally what courses my daughter will need to complete. Scholarships are not a big mystery anymore. Transcripts will be a labor of love instead of a necessary evil. And if we prepare well, we may save thousands of dollars by obtaining college credit in high school. Yes, high school is a lot of work for both student and teacher – but what a difference it makes to have a plan and to know the game rules. Thanks again, Lee, for being such a great mentor."

~ Dana in Oregon

Renee in Europe"A big thanks for taking time to look over her transcript and make suggestions. It really made for a more professional look. You are providing a service much needed by many. Thank you for the articles about the SAT and ACT that lead me to have my daughter take both tests. Her scholarship will be paying for four years of tuition, out-of-state fees, room/board, book stipend as well as $5000 toward a month summer abroad program. Thank you again for all that I learned through your services."

~ Renee in Europe



Tressa in Washington"I found Lee Binz while I was searching the internet. I stayed up late into the night reading her blog and other articles that she has on her website. My husband and I set up an appointment with Lee for her high school crash course. Talk about hand holding! It was just what I needed. She answered all my questions about SAT, ACT, CLEP, AP, and PSAT testing. She helped me set up a plan for the next four years. It was wonderful. It was definitely three hours well spent. The best part? My husband and I left the meeting as a team. That is what Lee did for me. Even today I still feel 100% better about all of this."

~Tressa in Washington