Q. I am not sure when to graduate my homeschooler. We are about to start high school level, and he has no intention of going to college. Do I have to teach him for four years, or is there a point when he can stop?
A. This is an excellent question. First you need to look at your state law and determine what age you must homeschool until. Most states require your child be taught at least until they are 16 years old, and there may still be other laws that dictate they stay in school or show they have graduated in order to keep their drivers license.
Academically, a homeschooler wants to get a job in a trade that does not require a college diploma should at least complete a program would help them pass a GED whether they plan to actually take the test or not. They should also be able to get into a trade school if they so choose. Let’s look at what they would need to learn in each subject to get to such a level.
In math, a student who does not plan to go to college should understand basic math as if found in a pre-algebra course, they should understand Algebra and how to apply it in everyday situations, they need to know basic geometry excluding proofs, and they should take a statistics or business math course data analysis and probability. These course would be enough to help them pass a GED math exam, but I think they should also be educated in personal finance, banking, credit, and investing.
In language arts, the homeschool student not going to college should be able to read with full comprehension, and write well. They need to have read a good sampling of fiction and non fiction books, many of those being classics from authors like Shakespeare and Mark Twain. They need to be able to discuss these books confidently. You should be able to find study guides to go with the classic books they choose to help them get a deeper understanding. They need to understand basic grammar and be able to compose simple and complex sentences. They must also be able two write a book report, a persuasive letter, and a research paper. A good way to make sure they cover all of these bases is to purchase language arts text books that cover grammar, American Literature, world or English literature, and writing.
A homeschooler not planning to go to college should also know social studies. They should know the history of their country, a survey of world history, and about the government and politics at the very least.
Science for a homeschooler not going to college can include environmental science, human anatomy, health and fitness, biology, basic physics, or astronomy. They can choose two or three of these that interest them, but they should at least know something about their bodies, and the environment around them.
Foreign language is not required for a homeschooler not going into college. However, knowing the foreign language most utilized in their community will help them in the job market later on. They should be able to communicate with their neighbors that do not speak English.
Finally, a homeschooler that is not intending to enter college should enjoy some elective or have a creative outlet as part of their homeschool program. Be it music, drama, art, athletic, computer science, or building things, they should start participating in activities that are enjoyable to them. They should also start taking classes related to what they want to do in the future.