Exploring Interests in High School Homeschool

Exploring Interests in High School Homeschool

Two of the greatest advantages to homeschooling during the high school years are the time and opportunity to explore personal interests and, until now, unknown talents and skills waiting to be discovered!

There are a number of different ways to participate in activities that could lead to a future career or obtain elective credits or add valuable experience to put on your high school transcript.

(This is the second post in a series about homeschooling your high schooler.)

(Remember to keep track of the contact infomation of any adult mentors or leaders of your activities for those future letters of recommendations that colleges love to ask for!) I have a downloadable pdf file of this list and charts to keep records of your valuable information regarding your involvement in activities during the high school years. You will want to keep track of them for your transcripts and/or resume. Click here to receive the free pdf – http://www.subscribepage.com/freehomeschoolhighschoolactivityrecord

  • Paid/Unpaid Internship/Work Experience – Other than a typical part time job usually held by high schoolers, there are internship type opportunities that you might find hidden if you do a search for “internship” on a jobs search website.
    • Various political organizations and office holders may be open to someone stuffing envelopes or handing out voter guides. State governments may have short term internship positions in the summer or through page programs for the local house or senate or governor’s office.
    • Work experience that involves some form of certification would also be valuable like “lifeguarding” or obtaining First Aid and CPR certification you might use in that position or some form of childcare position.
    • Entrepreneurship is another direction to go in starting your own business – the sky is the limit now a days with internet commerce.
  • Volunteer/Church/Missions – Again, there are many opportunities in these areas gain valuable experience. Food banks, libraries, animal shelters, and Parks and Rec departments are always looking for volunteers. Organizations like the Special Olympics or the YMCA look for different kinds of volunteers as well. Missions usually involve travel, another valuable experience.
    • You might want to check into an organization called Youth Service America.
  • Activity Programs can involve long term or short term commitments.
    • Sports programs and leadership positions involved with the team. (Can be seasonal or year long.)
    • Long Term Program Examples –
      • Civil Air Patrol – Local squadrons can vary with what each group participates in, so check out various groups within your area. They may be involved in more drill or aeronautics, FEMA certifications, Ground Team Search and Rescue, Ranger Program/Medic Program, or Cyber Security team competitions.
      • Young Marines and Sea Scouts (for those homeschoolers where they are not allowed to join JROTC at the local high school.)
      • 4-H and your Cooperative Extension Service – Not only can your teen explore areas of plants and livestock, but also teen leadership training and opportunities and Speech and Demonstration competitions.
      • Boy Scouts – Pursuing the Eagle Award is only part of participating in the Boy Scout program. The many skills learned when completing badge and rank requirements are invaluable and the leadership training programs available and mulitple and multilevel leadership positions are almost limitless. Alongside the Boy Scout program is the Venturing program open to girls as well. There is also what is considered to be “the Boy Scout honor society”, the Order of the Arrow with its volunteer, leadership, and educational opportunities.
      • Explorers Programs associated with Boy Scouts – Fire Explorers, Police Explorers, EMS, Aviation, Business, Communications, Engineering and Technology, Healthcare, Law and Government, Science, Skilled Trades, Social Services, and Arts and Humanities.
      • STEM and Science Exploration Teams and Competitions – Science Olympiad and robotics teams (you can do a search for a local group using words such as “robotics”, “FIRST Robotics”, “Lego Robotics”, “FIRST Lego League”) are great programs to learn alongside others.
      • Other groups or clubs to search for – Odyssey of the Mind, Chess Club, Bridge Club, The Society for Creative Anachronism, LARPING (Live Action Role Playing), Historical Reenactment groups, History Club, movie or video making clubs, programming and gaming clubs, clubs associated with local history, nature or science museums, or aquariums are available, some especially for homeschoolers, Generation Joshua, National Christian Forensics and Communications Association, StoaUSA (another speech and debate organization), RHETORIC speech and debate club, Mock UN and Mock Trial, Moot Court, YMCA Youth and Government
    • Short Term Program Opportunities –
      • Page programs, TeenPact (government), Boys State and Girls State (one week state government simulation), Plays (acting, sets and props, techical and lighting, makeup and wardrobe)
      • Awards and Competition Opportunities – (these involve volunteer recognition awards, speech and essay contests, Boys and Girls State (American Legion)
        • Optimist Club, VFW, American Legion, Presidential Service Award, Presidential Fitness Award, Congression Medal Award
  • Academic and Vocational Interests
    • In the age of Online Instruction – the possibilities are endless – (college admission officers love to see something unusual on the high school transcript that helps your student stand out)
      • Skillshare.com (video segments exploring different interests and careers – a jumping off point to begin further study), Alison and Class-central.com courses and Coursera.org all offer free and fee based certification courses.
      • University based free open enrollment courses – Openculture.com offers over 1250 courses in a large variety of subject areas from top universities.
      • Paid courses from Udemy and other online course websites
      • Universities offer accredited and non-accredited high school and college classes to homeschoolers for credit and non-credit. (My son took Arabic for a few years in high school through BYU for non-credit (for credit, we would have had to pay more) and when entering his college, he took a placement test through the Foreign Language department and was told he could skip the first two semesters of Arabic if he wanted to.) They used the same textbook and program at the college that BYU used in their high school program.
    • Local Community Colleges – a number of states now have free tuition programs  at their community colleges for high school students to take classes. Some of these colleges allow students to take college transfer academic track classes, technical certification classes, or both.

This homeschool high school exploration of passions and interests was the best part of our homeschool journey! It was exciting to see our guys develop skills and interests that had been laying dormant until they took the initiative to challenge themselves in new areas and learn more about themselves!

Encourage your high schooler to pick an activity and try it out. You both may be surprised by the journey you end up taking and the memories you make along the way. We sure were! And would not trade it for anything!

For a pdf download of this list to keep handy and discuss your options with your homeschooler and a chart to keep track of activities, leadership positions, awards or achievements, and a contact person for those future letters of recommendation, click here http://www.subscribepage.com/freehomeschoolhighschoolactivityrecord

To read about academic subjects colleges usually want to see on your high schooler’s transcript, read What Should we Study while Homeschooling High School?  There is a free download with forms and a suggested Scope and Sequence.


  • Heidi Posted August 26, 2017 9:09 pm

    What a great post Katie! My kids are still young, 5th grade and Kindergarten, but homeschool high school has been this big question mark for me so far. Your post had a ton of great info I hadn’t considered before and even some things we are already involved in, like boy scouts. Your post set my mind at ease that we can homeschool through high school and do it well. Thank you for this post and all the great info, Heidi

    • Katie Posted August 27, 2017 1:22 pm

      Thanks for the feedback and comments! I’m so glad you found it helpful! I hope you all enjoy all your years and high school homeschooling together! Ours flew by way too fast and we are into another season!

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