Category Archives: homeschooling

Homeschooling Because of COVID-19: Curriculum for High-Schoolers

I have been homeschooling my teen off and on for 12 years and currently she is being homeschooled for high school. She is in 11th grade and is dual-enrolled in community college. That means that she is a high school student and college student at the same time. Many folks ask me what curriculum do I use for her since she is in high school. I don’t use a pre-made curriculum for high school. I have created/curated her curriculum since I started homeschooling her since she was four and that has not changed now that she is in high school. In this article, I will share some resources that I’ve used to design her curriculum and the reasons behind my choice to use some of them. I encourage you to consider designing your own curriculum as it allows you to create a learning journey that is unique to your child. While I do advise you to visit the website of your local school system to get ideas on what the learning standards are for your child’s grade, you have the flexibility to aim above those standards if you wish.

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  1. Khan Academy for Math and Science

Khan Academy has been an asset to our homeschooling journey since my child was in elementary school. This free online resource offers a portal for parents to monitor their child’s progress and the site does the rest. The rest is in the areas of pre-assessment, instruction and tutorial. That’s right. This site has an assessment tool to gauge where your child is academically and then designs a curriculum that your child can begin to take to engage in the subject they are on the site for. I use Khan Academy for math instruction and even intend on having her use the site as she begins to prepare for SATs (I only decided this month that I want her to take the SAT which is why she is taking it late).

Khan Academy is typically used by homeschooling families for math, but there are other subjects the site helps with as well. Although it is a free resource now, I always encourage homeschooling families to donate to their organization so they can stay around for those of us who use their service so often.

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2. The Public Library for English, Writing and Critical Thinking

This sounds so obvious and corny to mention, but, let me share with you why I listed it. Public library systems have book/reading lists that they have compiled for different age groups. Many have them listed virtually while some require you to request them directly from the branch. Requesting a reading list based on your child’s reading level allows you to determine which books to assign or allow your child to pick from when building their curriculum for the week, month or school year. I am a college professor, so I have asked colleagues for their recommendations when putting together my own book list. When designing a syllabus for my teen during her first two years of high school, I would let her pick which books she would read and then do assignments on.

The library also allows you to rent movies, music and other learning materials if you don’t want to purchase materials. The online resources libraries offer are great tools in general to help your children begin to develop skills in researching and finding learning materials on their own.

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3. Udemy for Life Skills and Interest-Led Learning

One year, I spent less than $200 on more than ten courses that my daughter chose herself based on interest and three parameters that I gave her during her first year of high school. She chose courses in photography, how to use a smart phone beyond picture taking, sign language, singing and about five other subjects. Udemy is a wonderful site of online courses that you can choose from or direct your teen to if you are allowing them to create their own learning curriculum. The offerings are immense and people on the site are often professionals in the field they are teaching. I took a course on there on statistics to help me understand my doctoral course in quantitative methods where statistics was a large component.

3. Museums for Science, Art and Culture

Now with COVID-19, it is unlikely any museums are open. But, almost all museums now are offering virtual resources for those eager to incorporate their resources into your learning curriculum. Some of my favorite virtual museum resources are: The National Museum of African American History and Culture, Zoos and Aquariums, and Art Institute of Chicago.

Here is a link to over 2500 art museums sharing online materials.

Here is a story on art museums putting their collections online.

4. Gyms for Health and Fitness

Planet Fitness is the gym of choice for our household because it is affordable and allowed our teen to be our guest for free with the Black Card plan. Now that gyms are closed, they are offering online classes and work-out plans that have been helpful for us (even though, I’ll be real, we have not been using them yet). Here is an example here.

Since COVID-19 the workout that we have most engaged in have been walks in our neighborhood and dancing in the house.

In closing, when putting together a curriculum for your high school student, recognize that this is a fine time to engage them in their own learning process. Find your resources and let them have a hand in making some selections. You can use some of the spaces I’ve recommended above or choose sites on your own. Ultimately, know that homeschooling allows for flexibility and you have the power to curate your child’s learning experience as you see fit. Best of luck to you!

Dr. Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman is a homeschooling parent and researcher on homeschool issues. Learn more at

Register for the 2nd annual Online Multi-Ethnic Homeschool Moms Conference here

Homeschooling A High-School Student? Consider Dual-Enrollment

Two years ago, my daughter attended a public magnet school for 7th and 8th grade but asked to be homeschooled for high school. Homeschool is PK-12 instruction that is implemented and/or curated by the student’s parent(s) within a structured or unstructured learning environment.  Homeschooling rates have continued to grow in the United States since 1999. In 2012, 3.4 percent of school-aged children were reported as being homeschooled in 2012.  Today, more than 5% of homeschooled students are African-American.  I had homeschooled her for 5th and 6th grade and knew the benefits of homeschooling, but, became nervous about high school. Could I adequately prepare her as an older student? Did I have the time? I am an educator who develops programs and curriculum for schools and institutions serving other people’s children, but, here I was questioning my ability to do that for my own child. It was short-lived, but, unmasking. I determined that not only was I capable of homeschooling my rising high-schooler, but, it was an awesome opportunity to include the college experience in our homeschool program so that I could help her navigate college as a homeschooler before she embarks on a college journey on her own after high school.

Getting Started

To get started homeschooling a high-schooler, I had to change my mindset and then assess my resources. Some parents believe that if a child has been in public school for most of their lives, then, it may be too late to homeschool for high school. This is certainly not true! I’ve homeschooled off and on throughout my daughter’s educational journey, and homeschool is never a bad decision, regardless of what year and what age. Parents of African-American children are choosing homeschooling for various reasons. Many of the reasons stem from the disproportionate numbers of Black children who are suspended in public schools, to the criminalization of behaviors displayed by Black children in comparison to those of white children. We’ve heard of the school to prison pipeline and the impact of children being taught by teachers who are not culturally competent. In my situation, my daughter and I were alarmed by the spate of shootings that had taken place at or near the performing arts high school she was slated to attend. My altered work schedule allowed for me to say “yes” to her and return to homeschooling for her high school years. I knew I had the time resources and with me working on college campuses, dual-enrollment was an educational resource that was a perfect option for us.

Dual-enrollment for homeschoolers

My daughter is now about to begin 11th grade as a homeschooler and her fourth semester of community college as a dual-enrolled student. Dual-enrollment is an opportunity for high-school students to take college credit courses while still in high school. Dual-enrollment rates in the US have reached up to 82% as over 46 states have policies that promote this option for high school students. There are different names that institutions may use to describe when high school students take college courses while still enrolled in high school — including parallel enrollment or concurrent enrollment. However, dual-enrollment is the more common term and this article will refer use it unless specified otherwise.

Our family chose dual-enrollment for our homeschooling high school student because it was a great opportunity to help her with navigating the college environment while still having her under our wing. It also allowed for her to take college-level courses in areas she excelled in, like writing and the arts. Finally, she is able to earn credit for general education requirements that all colleges require, so, if she chooses to attend college, she will have already taken those courses.

Take advantage of discounts and deals

Because many community colleges are encouraging high school students to get an early start on college, there are a host of different programs that your local community college may offer to make the cost work for you. I also encourage you to look at community colleges that are not necessarily in your immediate city or county but, still in state. For example, the community college in my county did not offer my daughter discounts for early enrollment that she was offered at another state community college. We chose to enroll her at the out-of-county community college because it was cheaper, had better course options and was convenient to my work. As a parent, ask the contact at the community college you are inquiring at if they have discounts for high-schoolers, homeschoolers and those who are in-state. Also, ask if your child would be eligible to earn an associate’s degree if they take the necessary courses in a work pathway.

There is so much more I intend to share on this journey, but, this is a great starting place for the parents still considering dual-enrollment as an option for their homeschooler. Best of luck on your journey!


Khadijah Z. Ali-Coleman is a homeschooling mother, a multi-media strategist and professional creative who has built an expansive interdisciplinary career as a professional in higher education, media, student development and the arts.  You can join her mailing list and register for her courses for homeschooling families at

Are you homeschooling an African American child who also takes courses at a community college? If so, consider having your child participate in this study for a $25 VISA Gift Card.

Join the Facebook group for Dual-Enrolled Homeschooled High School Students here