Temporary Homeschool & Staying on Grade Level

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Two homeschooled kids work at a table
Photo by Santi Vedrí on Unsplash

“If I only want to homeschool temporarily, how do I make sure my child stays on grade level? What about high-school? How do I keep them on track with their peers?” When we asked for your questions about homeschool these same questions kept coming up. We pitched them to Melissa Robb, the Member Advocate for ENRICHri.

Check out her detailed answers below:

While homeschoolers generally don’t concern themselves with ‘grade levels’, it is important if you only plan to homeschool temporarily.

Many homeschool families work to mastery. That means they quickly move through new skills/subjects that their children understand and then go slowly when they need more time to “get it”. In school, there is a time schedule. The teacher and the students must get through a specific scope and sequence by the end of the school year. So even if a student isn’t grasping a concept they need to turn the page to the next lesson and move on with the rest of the class.

If you are only planning to homeschool for a semester or a school year, it is important that your child can slip easily back into brick and mortar when they return to public or private school. This doesn’t mean that you need to use the same materials being used in your school district.  It does mean that you should be aware of what topics and concepts your children would be covering if they were in school. We recommend that you have a general idea of what will be covered but you could consider that in a very detailed way if you choose.

There are various resources where you can find the “typical course of study” for each grade level.  World Book Encyclopedia has that information on its website by grade and subject.
A series of books which you can find at many RI libraries is What Your X Grader Needs to Know by E.D Hirsch Jr.  Don’t use these resources to control every aspect of your child’s education but more as a touchstone.

If you want to drill down even more, every school district has a course of study and standards on their websites (you can request it if it’s not available on the website). For example, Exeter-West Greenwich has a page on its website for Curriculum, Instruction, and Assessment.  This is organized by grade and subject.  It may be much more information than you want to try to absorb, but it is there if you want to refer to it.  Some districts may be happy to meet with you and help you plan your homeschool year so that it will align with the district’s. I’d like to stress that this is not how most homeschoolers plan K-12 but when you are temporarily homeschooling, grade-level may be a key element in your curriculum choices.

Finally, I will address the question of high-school. Even for life-long homeschoolers, high-school requires a different approach than the previous years.  There ARE boxes to check, there are transcripts and graduation to consider.  Generally, homeschoolers look at typical college admission requirements to plot out a four-year plan.  Parents issue their own transcripts/diploma for those students who complete high school as homeschoolers and those transcripts are recognized by universities across the country.  In the case of temporary homeschool during the high-school years, there are minimum state graduation requirements as well as district graduation requirements that you need to be aware of if you are planning to graduate with a district-issued diploma.  You do need to be aware of the district requirements so your child can complete those on schedule.  There are many resources (books, webinars, blogs, workshops) regarding homeschool for high school that would be helpful for those that will graduate as a homeschooler.  ENRICHri runs such a workshop multiple times a year.  For those planning to complete their senior year in public or private school be sure to speak with your school district, be very clear about what they require, and how you will complete those requirements at home for 9th, 10th or 11th grade.  Careful planning will help avoid any last-minute graduation surprises.

Staying on grade-level may not be part of everyone’s short term homeschool plan, but if it is important to your family, there are ways to do so successfully.


A big thank you to Melissa Robb and ENRICHri for helping us answer these important questions!