Homeschool to College Success!

Worried about getting all of the pieces right in the high school homeschool puzzle?

Through the Door will help you with what you need, from a homeschool perspective, to confidently face high school and college.

This book & worktext set will help you and your high school student breeze through the steps of college and scholarship applications, as well as brushing up on study habits and life skills.  The worktext includes activities, worksheets, and planning pages, and accompanies the book.

homeschool high school college

Yes! I want a blueprint for homeschooling high school!

Text modules include:

College Prep–

  • Before Back-to-School
  • What Colleges Want from Homeschoolers
  • Create a Successful College Applicant
  • Choosing a College Major
  • Exemplary Entrance Exams
  • Dual Enrollment
  • AP Exams vs CLEP
  • High School Transcripts
  • Higher Ed, Worth the Cost?
  • Scholarships

Study Skills–

  • Become a Study Sensei
  • Best Planners
  • Habits of Highly Successful Students
  • Maximize Your Memory
  • Reading for Real Depth
  • Remembering More from Your Reading
  • Study in Cycles
  • Next-Level Note-Taking
  • Effective Essay Writing
  • Rocking a Research Paper
  • Test-Taking Strategies in the Classroom
  • Tackle Test Anxiety
  • Using Your Old Tests
  • Talking with Teachers & Professors

Life Skills–

  • Get a Leg Up on Summer Jobs
  • Job Application Process
  • Ace that Job Interview
  • Balancing a Checkbook
  • Taxes for Teens
  • Understanding Loans and Interest
FAQ Who am I?
With 20+ years experience in education and counseling, I have a passion for helping other homeschool moms.  I’ve worked in elementary, middle, and high schools in both a teaching and school counseling capacity. For the past seven years, I have been homeschooling our two boys – one gifted and one special needs – and understand the struggles that many moms face.

Who is the online self-paced workshop for? 
It’s for parents and students in middle and high school.  Many of the modules are for the college-bound student, but it is helpful to the career-bound student as well.

How will it be delivered? 
This is a downloadable book and accompanying workbook.

Yes! I want a blueprint for homeschooling high school!

Top Ten Best STEAM Subscription Boxes

Top Ten Best STEAM – Science, Technology, Engineering, Art & Math – Subscription Boxes

The use of hands-on projects is a great way to reinforce concepts learned while having fun! With the subscription box phenomenon, you can get all the pieces needed for a project delivered straight to your door, along with extras like video lessons. Here are some of our favorite STEAM – science, technology, engineering, art, and math – boxes to encourage growth and a love of these subjects…

Some of these boxes have fantastic coupon codes for first time buyers, so be sure to check the purchase information and look for the code!

Technology, Engineering & Math

Craftsman Crate  (click name to see box)

This is the perfect box for teens who want hands-on projects. It’s also a convenient way to try out new hobbies, use your hands to create, learn skills you can keep using, and have fun, too!  Comes with real tools, complete kits, and a new project every month.  There are also video reviews for this box on the Homeschool On the Range YouTube channel.

Each month is a new project based on the old-world craftsman skills from the 18th and 19th centuries, and they combine math, engineering, and art skills. Your students will be using real-world math as they measure materials for woodworking, create proportional dimensions in woodcarving, and calculate how many chains are needed for each row of chain maille. They’ll also put artistic skills to use in life drawing and leather tooling!

Make Crate   (click name to see box)

Build Cool Machines! Code Your Creations! Grow As You Go! Bring your child’s STEM learning alive with fun hands-on projects that get kids excited about engineering and coding. Turn basic electrical components into working machines while learning about circuits, sensors, and more! Learn to code with easy step-by-step help!

Using the Arduino platform, students learn basic electronics and computer coding skills. In our digital age, these are the building blocks for innovative technologies! Middle and high school students can get in on the ground floor with Make Crate projects, which walk you through the beginning concepts, step by step. Each project also comes with an educator curriculum and videos to help you, the parent, work with your child for deeper understanding.

Brick Loot  (click name to see box)

The perfect box for Lego enthusiasts, each month you will get unique items including LEGO, LEGO compatible products, and brick items.  These are bricks that you won’t find in any store, and they’re pretty unique! Some of the themes we’ve received in the past include Ancient Mythology, gaming, Thanksgiving, magic….the list goes on…each box is uniquely fabulous!

Building blocks are the tools for young engineers, and this box combines both the structural design and math calculations aspect with pop culture through themes such as Star Wars, Guardians of the Galaxy, and Christmas! Each box contains a pre-designed build, extra blocks for creating an additional design, a poster, design booklet, stickers, plus other cool gear (such as t-shirts) to get your child excited about building. Perfect for the Lego fan who wants something new and unique.

Creation Crate   (click name to see box)

Learn how to program and build electronics with new and more challenging projects delivered to your door each month!   Creation Crate uses hands-on projects to teach 21st century skills! Users receive a new project/course every 30 days with access to an Online Classroom. Projects become more challenging as you learn new skills. All projects and courses are approved by

Combing coding and electronics, this box fosters creative thinking and designing innovative technologies at the middle and high school level. Each box comes with access to educational curriculum to supplement the projects, and the boxes build upon each other. With each new project, your student will reinforce skills learned earlier and then learn another new electronics skill!


Atomic Post   (click name to see box)

Explore space exploration and the specialized machines built to study the dark frontier and the mysterious worlds floating around us. Each month’s package may include pins, mission patches, stickers, info cards, concept art, or more about a specific spacecraft, its mission, its design, and its journey.

There are two options here – space and prehistoric life. We’ve used the space exploration one, and the boxes are fantastic for the astronaut dreamer! Box contents are designed to encourage further study of the topic through research, and can be used to prompt writing assignments as well.


Beautiful Discovery (click name to see box)

Beautiful Discovery kits use visually and kinesthetically engaging patterns of nature to unleash your hidden pattern power and give you STEAM skills. Items include eco-games, art, origami, drag and drop code, models, natural wonders, full color informational cards, full color picture books and booklets, paints and colored pencils, drawing sheets with art lessons on patterns seen in the natural wonders.

Perfect for the student who is hesitant about math, but all about art! This box combines the beauty of nature with real-world math through projects with seashells, crystals, dried leaves, flowers, for their beautiful patterns. There’s even an computer coding element with simple drag and drop block coding that will simulate the patterns seen in the natural wonders studied in each box.

Owl Crate   (click name to see box)

When you join Owl Crate, you’ll get a cool themed box of high quality young adult books and bookish items. There are two young adult options – writer and artist.  YA Artist subscription comes with one new YA book and a new art medium every month! The YA writers subscription includes one YA book and writing materials that will inspire any modern day writer!

Each month brings a new book with hands-on projects to accompany it. Your student can choose between artistic projects or writing projects that will center around the theme of the reading selection, and the box includes all materials and extra curriculum needed for these projects. Perfect for the creative teen!

Salty Owl   (click name to see box)

Salty Owl Box is an innovative activity box that is made for families with kids 9+. An art project, a new game, a unique snack, a recipe, and a monthly movie pick does the prep work for you. All the materials, instructions and inspiration you need is shipped to your home.

For the family that likes to learn together, this is a unit study in a box! Each month has a theme, and all of the supplies are centered around it. There is a cooking project and hands-on creation (drawing, painting, building) to accompany the movie selection….and it’s all included, so you don’t have to dig up any of the pieces!

Palatteful Packs   (click name to see box)

Each month, you will receive a selection of art supplies. You’ll get to try a wide range of products, from pens to paint. You will receive everything you need to create a work of art. The supplies in the box are ideal for beginners, professionals, or anyone in between.

With three different options to choose from, you can encourage a budding artist, exposure younger children to various medium, or create an entire art curriculum for older children from the tools and projects included here! They also have a YouTube channel with tutorials for the lessons.

Teen+ Comic Crate   (click name to see box)

Teen+ Comic Crate has comics with detailed artwork, advanced language, violence, and occasional profanity/suggestive themes. Examples of Teen+ Rated comics include Avengers, X-men, Justice League, Wolverine, and Wonder Woman.  Comic books are a great reading experience for all types of readers. Reluctant Readers enjoy comic books because the short bursts of text and vivid images are easier to read than the solid text in a prose book. English Language Learners can match the text to the images in comic books to help decode and understand the text.  Also available in PG and G rated.

Reluctant readers can appreciate the artistic format of the illustrations while still getting the content from the book. They are not all pop culture-based, and include some scientific concepts that can be taught through graphic novels. Use the Comic Crate as a jumping off point for having your students write their own comic! Choose a scientific topic, research the basics, and create a 6-10 page comic illustrating those concepts.

Subscription boxes make an excellent gift suggestion for family members who aren’t sure what to get….they are the gift that continues to give each month, and this selection also helps boost your homeschooling! So which one of these do you think your students would most enjoy?

Creating an IEP for the Homeschool Special Needs Student

Parents of special needs children have a difficult row to hoe…one fraught with worry, sleepless nights, and a seemingly never-ending list of doctor and therapy appointments.  Some hope that public schools will help address their child’s needs.  Some avoid the school system and go for the tailored education approach.  There is no right or wrong path to take…only the one that is right for your family.

If the special needs student attends traditional school, they will be given an IEP – an individualized education plan.  This is a legal document that defines what a student needs according to his or her diagnosis.  It outlines a special education program that provides tailored instruction and support services, such as speech or occupational therapy.

Within the homeschool, an IEP can also be a valuable tool.  By sitting down and taking stock of the student’s needs – really taking stock and writing it down – you can evaluate where you’re at, where you want to be, and design a plan for how to get from point A to point B.

Crafting the Individualized Education Plan

When crafting the IEP, consider the following:

  • What are your student’s biggest struggles?  Include academics, motor skills, and life skills.
  • What is your student’s preferred mode of learning?  Visual, audio, kinesthetic?  How can you tailor lessons to that learning mode?
  • Realistically, where is your student today?  Where would you like your student to reach?  (Be realistic.)  Which ONE goal would make the biggest difference in your student’s performance, either in the classroom or in daily life?

The first thing you’ll want to do is take an honest look at where your student is performing.  It doesn’t matter how many grade levels behind that may be, just record the level of current performance in each subject.  This will give you a realistic picture of where you are.

Second, list any support services that you will need, such as speech, physical, or occupational therapy.  This plan is appropriate for students with mild to moderate special needs, as students will severe special needs most likely have been working with a provider since shortly after birth.  Also address any life skills you’d like to see addressed.

Create academic goals for your student.  Make them realistic, or you’ll be setting both you and your student up for frustration.  For example, if he is six grades behind in reading level, aim for growth of two grades per year.  You might be surprised and find that you have a ‘jumper’ – a late bloomer who ‘jumps’ six grade levels in one year!  Write down your goals, and include strategies for how you will meet them.

Create life skills and support services goals for your student.  Write them down, addressing strategies for how you will meet each.  For example, ‘Speech Therapy, 30 minutes three times a week’.  Some of these skills and goals may seem basic, but when you’ve identified the need and written it down as a goal, you’re more likely to address it!

At the end of the school year, reassess your student to see which strategies worked.  Given the informal nature of homeschooling, feel free to continually reassess and alter therapy / strategies as needed.  This is one of the perks of the individual attention you can offer at homeschool.

Some homeschooling families are fortunate enough to have speech and occupational therapy services offered through the school.  For these families, they have created an IEP with the public school as part of the process for obtaining these services.  Oklahoma is not a state, however, that provides educational support services to homeschoolers. 

Once you have determined your student’s needs, see if your medical insurance (including state insurance) will cover any of the services.  If they will, your family doctor can refer you to a provider.  If they will not, you can begin working with your child at home until the situation changes.  Check out Speech Therapy for Homeschool and Occupational Therapy in Homeschool for free / frugal therapy ideas.

Download the FREE templates for creating an IEP in your homeschool.

Is Virtual School the Same as Homeschool?

Connections Academy, Epic, K12….all of these virtual public school programs are often confused with ‘homeschooling.’  Today we’re going to answer some of the most common questions that we hear.  Each student has different needs, and these options might be the right fit for you family, but they’re not actually homeschooling…

If we’re ‘at home,’ isn’t it homeschool?

  • Homeschools are parent-directed and privately-funded.
    • Homeschool families are responsible for providing the curriculum and instruction.  There are no funds set aside for homeschoolers, and they are usually restricted from participating in public school activities.  Curriculum and activities are paid for by the family.  At the Book Shack, we strive to help families ease that burden through our resource room.
    • Parents have the freedom to choose curriculum and resources that match their worldview.  They decide how to plan education and track records.  (Some states also require parents to keep records, complete testing and / or portfolio review, and take standardized tests.  Oklahoma currently does not.)
    • On the flipside, there are also no government regulations (in the state of Oklahoma).
  • Virtual schools are government-directed and publicly-funded.
    • Virtual school programs provide the curriculum, instruction, and access to extracurriculars at no expense to the family.  Teachers are usually state-certified, and parents do not play an instructional role.  This is “public school done at home.”
    • Students must comply with state standards for testing, as well as all other laws applicable to school-age students (eg, vaccinations).
    • The virtual schooling program must be completed at / by a certain time and in a particular order.  There is no time for student-directed ‘bunny trails.’  A minimum amount of ‘seat time’ must also be spent for each class.
    • Virtual public schools are free, as in they are paid for by tax dollars.  Like brick and mortar public schools, however, there are still extra fees that come up.  The price of a ‘free education,’ however, is the freedom to choose how to educate your student.

If I use virtual schooling, and want to call myself a homeschooler, why do you care?

  • Because the rights and freedoms of homeschools are different from ‘traditional’ schools, it is important to maintain a distinction.  Each state has their own legal requirements.
  • The Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) maintains a position that to confuse the two groups will eventually erode protections that homeschool families currently have, and fought hard to receive.  These rights, such as freedom to choose our own curriculum, were hard-won by previous generations of homeschool families, and we would be remiss to let them slip away.

How does the Book Shack & Homeschool House feel about virtual public schooling?

  • The Book Shack does not offer resources to families who are using virtual public schooling, as their materials are already covered by the state.
  • The Homeschool House does offer its space and classes to virtual public school families.  This is a community effort to bring together all children who are schooling at home.