Creatively Homeschool High School with Out-of-the-Box Teens (an interview with Heather Woodie)

homeschooling high school creative teens heather woodie interview

Homeschooling high school can sometimes feel overwhelming, especially if you have out-of-the-box, creative teens. Can you really leave behind convention and homeschool high school in unique, effective ways? And can your high schooler get into a top-tier university if you take this unconventional approach to education? Heather Woodie says that you can, and she encouraged us to think outside-the-box in the latest interview in the Homeschool Conversations series.

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Project Based Homeschooling High School with Out-of-the-Box Teens interview with Heather Woodie

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Who is Heather Woodie?

Heather Woodie ​is on a mission to help families with Out-of-the-Box Teens homeschool high school with peace and confidence. ​Homeschooling four of her own Out-of-the-Box Teens, two of whom graduated and are thriving at their dream ​schools with large scholarships and an Ivy League admission, Heather wants to mentor other families to homeschool differently with purpose and peace. ​She went from a public school science educator with a Masters Degree in Curriculum and Instruction, Secondary Education, to homeschooling four kids in a project based, relaxed environment. ​If she can leave behind convention and homeschool Out-of-the-Box Teens, meeting them where they are, so can you!

Project Based Homeschooling High School with Out-of-the-Box Teens interview with Heather Woodie

Watch my interview with Heather Woodie

Show Notes {with video time stamps}

Journey to Homeschooling {1:25}

The Woodie family has 4 kids ranging in age from 14 to 21. They began homeschooling when their oldest was in first grade. They brought him home from public school in the middle of first grade because the school couldn’t meet the needs of a kid who was beyond what they were learning in the classroom.

Initially there was a transition time. Heather’s primary mission when they brought their son home was to help him love learning again. He had been so curious before, but staying inside the box at school had really taken that away from him.

Heather also had to deschool herself, getting out of the mindset of a public school teacher.

Working with their kids, meeting them where they are, has shaped how their family homeschools, not only in the younger years, but all the way through high school.

Homeschooling high school with out-of-the-box teens {4:11}

Watching her kids thrive in college and as adults, having come from such a unique approach to homeschooling, has been a pretty wonderful experience for Heather Woodie.

Homeschooling a teenager, in my own experience as well as Heather’s, encourages teens to maintain a delight in learning.

“It gives our kids an advantage when you get to university,” Heather added. Teens who have learned how to take ownership of their learning while they’re at home will be well prepared for that college environment.

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Homeschooling High School by Design

Misconceptions about homeschooling outside-the-box teens {5:40}

Heather has actually written an entire free ebook sharing the common misconceptions that are holding you and your teen back.

Do your teens really have to fit the mold? Is it really necessary for them to wake up early, for example, just so one day they can get up early for a job?

“Kids who don’t get up and hit the books by 8 am can do that when asked to do that later… Your kids will be ok,” Heather assured us.

“Creativity for creative teens is not the icing on the cake. It’s the foundation of who they are as people, and it makes all their other work better for having started there.”

Creative projects are not merely a bonus for after you get through the other work. Heather asks her creative teens to start with who they are and how they operate, valuing who they are as individuals.

creative teens high school homeschool heather woodie

Transcripts and College for non-traditional high school homeschool {7:59}

You can earn high school credit with project-based learning, Heather assured us. She shared two simple tips for creating a traditional transcript from non-traditional studies:

  • Find a simple, recognizable name for your course (for example, “Sewing and Design”)
  • Quantify what your student is doing in ways other than test scores

Both of Heather’s homeschool high school graduates are thriving at their dream schools with large scholarships and Ivy League admissions. But their journeys to their dreams have not looked just the same.

Heather Woodie’s oldest son had a different type of path. He was a student with a chronic illness, which changed the schedule of his high school, but did not keep him from achieving his goals. He’s currently pursuing a professional writing degree at Purdue.

{Heather has many resources and advice for homeschooling a teen who is struggling with a chronic illness.}

Blog, She Wrote

Heather’s daughter is at Cornell for fiber science and apparel design. She applied and got one of just a few slots within the design department. She knew she wanted to go to this particular program early on, and that spurred her to work towards that goal. That included her taking initiative to make up the gaps in some courses that were needed to apply to an Ivy League program.

Heather encouraged us to be mentors to our students as they pursue their dreams.

homeschool high school heather woodie

Questions parents and students should consider as they design their unique high school plan while looking towards future goals {17:36}

Your high schooler needs to be at the table for the high school plan,” Heather said. Obviously your high school freshman and sophomore will have less input than a senior, but as the high school years progress your teens need to be taking ownership of their goals and their plans.

Heather encouraged parents to allow their students to dream, and to explore what they might want to do. This may not look like what you expect at first, but we can come alongside them in the process.

Homeschooling for College by Design

Looking back on the early years {20:40}

Heather reminded us that it’s really all going to be ok if we’re faithful to the process. In those early years, the stakes are so low. Enjoy those early years with your littles and take a deep breath!

Find Heather Woodie Online

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Check out all the other interviews in my Homeschool Conversations series!

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