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Guys, listen, I have a confession to make. I never really planned on homeschooling high school. My plan was to enroll my kids in online public school. I mean, I couldn’t homeschool high school, right?! But, then I met this girl who was pretty confident about this homeschooling high school thing, and she reassured me that I COULD do it. And now? I’m SCARED, but assured that it’s not that hard to homeschool high school and now I plan on going for it!
I know there are many of you out there who plan to quit homeschooling after middle school and I want you to know that you don’t have to! So, I invited my friend Ann HERE to talk to you guys about those fears you have on homeschooling high school. I hope she knocks your socks off 😉 For more on homeschool fears, check out the series here.
I know what you’re thinking right now. You’re like: “I don’t really care what she has to say about this; I KNOW I can’t do the homeschool high school thing; I will ruin my child; and we’ve already decided that public school is the only place he/she can have all the opportunities a teen should have. I don’t even know why I’m reading this. I’m done homeschooling after 8th grade and that is that.”
But the fact is you ARE reading it, which means I get 1000 words or so to make you think twice. Just give me a chance; that’s all I ask. 🙂
You see, I was exactly where you are. I had kids in elementary and middle school, and I was looking towards homeschooling high school and freaking out about all the ways I could totally mess it up. The amazing thing is that little by little I discovered it was actually a very doable thing, even for an average gal like me.
I’ve actually graduated four of my kiddos from our homeschool now, and the fifth (and youngest) is entering 9th grade this fall. And I’d like to tell you why YOU should keep going.
Homeschooling high school could actually be the best years of your homeschool journey, like they have been for me. Here’s why:
1) You literally are just now getting to the good stuff.
It’s not “George Washington was the first President” any more. Now it’s “Was it Biblical for the Founding Fathers to rise up against the King of England?” Regardless of your stance on that issue, you see the difference, right? In high school you get to work through some really deep stuff with your teen. Discussions are SO MUCH FUN, because your kid has rational opinions now (well, mostly, lol). They write papers that make you laugh out loud or cry real tears. Their personalities are forming (more on that later), and you get to see it happen in real time as you encounter weightier topics together. Teens are really NEAT people when you take the time to get to know them. Don’t be afraid of them!
2) Don’t you remember your high school years?
Were you an assured, self-confident, could-handle-anything individual? I’m not even one of those NOW, hello, and I certainly wasn’t back in the day, either. Your teen is a vulnerable and even fragile fragment of humanity. Why throw them to the wolves of peer pressure and government-mandated sex ed and profanity and the basically anti-Christian culture found in the standard public (and yes, even private — even Christian, to some extent) school? That is a recipe for you to watch their eyes go from clear and bright, shining with innocence, to clouded, troubled, and possibly hard and distant.
I know the motive is that your Christian teen will be a light shining in a dark place. I contend that most are not ready for that yet in this insecure, hormonal, emotional stage of life. I think the safety of home, where people have their best interests at heart and will ALWAYS stand by them, is the best place for them to figure out who they are. Unless you want them to figure themselves out as someone completely different than you imagined they would be.
And the opportunities you think they’ll miss out on? Read this to hear a perspective you may not have thought of before: Opportunities My Teens Are Missing Because We Homeschool High School.
3) One of the things about teens is they need a LOT of sleep.
And going to school outside the home means they absolutely without-a-doubt WON’T get enough. Can they survive on 6 hours a night? Sure, but why should they? Why should they have to walk through their days exhausted, cranky, and subject to every germ that passes by? When they could instead by sleeping until their body is fully rested, giving it the strength it needs to process all the physical growth they are going through, and at the same time creating a reasonably happy individual? We’re all grumpy when we’re tired — teens are no different. I think a lot of teen angst could be avoided if sleep were given a priority in their lives.
4) Then there is the whole topic of what they will be studying at school.
There is only so much individualizing they can do to their course of study at the public school. There is no time to spend focusing on their own interests, like they can when they are homeschooled.
My daughter was able to practice violin for four hours every day because we made it part of her coursework plan. She would not have been able to do that if she were gone from the house from 7am to 4pm every day, with homework to complete on top of that. Another daughter was able to take a course about weather — do they have one of those at your local high school?
Homeschooling high school allows them to pursue what interests them, which leads to a greater joy in learning. Or if they need math at a lower or higher level, they are not separated out and made to look “different.” Or maybe they learn best by DOING rather than listening or reading. In your home that is possible. In the local school, public or private, the masses are taught all the same way. But is it really the best way for everyone?
5) It opens up doors for job opportunities
Speaking of doing things differently, only homeschooled teens can get a job DURING SCHOOL HOURS (although this may depend on your state law). My son is one of those kids who really hates cracking the books but LOVES going to his job. So we let him work 20-30 hours during the school year and gave him high school credit for it. Talk about a maturity boost — there he learned a solid work ethic in an environment of responsible adults who held him accountable (because they are the only others working during the day), not surrounded by peers trying to take the easy way out (such as the evening shifts at the local fast-food joint). And he made the kind of money that enabled him to go on a trip to Germany that his dad and I would never have been able to pay for.
A teen who goes away from home for school is not the same as one who stays within the sphere of family for most of his day. A teen who stays home can have a great influence on the younger children, showing them an example of industriousness, helping them with their own schoolwork, coming up with ideas for creative fun, etc. The family remains interdependent, rather than one member becoming an independent entity who isn’t really involved in the day-to-day. That will happen soon enough, when they go away to college. Keeping them in the nest just that much longer provides the opportunity for relationships to grow and strengthen just that much more.
7) And yea, the whole getting them ready for college thing? It’s really not as scary as it seems.
You truly are perfectly capable of making sure they have everything they need to get into college and succeed there. Trust me; if I can do it, anyone can! I’ve even written a book about it, taking you step-by-step through doing the research for yourself to making goals to crafting a coursework plan and choosing curriculum. All with printable forms for you to fill in each step of the way. You really can be CONFIDENT about homeschooling high school; I promise! See my book here: Cure the Fear of Homeschooling High School: How to Be Sure You’re Not Missing Anything.
Lookee there, you made it to the end! Are you maybe giving the high school thing a second chance in your head now? It will be SO WORTH IT. Challenging, yes, but rewarding, too. Just like all the years you’ve already homeschooled. You CAN do it, just like you have done all along! 🙂
And here’s something really neat: whether you’re still on the fence or I’ve convinced you completely, you can join my FB group to hear what other moms (besides just me) have to say — almost 15,000 of them! Come ask any questions you might have about your fears or concerns, and you will receive lotsa encouragement and practical help. Even the NAME of the group is reassuring: It’s Not that Hard to Homeschool High School. See? You are not alone!
P.S. You may not know it, but I’ve written a guest post for Misty before. Check out 5 Homeschool Moms You Do NOT Want to Be Like for some helpful advice from a mom who has been all five of them at one time or another, lol. HUGS!!
Ann is the (very) middle-aged mom of five who writes at Annie & Everything about calming the chaos of homeschool life. She says, “I don’t do complicated!” and is known for her down-to-earth common sense about all things homeschool and the homeschool lifestyle. Having graduated four children (with one more to go), she has a heart for helping families choose to homeschool all the way through high school. To that end, she has written the ebook Cure the Fear of Homeschooling High School: How to Be Sure You’re Not Missing Anything, and she admins the popular FB group called It’s Not that Hard to Homeschool High School to give encouragement and support to moms of homeschooled teens. She and her family, including two dogs and three cats, live in rural Missouri.