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When my oldest daughter was almost three, we started thinking about homeschooling.
My husband had some experience with homeschool; we had many friends who intended or already were homeschooling. I had some college under my belt for elementary education, thinking that God was calling me to teach (but not really having a specific plan for that.)
My happy, chubby-cheeked, golden-curled toddler was well behaved, curious and delightfully obedient. I wasn’t worried about whether or not she would be a good student. Myself on the other hand… I was near delivery with our second child and not very well self-disciplined.
I wasn’t sure how well *I* would do with homeschooling. (But I wanted to try.)
Then, and over the past eleven years, I have been asked the same question: “Will you homeschool for high school?” The answer has always been the same: “We’ll see when we get there.”
My response has been, “let’s take it one year at a time. There’s no need to plan THAT far ahead..” My philosophy is still pretty much the same with two exceptions:
- I’ve been certain for a few years now that we WILL indeed homeschool through high school.
- When you get to a certain point, you HAVE to start planning “that” far ahead — for the high school transcript.
Why Homeschool High School?
- Why not?
- There are plenty of high quality resources.
- We’ve learned a lot about homeschooling along the way.
- Tailor education to interests.
- More time with kids before they leave home.
- God hasn’t put it on my heart to stop and put them in public school.
Q: “But what about sports (and other extracurricular classes)?”
A: In public high school, you get to pick and choose your extracurricular classes. Not everyone has to go up for basketball or football. I never participated in sports myself; I chose choir, band, art and foreign languages. My oldest is also not interested in sports, but if she were, I would sign her up for the homeschool basketball league. Since she’s not, we’ll be adding other extras that SHE is interested in: art, computer programming, graphic design, etc. Not only will these fill her transcript requirements but they help tailor her education to a field in which she is interested.
Q: “But what about Driver’s Ed?”
A: She will take Drivers Ed. Most children do take this class through their public school system, but not all. I know several people who chose not to, who took the class through the local DMV. These days, you can do it all online! So yes, she will take Driver’s Ed. Being the homeschool mom that I am, though, I’ve been teaching her the rules of the road over the past two years as she observed from the passenger seat. She’s ready for the class and will take it soon.
Q: “But what about PROM??”
A: Why is prom one of the biggest things people fret about? Prom is, after all, just a dance. The education and transcript worry me so much more. That said, there are homeschool proms allovertheplace. There can be prom. Problem solved. (P.S. Should she be asked to prom – public school prom – well, that would be possible, but would depend on the boy!) ;0)
Q: “But what about socialization?”
A: That question never goes away. But honestly, I think when people ask about socialization in reference to high school, what they are really asking about is the child’s “social life.” Would you agree? And while it’s true that a child’s social life might look different for a homeschooler vs. a public schooler, it’s also true that social lives look different for every homeschooler, and for every public schooler. I think that has less to do with education choice and more to do with personality types, social status, family types and other factors.
When I was a kid, I was a very social creature, but I grew up as a lone extrovert in a family of introverts who lived far out into the country. I did have a little bit of a social life, but most of it happened at school or over the phone. Once I learned to drive I was able to participate a bit more, but there were limits. I am aware of the needs and the issues. Trust me, I take my daughter’s social life into consideration. It’s not the end all/be all, but I definitely want to make sure she gets enough time with her friends.
We have monthly “friend days” planned for this semester, there are monthly homeschool days at the skating rink, twice a month we head to a friend’s house to pick up our co-op produce and visit, one of her friends is coming over each week for guitar lessons and a short visit, we have other parties and field trips coming up, and we try to get together with other friends in between. Outside of all of that, there is texting and phone calls. I know that friendships are important, and we won’t ignore that.
Q: What about college?
A: Homeschool kids get in to college just fine, so long as they have the necessary high school credits and can pass the entrance exam (or SAT or ACT.) One thing we are doing as we embark on this high school journey is making sure that we will include not only the essential classes but also the extra classes, the volunteer work and job experiences, and other hobbies, etc, that will create a “well rounded” high school career that colleges and scholarships will appreciate. About halfway through we also plan to start incorporating some dual credit classes through a local community college.
What if Homeschooling High School Is Too Hard?
I’m not going to lie; my daughter’s math book kind of scares me. But you know what? I know people who can tutor math.
So far, my husband has been able to help with math when we needed it, but should the need arise, I will seek outside help (for math or science or anything.)
Why? Because their education is important! I get that, I really do. I think that is why many people (homeschooler and non-homeschoolers alike) worry about homeschooling high school.
Come on, though, homeschool moms! We are LEARNERS. That’s what we do best! While we are teaching our kids, we are learning how to teach them, how to homeschool, how to balance, how to do a lot of stuff. We can learn how to homeschool high school, what needs to go on a transcript, how to give them a well rounded high school career that colleges and scholarships will love, how to seek out and apply for scholarships, and how to otherwise prepare our kids for college and life beyond.
We got this.
Yes, there must be a plan, and as I said at the beginning, at a certain point you do have to start looking ahead. In fact, I started planning out the basics of a high school program for our fourteen year old TWO YEARS AGO.
Though I’m not required to follow the same track as the public school system (as a private school for the state of Texas, I get to set the course plan and requirements for graduation,) looking at the structure for the public school system isn’t a bad place to start. So what does the state require?
So we have a plan, we have a purpose, now we just need some perseverance. In some ways, homeschooling high school takes more time, in other ways it takes less. As my child gets older and older, she is able to do more and more on her own. However, as the material gets harder, bigger, and deeper, it takes more time. To really do it well and do it right–time is important.
So far the biggest thing I have noticed that we need to homeschool high school is just that – TIME. Time spent working through the harder material together, time working on material independently, time spent reviewing the material together and checking for mastery, time spent completing what needs to be done — and also time with family, time with friends, and time to rest.
In this busy life that constant screams for more time, that will most likely prove to be our biggest high school challenge– more so than algebra, or physics, or chemistry. “Time well spent” is our new motto.
All year long I have waged a personal war with mastery over my time and I’m sure this is no coincidence! Now that the school year has begun anew, this hasn’t gotten any easier. It will be a challenge for me, for sure, but not an insurmountable one. We can do this!
Yes, We Are Homeschooling High School
So, to the answer the question (again,) that I hear every so often (and more frequently as we begin this high school journey,)– YES.
Yes, we are homeschooling for high school. Yes, I do think we will succeed. Yes, I will make sure my daughter gets everything she needs to graduate, to get into college and to live on her own. Yes, she will get a driver’s license. Yes, she will go to prom. Yes, she will have a social life.
And it’s going to be okay.
For more homeschooling high school posts, you might want to check out: