Homeschooling High School….
I am so happy to be sharing an awesome post by Jen McDonald today. I’ve been meaning to put some words together to share a homeschool post for a while now, and when I came across this post I was like “She said it better than I could!” I wanted to highlight all over my computer screen. 🙂 I think you’ll enjoy this!
Quick note — Curriculum updates? Every year I do try to do a curriculum update for my family, (though I don’t think I got to that last year…) so in my next post I will share a quick post with updates on what each of my boys are doing this next year. I also might add a few favorite books they’ve been reading… So stay tuned for that!
Meanwhile…let me give a quick welcome to Jen McDonald: Jen is a military spouse who spent three years living here on Oahu. We never met, but it turns out we have mutual friends. (It really is a small world!) Jen has written an Amazon bestselling book to support military spouses, and has a blog packed with great articles. Jen also homeschooled her four kids (even as her family moved several times –Bless her!) Be sure to check out Jen’s two brand new podcasts coming out this month (one for military spouses, and the other called Reinventing Midlife — which sounds hilarious!) Without further ado…Here’s Jen-
From Jen: I originally wrote this in 2014. Since then, all of our kids have graduated high school and three are through college. Our oldest two are married. All that to say, my thoughts are pretty much the same about homeschooling through high school. It is definitely not for everyone, but if you’re considering it, I hope this encourages you! At the end of this post, I’ll list some of my favorite high school curricula.
We just graduated our third child from homeschooling, with our last one going into her junior year. Looking back, I recall the feelings of mild panic as our first child headed into his high school years and wondering if we could do it justice.
While homeschooling is not for every family, it’s been something that has worked for us. I’m sidestepping a bit the common questions that crop up like…
What about prom? (They can still go to a homeschool prom or with friends to a school prom if that’s something they want.)
Can I teach algebra? (You don’t have to–that’s what tutorials and correspondence courses are for!) and
Will my child have friends? (Guffaw—we have to rein in the social life at times!)
…but instead will talk for a minute about WHY homeschool high school?
Why do this crazy thing? Why take the responsibility for transcripts and test scores and credits (oh my!) on oneself?
Some reasons we’ve loved homeschooling high school.
Time to read, time to think big thoughts, time to spend with family and friends. Time to go on trips or explore local areas thoroughly. Time to read books out loud together and create shared memories. Though these years were also very busy, I feel we gave our teens the gift of time.
Each of our children has a different bent–one was a baseball player, one a drummer, the next a photographer, and the last is pursuing musical theater and Irish dance. Some are more gifted in math, others are excellent writers.
Though they each needed to cover certain basics during these years, it was a gift to tailor coursework to each individual’s talents, while also helping shore up their weaknesses.
Something my husband always said through the years was that we weren’t homeschooling to close doors for our kids, but to open them. If we ever found a door closed to an interest that was important to them, we found a workaround, like working with a school district for dual enrollment for sports participation.
Realizing One Size Doesn’t Fit All
Something interesting happened when we stepped outside the box, educationally speaking. Our children learned to challenge the status quo, asking questions like,
- Is college right for me?
- What if I want to go straight into a trade?
- How about a gap year or semester to work or take a missions trip?
- If I want to get a degree, what should I look at realistically?
My kids are comfortable asking much bigger, far-reaching questions than I ever did at their age. Maybe they would have anyway even if they hadn’t homeschooled, but already having an alternative educational experience seemed to give them permission to look at life differently.
There are many other reasons homeschooling simply worked for our family. Moving around as a military family was a big one–our oldest son lived in three different districts during his high school years, and homeschooling offered stability.
If you’re on the fence about homeschooling high school, I hope you’ll consider it. If you’re a homeschooling parent, I hope you’ll share what YOU loved about homeschooling the high school years!
Find Jen’s original post (with some suggested high school home school curriculums,) HERE.
I’ll be back soon with our family’s homeschool plan for the upcoming year. (even if I don’t feel entirely ready to start…next week!?) 🙂