Homeschooling high school level students can be heaven or hell depending on what has led you to do it.
My children have always homeschooled and when given the option of continuing their high school education at home with me or at the high school where their father teaches, they opted enthusiastically to continue their 9th through 12th years of school at home. It has been the most fun we’ve had homeschooling.
The hard work of homeschooling for me came in the early grades where I had to teach them the basics of reading and math and tying their shoes. There was very little they could do without me reading the instructions for them or assisting them in collection of supplies. High school has been the payoff for all those years I read aloud to them. Now, they read aloud to me as I work in the kitchen or iron – and then we can discuss the book’s character motivations and the author’s techniques.
High school students are old enough to read, watch, and participate in activities that I can enjoy as an adult. Our Burger King days where I would watch them play in the plastic human habit-trail contraptions have become intellectual debates about music techniques over lattes at Starbucks. The early years of correcting language exercises is now spent enjoying reading their stories. The early years of trying not to cringe during music practice have become hours of enjoyment listening to them play.
My grade schoolers had to sit close by so I could keep them “focused” on the math page at hand. My high schoolers can be handed an assignment sheet and their texts at the beginning of the week and left to study in their own rooms, listening to their own music. They come out repeatedly all day to where I am in the house with a question, an observation, a finished story or project that they want my opinion upon. At the end of the week, they turn in all the assignments for grading and I make up the next week’s assignment sheets. Home education through High School has been intellectually challenging for me and many days my children teach me what they’ve learned rather than the other way around.
Because my homeschooled teens have not learned that being with Mom is uncool they enjoy helping me shop and do chores around the house. They are both jealous of “private time” with Mom and like to have me sit by their bedsides while they talk about anything and everything with me. I like the people my children have grown up to be and enjoy that I have this brief time with them before they pursue their own lives in other places. I hear other parents bemoan how horrible it is to cope with teenagers – homeschooling has made that a non-issue.
The worst thing for me about homeschooling teens is driver’s education. Sure, I send them to a driving school for the required hours of droning instruction and the Blood Alley videos but the hours of required practice before applying for a license are done with – gulp – me in the car! It’s also a nerve-wracking experience as a homeschool mother to send them off for job interviews – have I coached them enough on how to impress somebody else besides me?
The best thing about homeschooling high school level students is that our community college accepts high school students. They can take a beginning college level class “concurrent” with their high school classes. This way when my teens are ready for a subject level higher than old Mom can handle I can have them get college credit for taking those classes with a professor. It makes a nice “baby step” transition from homeschooling to college for them to take one or two classes at the Jr. college while still doing the rest of their coursework with me.
Now, the experience of taking a teen out of institutionalized schooling at the high school level and transitioning them to a homeschool setting is much more difficult and demanding. It can be done and often with outstanding results, but it poses much more wear and tear on the parents. What I can say from personal experience for those who are wondering if continuing their child’s homeschool experience through high school is worth the effort – parents, the best is yet to come! Had my children chosen to enter high school I would have missed the fruit of all those early years of home education labor.