Friday, August 18, 2017

Isn't It Hard to Homeschool High School?

Today's topic in our Back to School blog hop is "Dear Homeschool Mom."  I'd like to address this to the moms (and dads) who are curious about homeschooling high school. While I don't have all the answers, I do know that homeschooling high school is quite possibly the best decision we made.

Without a doubt, the number one comment or question I hear from people in regards to homeschooling is how hard it must be to homeschool high school. Even from seasoned homeschoolers, I have heard the worry and concern of homeschooling the high school years since before Amber was even officially in high school.

Unexpected Homeschool: Isn't it hard to homeschool high school? Encouragement for those considering the high school years.

Do you know what I tell them? It's easy. It really and truly is easy. However, it's not for everyone - parent or student. And that's alright. But don't let the fear of homeschooling high school hold you back.

I hear questions about how do we ensure Amber is getting enough credits, or learning enough? How will we actually graduate her? Will she be able to go to college? Will she be able to get scholarships? Won't she miss out on the typical high school life?

So much worry about high school, yet in my estimation the younger years were much more troublesome and formidable. I am still thankful my daughter went to private school for her early elementary years and someone else had the responsibility for ensuring she learned her basics. Except, thinking back, we taught her to read prior to Kindergarten. We worked on her math over the summer. At this point of her schooling life is easy; she knows how to learn and I simply provide her the sources of information needed.

Yes, it also is my job to function as a guidance counselor who ensures that Amber takes all of the courses that the colleges will expect to see. I need to help her decide what path she might take after high school and prepare for it. However, wouldn't I do that for her anyway? I'm not the type of parent to leave those decisions up to a stranger who may not know my child well. 

The questions then always return to how hard it must be in our daily school life. How do we get the lessons finished? Well, the same way we always did. It's even easier now. She is a more mature person who sees the value of her school lessons and knows the purpose of it all. There are definitely days Amber does not want to work on school, and subjects that she would prefer we never study. We all have days like that. Instead of arguing with her over it, like when she was in fifth grade, I ask her what subject she would rather work on that particular day. Amber knows full well this means she will be doubling up on the skipped lesson at another time, and makes her decision accordingly. 

Amber is a mostly independent student now that she is in high school. That doesn't mean I hand her textbooks and expect her to finish them by the end of the school year. What it does mean is that many of her subjects do not require me to sit with her and go over every single detail all day long. She can read her history, work on the assignment, and then discuss with me the take-away information. Each subject has a varying degree of independence, but all require my input at some point. However, none of them necessitate the full days of instruction like elementary school and early middle school. This alone makes high school so much simpler to homeschool.

Amber will admit that she does not, in the least, miss the drama and stress of the normal high school life. She is involved with our homeschool group where she socializes with teens of varying backgrounds and situations. The only thing some of them have in common is being homeschooled. The local homeschool groups hold formal dances for all high school students several times a year, which means that Amber actually will go to more formals than if she had gone to public school. We've already got quite the used dress shop going in our spare bedroom. So, no, Amber will not miss the typical high school experience.

I know I have not yet graduated my only student / child, so I don't have all of the answers in regards to college. Although, I do know many people who have graduated homeschool students, and their children have easily gone on to successful college careers. Which leads me to believe that yes, Amber will be able to go to college. Will she get scholarships? Well, that's a hard question to answer. 

I will admit the scholarship question is not pinging my radar most days. Amber does have a chronic illness that shows no sign of relenting. She will not be able to attend college full-time the way her body currently stands. She will be able to go part-time with accommodations, but how many part-time college scholarships do you know of? We have a plan in place for her future college attendance, but a scholarship is not part of that plan at the current time. 

For everyone considering homeschooling high school who worries that they can't be enough or that it will be too difficult, I cannot guarantee your path will be as easy as ours. However, I can tell you that most of the time it is not as hard as you think it will be. Calm your fears, research requirements for your state and maybe a few potential universities, and talk to your student. Guiding your child through a homeschooled high school experience can be the most rewarding time of your homeschool years, if you give it a chance.

Back to Homeschool Annual Blog Hop - 2017

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