How can it be that I am now homeschooling a HIGH SCHOOLER?
It seems like yesterday I was abandoning the ideal of public school and bringing my oldest (then in third grade) home.
I hope when you read this blog you NEVER think I have it all together, because I most certainly DON'T.
Homeschooling a teen hasn't always been easy. I am thankful I heeded the wise words of a mom friend, listened to that gentle voice of the Holy Spirit, and ultimately kept my daughter at home for school.
And, as we officially finished eighth grade this week, I am so proud to say we are homeschooling through high school and I AM EXCITED!
I know homeschooling teens can present ALL KINDS of challenges, from hormones and mood swings, to difficult academic subjects, to just plain mental exhaustion.
If you gain anything from today's Collage Friday post it is that I believe homeschooling our teens is WORTH IT.
This time in our children's lives is critical, and if we seek counsel, pray, research, and stay the course, I believe the fruits of homeschooling are numerous.
Find Like Minded Homeschoolers for Support
I do know one thing for certain: if we were not part of a community of like minded homeschoolers we would not be able to effectively homeschool the teen years. It's so important for parents and children to have good friends - friends who can share your trials and successes, friends who will celebrate with you and friends who will hold you accountable.
For us, our Classical Conversations Challenge community is just such a place.
In a nutshell we chose Challenge because:
- We believe in a Classical, Christian education and love the mission of knowing God and making HIM known.
- We believe that ultimately the PARENT is the teacher and we did not want to abdicate grading, transcripting, or anything else to a "school".
- We love the DISCUSSIONS that happen each week between the students, tutors, and parents - deep discussions about important issues.
Last week my husband and I had the great joy of attending the Challenge B Mock Trial.
In the mock trial competition our children had been preparing an entire semester for this ONE day. We traveled an hour north to meet another Challenge B team and compete in a real courthouse, in a trial presided over by a real judge.
And, even though there were times when it felt like I could have almost lost my marbles over mock trial - the end result was SO worth it! (I don't think my Anna will ever forget the day she presented a pretrial motion in a murder case where a woman suffering from battered women's syndrome was accused of murdering her own husband. This is DEEP stuff, but I just love how we approached it together and with such care.)
I cannot tell you how proud I was to see our team present themselves in such a professional manner. They were competent speakers, writers, and thought well on their feet. They carried themselves gracefully and were such a credit to the homeschool community.
And yes - they were still just goofy teenagers at heart, being silly at lunch afterwards and giggling themselves silly on the ride to the courthouse.
As I thought about our journey to homeschooling and how far we've come, I had some observations that day - observations I just had to share with you:
Do not buy into the belief that your children need to be taught by "real teachers" for high school.
Do not buy into the belief that your children don't need as much parental guidance for high school.
Do not buy into the belief that your children must experience "the real world" before they go on to college or whatever they will do after high school.
Do not buy into the belief that your children will be missing out on "socialization" if you don't send them to traditional high school.
Our teens need their parents, and they very much need a sheltered (yes, I did say SHELTERED) environment in which they can explore big ideas. And, whether you think so or not, YOU are equipped to be their very best teacher, because no one else will care for them the way YOU do.
The Most Fruit Comes After the Hardest Struggles
Two days after mock trial my daughter was confirmed in the Lutheran church. We believe Confirmation is an Affirmation of Baptism - it's a faith milestone in our church, and one we celebrate!
This year has been HARD in our home. It's been a year of three sick grandparents -- and all three of them GRAVELY ill at some point. It's been a year of new jobs, changed friendships, and some difficult life lessons.
It's been a year where my teen has learned that doing the right thing is indeed RIGHT - even if others don't do the right thing.
We all needed a reason to CELEBRATE this past weekend; we made so many wonderful memories and it was a blessing that so many of our family and friends could join us for a celebration
As I watched Anna give her talk during church on Sunday, and then as I watched her so gracefully engage with all of her guests on Sunday afternoon, I realized MORE huge benefits to homeschooling.
Again - I'm so glad we didn't throw the towel in when things got hard, because homeschool is just so WORTH IT. (I feel like a broken record)
More observations I need to share with you:
Having a small group of faithful friends (whose families all have similar goals) helps you to become your best self - the encouragement, support, and genuine happiness Anna's friends showed for her on Sunday was heartwarming to me.
Learning to interact with many different ages of people on a daily basis is an invaluable skill. Our homeschooled kids have ample opportunities to shake hands, look people in the eye, and think outside of their own teenage worlds. We don't grow up and interact with people of the same age all day long, and our kids are receiving this experience from little on!
Homeschool kids aren't confined to one PATH after high school - they have not done anything traditionally ever before, so why start when they turn 18? Who says that after four years of high school you must go immediately to college? I'm even beginning to wonder about "college" in the traditional sense. We need more productive outside the box thinkers in our world, and I believe our homeschoolers are those thinkers!
This has been a week of warm fuzzies all around, know what I mean?
I'm happy to be a homeschooling parent, and I'm so proud of my children.
I realize this feeling won't always be there. We will have hard days -- hard weeks -- hard months -- but in the end I believe that homeschooling your teen is worth every ounce of effort we give. And, I think we are modeling for our kids that DOING HARD THINGS is worth it.
We need to be training young adults who won't be afraid to DO HARD THINGS... young adults who aren't afraid to go against the standards of the world and stick up for what is right.
Someone has recommended the book DO HARD THINGS for us to read this summer; I'm thinking this would be a great study for some homeschool teens.
The sky is really the limit when it comes to educating these kids, isn't it? I love that we are so free to train them as we see fit, and to guide them into becoming the person God has designed them to be.
What an honor - what a joy.
Join Me For Collage Friday
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