I used to get tired of people telling me why they can't homeschool.
Quickly, however, I began to tune that out. As my kids have gotten older I have something NEW that gets on my last nerve (well - not really, but it does kind of irritate me!).
Now, when people hear we are homeschooling all the way through high school they come up with a million reasons why they could NEVER homeschool high school.
I'm hear to tell you that you CAN homeschool high school, and that in many respects it's EASIER than homeschooling little ones. And, in many respects it is more GRATIFYING, too.
So, in lieu of screaming "Stop Telling Me Why You Can't Homeschool High School!", I would say, "Have faith, not fear" and then I would also share the following:
High School is THE Most Important Time to Homeschool
High School is probably THE most important time to homeschool. By educating our children at home during their high school years we are allowing the time and space to think deeply, develop lasting relationships, and practice valuable life skills.
- Safety - From a purely practical standpoint, our kids are exposed to less drugs, violence and bullying when they are homeschooled. This last week alone I have heard horror stories of kids selling Oxy at school, kids having sex in the bathrooms, and one girl not wanting to go to school because other girls are bullying her. These are stories from people I know PERSONALLY.
- Influence - Who do you want to exert the most influence over your child - peers or parents. I have heard the argument "Well, they need to be in the REAL world at some time.". That time is NOT high school. The homeschool high school kids I know are kind, grounded, and hard working. Many of them have jobs and dual enroll. They are involved in their churches and with volunteer groups. They have good relationships with their parents and siblings.Their parents are working hard to make sure they have the BEST influences so that when they DO go into the real world they are prepared to make a difference.
- Teaching them to THINK - Living in this social media age has created teens that are incapable of thinking deeply. They rely on a media snippet for information and sometimes jump on the latest bandwagon and adopt the latest hashtag. I would like to believe that by homeschooling our children we can teach them to think DEEPLY. We can give them time and space and we can have CONVERSATIONS with them about the big things in life.
What About Socialization in Homeschool High School?
This question is laughable.
Here is the answer you can give whenever anyone asks you if you are worried about your kids being "socialized" because you homeschool them for high school.
"I thought school was for learning, NOT for socializing."
The kind of "socializing" our children will get in school is one that often breeds disrespect, shallow thinking, and a focus on things that kids just shouldn't be focusing on at this age.
Many parents asked me, "Aren't you worried your kids will miss the prom, football games, and all of that FUN STUFF that comes with high school?" It's all a matter of what you know and what you promote. Sometimes I think all of these things are more for the PARENTS than for the kids. I'm also wondering if it's good to teach our children to spend literally HUNDREDS of dollars on the prom and to get so whipped up about a football game?
And, as a Classical homeschooler I'm always asking myself if what we are doing holds to the ideals of TRUTH, BEAUTY, and GOODNESS.
(For example, our Classical Conversations Challenge students have an event - Protocol. The students go to a nice dinner (often hosted in someone's home), are encouraged to use and are taught appropriate etiquette, and then attend a cultural performance. Students all go as friends and there is no pressure of having a "date".)
Of course, if you don't seek out activities for your high schoolers, they will get lonely. Kids do need friends and positive peer influences at this age, which is why there is an abundance of groups, clubs, and opportunities for homeschool high schoolers.
My high schooler has been in Classical Conversations, which provides a good friendship base for her. She also is very connected with her church youth group.
You will find that the more entrenched you become in homeschooling, the more amazing opportunities you will find for your child to be "socialized" (whatever that means).
How Will I Teach The "Hard Stuff" in Homeschool High School?
I get this question. I really do.
Calculus, Physics, Latin - those make my head spin.
Thank goodness there are WONDERFUL online and in person resources we can avail ourselves of as homeschoolers. Here is a list for you (not exhaustive, I am sure - just ones we have had positive experiences with that you might want to investigate):
- Memoria Press Academy
- HSLDA Academy -- use code PTYY589 to receive a $30 discount on any course (discount for HGL readers only)
- Veritas Press Academy
- Mr. D Math
I love that we have a quiet place in our basement for my high schooler to take online classes, research, and spend her days learning and creating - and I'd like to think it's more inviting than sitting at a desk looking at the same four walls each day.
We have also taken high school classes through Classical Conversations (in person) and are taking advantage of our state's dual enrollment program for homeschoolers.
Also, keep your ears open in your area, seek connections with others just ahead of you on the high school path, and you will find many great opportunities for learning.
I've found that HSLDA is a great resource for homeschool.
What About College and Homeschool High School?
First, most colleges and universities are now homeschool friendly - many even have their own admissions counselor for homeschoolers. You will find, when you visit a college website, that there are application instructions for homeschoolers specifically.
Second, after you've been homeschooling any length of time you will start to think outside the box. This includes thinking outside the box for college as well. Maybe your child wants to learn a trade instead of go to college. Maybe they want to attend a junior college while they live at home and then transfer into a 4 year institution. Maybe they want to start their own business instead of going to college.
I believe (for my own children) that a college education will serve them well, but I don't believe in a college education that costs upwards of $40K/year and puts a child into sometimes lifelong debt. Surely there are better ways to steward our time and money.
Third, your child will be uniquely marketable to colleges BECAUSE they are homeschooled. Keep good records, encourage them to have unique experiences, and help them cultivate their God given potential - then have FAITH everything will work out!
I've found these resources and articles to be very helpful in this area:
Helpful Books for Homeschool High School
Please don't be afraid to homeschool high school. I'm right there with you and it's really not that bad - in fact, I think it's a lot of fun!
The next time you tell someone you're homeschooling high school and they say they could NEVER do that, just smile sweetly and say, "Oh, I think you might surprise yourself. If I can do it, I know YOU can do it, too."