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High school it can be a scary word when you’re a parent. After all, our children are getting older soon they will be adults and off to new jobs and perhaps college. The teen years can be so full of stress for both our children and us as mothers. We all want to do what’s best for our children and give them the best possible start in life.
I see it over and over again in families that homeschool everything goes along great in the younger years but, as high school approaches you start to get worried. I know I started to have that feeling creeping in.
Just stop and pause for a moment. That scared feeling you’ve probably had that before, right? Think back to when you first decided to homeschool. It was a little scary wasn’t it?
You may have felt a lot of pressure from family and friends to put your children into a public school. Instead, you listened to your heart where you knew that for your family it just wasn’t right for you at that time.
I know in my heart that my homeschool teaching days are far, far from over! I think the best part is just starting. I’m not going to let fear stop me from doing something I love and believe in. We all enjoy it to much!
Don’t think of high school as a dark opposing giant!
High school really it’s just moving up another grade. My daughter is about to start 9th grade this fall. When I started feeling a little unsure if I could really do this I talked to some dear friends who had walked this road before me.
Friends who have homeschool through high school and graduated multiple children. You know what they told me? Don’t think of high school as a giant new world just think about it for what it really is. It’s just graduating from one grade to another like we’ve done many times before.
That’s not so scary is it? After all, you’ve done this many times now.
Focus strongly on what your child is interested in.
I’ve always been heavily delight directed in my homeschooling methods. Honestly, there have been many times I’ve put together unit studies and lesson plans only to have my children develop a real passion for learning something completely different.
What would I do? I’d set my plans aside and let their interests lead.
Because of this, my children were very interested in what they were learning and soaked it up like a sponge!
We can use the same principle in high school. Ok, so you need to teach Canadian history, what part of Canadian history is interesting to your child?
Maybe they are interested in the Acadians. You could build an incredible history course using that as a foundation.
- Why did the French immigrate to Canada?
- Who were the first people in these groups to come?
- Why did they stay?
- What did they wear, eat etc.?
- What were their relations with the Native Americans like?
- What were their relations with the English like?
- Causes of the wars, alliances, and Acadian expulsion.
- How did the Acadian expulsion effect the rest of North America?
I could keep going but I think you see what I mean right? You can pick a topic of interest and build huge interest led studies. Make sure to add in some great primary documents, documentaries and reading. If you need a guide buy a good textbook or topic book to use as a study outline.
Stop comparing your teen’s workload to other students.
As homeschoolers, we have a unique advantage, time. We don’t have to rush our children from one subject to another because a bell says it’s time to stop learning. We can nurture a passion for a long period of time and build multiple studies off of that interest.
We can also have our children work on high school material before 9th grade IF they are ready for the workload. Many people believe that middle grade is a waste of time. The curriculum at this level often just repeats much of what was already learned in lower levels.
I believe that some children really need this time to solidify their understanding of some things. Math facts and basic writing skills are an example.
However, if your child is ready to move on 7th and 8th grade is a wonderful time to start working on some high school level programs. It gives them more time 5 to 6 years to work through the same number of credits needed to graduate.
Why is that a good thing? Well, it really reduces the workload on your student. Depending on what level of program you child is working on basic, general or advanced each course can have many hours worth of work to complete. Stretching it over a longer period of time can give them more free time for other interests and jobs.
On the other hand, if your child is ready to start high school work early and finishes it in 4 years they can graduate early and move on to pursue work or college sooner. It’s about finding the path that works best for each child.
Stay true to your child’s learning style.
Don’t think that just because you’re starting to teach high school you have to stop using the teaching methods that work best for your child!
Each of my children has a unique learning style. It’s my job to try and help them learn in the method that makes sense to them.
When I started prepping for my daughter’s 9th-grade year I sat down with her and we talked about what she would like to learn and how she wanted to do it. She decided she wanted her core to be a unit study and we decided to go with Where The Brook And River Meet.
It is an amazing high school unit study about Anne of Green Gables! Wouldn’t I have loved to study Anne in my 9th-grade year! Where The Brook And River Meet covers all of her basic subjects for the year except math and science. We will also add some interest led elective, photography is one she has requested.
I could have just gone with a textbook for each subject but that would have been the opposite of her learning style.
Find out your child’s goals.
To best help your children succeed you need to help them figure out what they want to do with their lives. Do they want to graduate and go right to work? Start their own business, apprentice in a trade or go to college or university?
Work backward from there! Go and find out what the requirements for their job, apprenticeship or college entry requirements are and then build your 4-year plan to include them.
Don’t be afraid to outsource either! If there are subjects you just don’t feel you can teach or lack the time to make sure to look at online classes. Homeschooling has changed so much from when I first started. Now you can find amazing online classes for so many different subjects.
Our children don’t stop learning when they turn 18.
I think that is so important to remember. I learn new things every day and you probably do to! It’s really important that as our lives grow and change we don’t allow fear of the unknown creep in. Don’t let that fear corner you into making choices you don’t really want to do.
If you feel it’s best for you children to go to a public or private high school that is OK! But if you feel it’s best for your children to learn at home please don’t let fear of the unknown guide your decisions.
Remember you went through this when you first started to homeschool, most of us did! We’ll get through this and move on to great things. I know I’m really looking forward to the more in-depth discussions on topics with my children as they get older and move deeper into their studies.