Why we homeschool high school

girl-277719_960_720High School. It was a huge decision, and one I will have to revisit twice more, but I am solidly behind the one we made for my oldest to continue to homeschool. The amount of families who decide to put their kids back into school is shocking to me, but I get it. Taking on the final leg of the homeschool journey can feel overwhelming.

My daughter and I talked options last year: public school, private school, or homeschool. We looked into price, curriculum, and environment. We talked about social events, activities, and sports. She made her choice to homeschool with no reservations. Here are her reasons and why I support her.

Curriculum

She is currently studying Japanese and no schools in the area had as good of an option as the class she is currently taking. Technically, she could continue the same class, but she thought that if she was going to spend all day in a school, they should provide the classes she wants. She also wants to take several advanced sciences each year instead of dividing the subjects into one per year. Her father went to great schools in Panama and Costa Rica and this is how they did it. His science education was better than anyone else I knew upon entering college.

My thoughts: I completely agree with her. The academics we have set for her are strong and I would hate to see her flooded with busy work or bored with subjects she has already studied. I will find a class or tutor for any area I can not teach. 

The Social Scene

She’s really not into the typical high school social scenes. Football games and prom don’t really justify four years of school to her. She’s decided that if she gets asked to prom by a friend, she can go, but she isn’t too interested in going to a formal dance. She’s also not excited about being surrounded all day by kids she doesn’t know, or frankly may not want to know. As far as friends go, she has quite a few really good ones, probably more close and genuine friends than I had at her age.

My thoughts: Here I hold some reservations. I remember the glamor of prom and the solidarity of school spirit as a great part of my experience. Or was it? When I really think about the actual events, they never lived up to the hype. Football games were dull and full of teenage boy-girl drama. Prom was fun, but not even close to some dream evening. I think she may have a better grasp on this than I do. 

Time

She’s really, really busy and she likes being in charge of her own time. She doesn’t want to give up some of her favorite activities because school takes a huge chunk of her day.

My thoughts: She isn’t always great at time management, but she is learning. The schedule she keeps is similar to one of a college student, so I think by the time she is off and on her own, she’ll be able to adjust nicely.

Thoughts? I’d love to hear back about what some of you think about homeschooling through high school. If you blog about homeschooling in high school or know of any great resources, please tell me about them in the comments section so I can check them out. Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

 

 

 

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A Day in the Life

My youngest's artworkOne of the most often asked questions I get is “How do you actually do it? How do you get everything done for three kids in a day?” The question isn’t a hard one, but it isn’t a simple one either. Every day is different, but we have a basic plan that we use as a pattern for our days.

(5:30 am)

My morning begins with a whine. My puppies in the kennel need letting out. It’s my husband’s job to get them out and if I ever feel a twinge of guilt all I have to do is remember how short puppyhood is compared to the years I spent nursing and rocking the midnight hours away. I soon follow him to the kitchen where we drink coffee and talk, check the computer and calendars and synchronize our day.

(6:00 am to 7:30 am)

The kids stumble out of bed. They can have screen time before 8:00 if they wish so they usually get a few games in along with breakfast and getting dressed.

(8:00 am)

School is officially starting so screens go off. We go over the calendar and I tell them what to focus on in each of their five subjects: Language Arts, Math, History, Science, and Spanish. I’m very flexible with what they work on as long as they have something for Friday presentations from each subject. Every Friday night they do a show-and-tell with their dad. This keeps him up to date, helps the kids review, and helps me see if there are any weak spots that need emphasizing the next week.

I spend my time helping where needed and when things are running relatively smoothly I do reading time with my youngest. We curl up on the couch or on her bed with books I read to her and books she reads to me. We cover history, science, and language arts lessons in one lump.

(Noon or there about)

Lunch and an educational show. We rotate between documentaries and PBS shows but I have been known to break out the Wii on very cold days. Video games that cause them to break into a sweat can be a treat and help them to burn off some energy.

(1:00 pm)

We tie up anything left undone and begin projects. Projects can be structured science projects or unstructured lego building. Board games are also allowed. I spend this time usually cleaning the house and I usually recruit them for a few chores too.

(4:00 pm)

School is done. This is more for me than them. On days when our lists have very few check marks, I tend to want to push the kids to work longer, but this isn’t good for them or me. It’s very important that we all feel free to relax. This is time for winding up chores and prepping for tomorrow a bit. I will make them practice their instruments now if they haven’t during the day.

This is the framework for my homechool that my husband and I worked out at the beginning of this semester. I wrote about it in the post “Regaining My Balance.” We often have field trips and classes scheduled in the middle of the day instead of just curriculum, but we always default to this schedule. So far, this has been working very well for us and I hope it continues, but I’ll take a moment to reflect and correct the system later. I have found that my systems won’t last much past a semester before both the kids and I get restless. I don’t think of this as a failing system, rather a system that has become stale. None of us like to be slave to a system and finding what works for us is one of my favorite things about homeschooling.

Art and Appreciation

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I love getting out to see performances with the kids, and if we can get together with enough homeschoolers, many places will let us have a school rate. The only problem with this type of field trip is that we usually have to attend with other schools.

When we filed into TPAC‘s auditorium the place was vibrating with kindergarteners bouncing and yelling and waving their arms. I remember those moments from my own childhood when you could practically see freedom peeking through the cracks of a broken routine. The row of tiny children in front of me were doubly blessed with a young teacher who seemed to think field trips were a time for her to mingle with the other teachers. Continue reading

Why Waltz?

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waltz: n. 1.a dance in triple time performed by a couple who as a pair turn rhythmically around and around as they progress around the dance floor.

My homeschooling story began five years ago when my oldest daughter was in second grade and my son was in kindergarten. I was a stay at home mom with my youngest daughter still in diapers. We were as comfortably settled into the public school system as I could hope to expect. Up to this year our experiences were almost entirely positive. Up to this year, my daughter had been supported, praised, and encouraged to learn at her own rate. Any strange or upsetting incident was handled expertly. We had no reason to doubt our choice.

But second grade year changed everything.

Continue reading