Thursday, January 17, 2008

High School Homeschooling - yes, it's Possible!

In her youth, my late maternal grandmother was a teacher in a one-room schoolhouse. By the time she retired, she was the principal of a consolidated school. You might say that education was Grandma’s life! Her son, my uncle, also went into teaching. She thought I should pursue a teaching degree, but I didn’t. (Instead, I earned a B.A. in Interpretative Speech with a minor in Spanish.) Anyway, Grandma had reservations about my homeschooling my children. She could accept that I was most likely competent enough to handle their elementary education, but “You’re not going to try to homeschool through high school, are you?”

Many homeschoolers get this question. It is usually accompanied by a look of disbelief tinged with horror on the speaker’s face! Now, the truth is that I always had every intention of homeschooling through high school. However, the wisest answer I know is, “We’re taking it one year at a time.” That is also the truth. I completed ten years of homeschooling my two teens, having started with kindergarten. This is my eleventh year to homeschool my daughter, but I sent my son to public school to give myself a much-needed break from our power struggle. (I wanted him to be responsible for his chores and schoolwork, and he wanted me to ignore the fact that he was playing video games and such instead.)

I don’t know what the future holds or if I’ll even be in it. That is in God’s hands. While my desire has always been to homeschool through high school, I’m aware of circumstances that could prevent me from reaching my goal, such as illness or a change in employment. When it comes right down to it, we’re all taking it one day at a time.

I don’t fear high school education as much as I fear keeping a transcript, and I’m not really quaking in my house slippers about that, either. (There are so many resources to help you get this information organized!) What is it about high school that strikes fear into adults who have been there? At the high school level, most kids are self-taught. They do a whole lot of reading – easily done at home. Sometimes they show a film – we’ve got videos to cover that. Then there are lectures – who better to lecture my kids than me?

Okay, that last one was offered tongue-in-cheek. If reading doesn’t provide all the information we need, we have access to tapes, videos, DVDs, computer programs, field trips, and more books. As far as I can tell, it’s the memory of science labs that produces the belief that high school can’t be done at home. However, we have access to all kinds of resources. There are science kits for sale that cover simple to more advanced chemistry. There are many, many options for learning science at home.

“But what about biology? What about dissection?” Glad you asked! How much of your four years of high school education was spent cutting up stuff? It was an extremely small percentage of time, if you did it at all. I avoided it with no trouble. Nobody needs to turn their kids over to a traditional school for four years just so they can experience dissection in a lab. Now, since I personally find dissection distasteful, I knew I would never teach that at home. I was in luck! Several homeschoolers offer to teach dissection classes every year! A local science center offers a dissection summer camp. In one week, my son dissected an eye, a heart, and a brain, followed by a frog; he didn’t have to spend one day in middle school or high school!

The point is that with so many resources available, there isn’t anything offered in high school that you can’t handle as a homeschooler. You don’t have to be an expert in everything. An expert is probably offering a class, club, or summer camp in the desired subject! If God calls you to homeschool your children, He will make a way for you to meet the requirements. Trust Him, and enjoy those high school years – at home!

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