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If you are a homeschooler and those high school years are approaching, you’ve probably asked yourself, Can I really teach high school? There are many reasons I hear people say they “can’t” homeschool through high school, but I have to say that even if you’ve found yourself in that camp, grab “a cuppa”, get comfy and take a moment to consider these reasons why this isn’t the season to drop the ball, and how homeschooling high school can benefit you and your teen!
For purposes of self-disclosure, let me share a little bit of my story. Our family has graduated four of our five children from “homeschool high”, and I’ve been at this for over 20 years. It’s been a wonderful journey, and I wouldn’t have traded a moment of it for anything in the world.
Our youngest child, however, is a freshman in the local public school. And if that was a little disconcerting to read, trust me: it felt just as weird to write! But I do have to admit that this change in status has given me a different set of eyes through which to look at homeschooling high school, and an even deeper insight as to why I feel so strongly about the value of homeschooling “for the long haul”.
Because, yes, my friend, there are benefits to your teen to homeschool through high school, but surprisingly, there are also benefits to you, the homeschooling mom.
The benefits of homeschooling high school for your teen
Over the years, I’ve personally known dozens of families – and spoken to hundreds of others via email and through my blog – who have home-educated their teens to graduation. Despite the challenges that the process presents, I’ve often found the benefits far outweigh them.
Benefit #1 – The relational benefits
There is no understating the importance of relationships in life, wouldn’t you agree? No matter what occupation or hobbies we pursue, we all need to learn how to get along. It is highly probable that at some point you’ll find yourself developing a friendship with your teen as they progress through high school, and very possibly with their friends as well. Your influence at this age is invaluable! Years of interacting cross-generationally will equip and enable your teen to have rich relationships with a variety of people in a wide range of age groups.
Benefit #2 – The academic benefits
Chances are, if you’ve homeschooled for any amount of time prior to high school, your child has displayed some academic area in which they excel, and perhaps another where they are not-so-developed. (And that’s ok, by the way, ‘cause only God is amazing in all things!) In a traditional school setting, teens are not necessarily encouraged to develop any particular strength but are rather given a standardized program of studies which they must follow. While this may be fine for a teen who has yet to have found their passion or gifting, this may prove to be somewhat limiting to the teen who already has career aspirations and is eager to craft a creative learning plan to get there!
Benefit #3 – The vocational benefits
The most creative years in my homeschooling career were the times I crafted classes that allowed my teens to explore potential vocations and get credit for it. Volunteer work, independent studies, and work-study programs helped them explore possibilities without being tied down to a full year of coursework that became irrelevant to them. They gained self-knowledge, a stronger sense of self, and ownership in their decision-making abilities and their own future.
The benefits of homeschooling high school for moms
I know that this leg of the journey may still seem daunting. But I’ve always found that discovering my “why” helps me get through almost anything that life throws at me, and this season is no exception. I also realize that even if you’re convinced this really is the best option for your teen, you may still have doubts about your own abilities to handle it. And if that’s the case, let me present some surprising benefits I’ve personally found for homeschooling moms that may encourage you to forge ahead.
Benefit #1 – You’ll discover a whole new facet to your relationship with your teen
When you assume the role of high school teacher, you also inherit the responsibilities of a guidance counselor. But that’s not to be feared, because first of all, there are a ton of resources available to equip you in this role, and secondly, who best to wisely counsel your teen for their future than a loving parent who knows them best? Working closely with them as they navigate growing-up issues at this time is such a privilege and blessing! And the conversations that you’ll engage in? Well, they’re priceless.
Benefit #2 – You’ll get closure
Believe me, there is hardly anything as satisfying as homeschooling to the finish line. Fortunately, our kids were excited about graduation, and we had a group of friends and fellow homeschoolers who enabled us to really “do it up”. Passing on their diploma and publicly saying some encouraging words to and about them was just exhilarating on many levels – and a feeling that I would hope ALL homeschool parents experience.
Benefit #3 – It prepares you for “life after…”
It’s a well-documented fact that 100% of homeschooling moms will someday finish homeschooling. At some point, we all retire, or at the very least, change careers. And working through some of the very same resources with your teen to help them navigate the next step in their journey can help you do the very same thing when the time inevitably arrives.
At the end of the day, remember this
The beauty and gift of home education allow us to incorporate real-life experiences with coursework, tailor experiences and studies that develop our teen’s God-given skills and interests, and encourage the development of a lifestyle of learning that will serve him or her forever. There’s no rocket science involved (unless your teen really wants to become a rocket scientist!), and yes, momma, you can DO it!
The benefits to your family make everything worth it…and before you know it, you’ll be wondering where the time went!
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After almost 25 years of home-educating her five children, Pat Fenner is making the most of her “retired homeschool mom” status. She encourages and inspires others as they continue the journey through the high school years at her blog BreakthroughHomeschooling, and helps moms find meaning and purpose in the “post-homeschooling” stage of life. She anticipates finding time to work in the garden again someday, lovin’ on her new granddaughter (and future grands!), and enjoys nothing more than getting together with a friend over a hot cup of coffee.