Saturday, May 26, 2012

High School: Home School, Public, or Private School

Many homeschoolers reach the high school years and throw in the homeschooling towel. There are many legitimate reasons, and not all of them are wrong. There are also many reasons TO homeschool. I really don't want to take a position on that either way, because I think it is a very individual choice. Individual for each family...and within the family too. Each child needs to be considered carefully and the determination lies in what is best for that child.

My kids #'s2&3 are/were extremely social and extroverted ...wanted to be in with the in crowd...craved peer attention They are also athletic ( unlike either of us:tongue_smilie:). Honestly, dd did very well being home schooled. We had her busy, busy, busy. I made opportunities for her to be social. Had lots of kids here...all.the.time!! Games, facials, movies, swim meet sleep overs, You name it....we did it. She volunteered, worked at a nursery school, life guarded, became a swim coach etc.

Now, ds.....him I should have sent to school. He NEEDED to be there.....but I didn't listen to my gut....I listened to my guilt. We did manage to make homeschooling work...and he did end up in a good place, but I think he really should have had a year or 2 at public or private school for his own head....IOW, he had big time grass is greener syndrome, which made him sullen, and very difficult to teach. I will not ever do that again!! He was not miserable, and did many social things all through high school. I put 70,000 miles on my van in 1 year for goodness sake! His personality craves people....

If you decide to continue homeschooling....and I think it can be a great decision:D....certain things I would consider doing for my son a bit differently.

1. A job. A boy needs a job. Mowing lawns, hauling groceries....washing windows....I don't care what he does, but he needs to do!!! He can start his own business if he can't get a job...advertise and work his butt off to get it off the ground. It is even better if he ends up hiring someone else too! What an experience for him in entrepenuership.

2. An outside class with peers or adults. Something he doesn't know a lot about yet. Photography, business principles, a new instrument, etc. In addition to the things he likes. My son was a swimmer. We were at the pool 5 nights a week and all weekend long during meet season. He loved every.single.minute! My son took classes in HVAC, became a certified oil burner tech at 17 ( took the adult class and aced it!). My other son is EPA certified to work on A/C since her was 16. He took guitar lessons, went to the gym regularly etc.

3. Online high school or college classes that happen in real time....with real people...preferably through skype, where they can interact. Ds LOVED these classes, and is still "friends" with many of the kids he encountered. They have even met up in NYC after they turned 18....and had a blast together!

4. If you decide to homeschool through high school, don't keep yourself boxed in by homeschoolers. They can be an odd bunch....not like us!:D
I have found the groups around here to be so exclusionary! Both the secular and Christian groups have their own agendas....and those agendas have hurt WAY too many young people and new homeschooling parents. Enter with caution. Groups are fun when they have a real goal. Not a just let's get together because we are doing this one particular different thing. " LOOK AT US, WE ARE DIFFERENT!!!". YUCK!!!!!!! Join a book group, a running group, a biking group, a physics group, a music group, a take care of the elderly group....but run like hell from an unfocused....LOOK AT US GROUP. They tend to peck to death their own flock.

5. Homeschooling high school is both wonderful and awful. I will never stop questioning every book we study, every group we join, every step we take....but, if I did stop, I would not be doing a good job. I need to take the needs of MY child and somehow turn them into clear cut goals and then implement them. It is MUCH MORE DIFFICULT than plopping them on the bus....even when you think that is the best step. It would have been much easier for ME and for my ds if I would have just signed him up at the PS. The battle between us would have been over....and he would have had to deal with things himself. That is NOT necessarily a bad thing. For my one ds, it may have turned out to be the best thing. Not so much for my dds....or my 2nd ds. Each child is an individual and their needs have to be considered separately. However, don't think the school will give a flying flip over your individual child's needs. They just have too many individuals.

Socialization does not necessarily happen at the doors of the yellow bus. As a matter of fact, that place is often the gateway to bullying, ostracization, peer pressure, and just an unhealthy situation. Not always....but often enough. Consider where your kid resides of the food chain. Older ds is a networker, a schmoozed, a hand shaker.....he would have been BIG MAN ON CAMPUS. Ds # 2 would have been on anti-depressants first semester.

Oh, last bit of advice for now...if youbdecide to homeschool....make clear cut goals before you start your courses. this is what you have to do for an A, this for a B....if youbfail, this is the consequence. If you can plan an exam or an outside evaluation of some sort ( science fair, mythology or Latin exam, SAT2, CLEP exam, big family party with a presentation) it will help your child make goals and meet them. It won't seem like a bunch of senseless busywork that you are inflicting on your child for the sheer pleasure of it. Those wrap ups at the end are REALLY important! Just like dance recitals, or the play at the end of a gazillion rehearsals....some concrete way of marking progress and making a bIg to-do about it is really important.

Hope some of this helps someone....


Kerry said...

Love this post...such great advice!! If it's okay, I'm going to share on the new HSHS Facebook page:

Faithe said...

Sure...that would be fine as long as you post credit and a link to the original. Thanks for asking...and thanks for the encouraging feedback.

Suji said...

This was immensely helpful. Thanks Faithe!

Sherri said...

Wow...great advice!