Our family has been a homeschool family for 9 years. We are heading into our 10th year and I feel quite comfortable with where we are and our methods for homeschooling. However, I know that many parents fear entering the high school years because they are afraid that they cannot teach their children since they “don’t know everything.” Believe me, I had the same fears as our family approached the high school years, and I have heard the same sentiment voiced by many of my homeschooling friends, both online and real life. Today, as we head into our 4th year of high school with our eldest son, I feel as if I can offer you all a bit of encouragement as you look forward down the homeschooling road towards the high school years.
4 Tips for Homeschooling High School
Change your ‘teacher’ mindset and realize that you are a facilitator.
You have been facilitating your children’s learning since birth. You have taught them through living life, and no one is more invested in their lives and their education than you are. Just as you have throughout their preschool, elementary, and middle school years, in high school you will continue to answer your children’s questions the best way you can. When presented with a question to which you do not know the answer, find someone who does know. You can direct your child to do some research online, to consult a book, take a class, or even ask a REAL person if you happen to know an expert on the topic. You will facilitate your child’s learning through all of these methods and more. While learning can take place in a classroom and with a ‘lecture’ style, it is not the only way to learn, and I believe works best when paired with many other methods of learning.
Encourage independent learning.
Allow your children to complete research projects, learn a new skill, or hone an art skill, under your supervision as needed. Place them at the helm with instructions to consult with you should they have questions or run into problems. Schedule a weekly, or even daily, ‘check in’ time so that you can find out how they are doing, what they are learning, and how you should tweak their learning, if need be. This will take some of the responsibility for your children’s education off of your plate, help your children to learn HOW to learn, and give them a sense of accomplishment once they have completed a project alone from A to Z.
Help your teens to follow their dreams.
Children sometimes have big dreams. Shoot, we as adults do too, sometimes, right? It is easy to shove aside our children’s dreams without giving them real consideration because sometimes we just don’t see how to make it happen. I urge you to encourage your children to dream. Maybe they won’t be successful. In fact, they will fail at some of their endeavors. We all do. However, you never know how God will use your child’s talents or even their weakness to bring them to a place of success. My eldest daughter was a non-reader at age 6 1/2. She is the reason we decided to homeschool. She hated reading, being read to, and I didn’t know if she would ever love books like I do. Slowly, over the course of a few years she not only began reading and fluently, but she made a complete turn around and is now a devourer of books at age 15. Not only that, God has hidden deep inside her a love for the written word and a true talent for creative writing that she is now using as a published author. What did her father and I do? Only encourage her to follow her dream as far as she could until she either succeeded or grew tired of following that path. Her first book, Jaded: The Silent Whisperer is available for Kindle and in paperback, and I encourage you to give it a read. Personally, I think it is a fabulous story! Feel free to read my interview series with her, too.
UPDATE: Though our eldest daughter is now attending public high school, we are still seeing fruit from her homeschooling years. She is a mature, respectful young lady, who tries her best in every class, and her teachers have told us they appreciate that. Another bonus? Since we have been untraditional in our homeschooling methods, we presented administration with Hailey’s book, her blog, and her contributor writings over at Homeschool Encouragment as proof of education for her language arts requirement. The school allowed our daughter to enter AP English for her grade based upon their perusal of her work there. So, just a bit of encouragement that, if you ever DO need to enter the school system, your home educating style just may benefit you there, as well.
Seek God for answers daily.
Though we are entering our 10th homeschool year, and we have become quite comfortable with our method of learning, do not be fooled into thinking that our days are always peaceful and smooth. They are not. We do sometimes struggle with learning issues, attitudes, clutter, laziness, and other character issues. We are not a perfect family and do not claim to be. We do not expect you to be perfect either, and neither does God! HE is the only perfect person ever to have walked this earth. Despite our struggles, it has been a true joy to raise my children in our homeschooling family, truly knowing them, and watching them develop relationships with one another that they may not have developed if they were not home together every day. To have a front-row seat to their transition from child to adult, wee bits at a time, and to play such an important role on a daily basis is both frightening and humbling.The only way I am able to do it, to continue parenting my children through the hard times and the joys, is to daily bring them to the throne of God. I seek Him each day, asking for His wisdom to help grow them into the adults He wants them to be. It is God alone who grows and stretches them and molds them into His image. I’m simply here as a vessel He uses as He sees fit in their lives.
TIP: You are a facilitator of your child’s learning. God alone is their true teacher.
This post is a part of the Back to School Blog Hop hosted by the School House Review Crew and Homeschool Blogging Connection. Be sure to check out all of the other encouraging and informative posts this week, too!
Do you have any tips to share for homeschooling high schoolers? Please share them in the comments so that we will all benefit from your wisdom!
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