Next year our home school will be venturing into a whole new frontier, we’ll be homeschooling>> high school?! Yes, our oldest child will be entering the ninth grade, and to say that I have been a little bit overwhelmed, nervous and quite intimidated by this fact for some time now would be a bit of an understatement. However, I’m finding that the more I read and hear from those who have gone before me, the more encouraged I am that YES, we can do even this!
I thought that I’d just share some of the (online) resources from which I’ve recently been gathering information and gleaning encouragement and direction as I’m preparing my own mind, and planning/ mapping out our (tentative) itinerary as we begin this next leg of our homeschooling journey together.
It’s really not even our actual *learning* together/ educating part that I’m most concerned about (besides being able to fit everything in!)… I have all kinds of wonderful ideas and plans for that- if I can just stay focused! No, it’s more the record keeping and transcript-planning-college-prep/pleasing part, etc. that has my mind all in a jumble and my stomach doing somersaults. Thus, I’ve been surfing the net and listening to other homeschoolers who have already done this, and whose kids have or are successfully attending college or trade schools, etc.
First off, I have been so encouraged and blessed by the writings of Lee Binz, The Home Scholar. She specializes in helping parents homeschool high school. Lee’s 5 part mini-course, “The 5 Biggest Mistakes Parents Make Homeschooling High School.” is available for free, and she also offers a Total Transcript Solution for purchase. Her Squidoo page offers a myriad of helpful lenses, such as Homeschool Record Keeping in Highschool, each one offering tons of topical information (be sure and scroll down the page to see the table of contents) and an abundance of other free resources for your encouragement, as does her blog, including informative articles such as “What Is A Homeschool Friendly College?”.
Being a homeschool mom with Charlotte Mason aspirations, I was (gladly) reminded last week that though there will be challenges, and some necessary planning on my part, the basic mainstays of our homeschool will stay the same! My own inclinations and vision for our homeschool were re-confirmed as I read the first of a three-part series, “Basic Mainstays: Homeschooling through High School the CM Way, part 1″ posted over at SimplyCharlotteMason.com‘s blog. I’m looking forward to reading the rest of these articles!
Also as I was surfing the net, attempting to educate myself, I found this interesting Squidoo lens, created by a “worldschooler” named Andi, Unschooling Teens: Freedom and Education, that appealed to my/our own *relaxed* bent. Lots of information and encouragement there, scroll down the page to check out all of her links and anecdotes! She writes,
I’ve been through the whole thing – all the way until I was accepted into my top choice college and awarded 60% tuition in grants. (My second-choice offered me a free ride – tuition, books, and room & board.)
And you know what? You can do it too. You can follow your interests during your teens years and have an incredible launch into your adult life.
Here’s some more FYI articles and resources for homeschooling through high-school that I’ve found helpful so far and will be combing through (again and again, I’m sure!) over the next few years.
- Homeschooling Through Highschool An extensive list of helpful resources from HSLDA.
- Planning the High School Years by Diana Johnson. She poignantly writes,
We realize how close we are to ending our homeschool adventure with this child. The world, in the guise of a college admissions officer or an employer, will soon be evaluating whether we have succeeded at our homeschooling task. How absolutely frightening!
Fortunately, we can dilute this fear by carefully planning the high school years. This involves understanding the expectations that await our students when these four short years are over.
- Homeschooling Through Highschool An Interview (audio and transcript) with Mary Schofield, author of The Highschool Handbook.
- Tips on Preparing and Planning for a Complete Transcript
- High School Resources A list compiled @about.com “Help for homeschooling your high schooler. Information on curriculum, planning, transcripts, college, scholarships and more.”
- Charlotte Mason High School Study Guide
- These Homeschooling High School pages at our umbrella school, HomeLifeAcademy, have some information and links, such as this Planning Sheet for College Prepatory Course of Study pdf worksheet, that would be helpful to anyone, whether you’re enrolled with them, or not.
- And last, but not least, there’s this Upper Level Homeschool course for you, the homeschooling parent, by Terri Johnson that looks like a very worthy investment. You can read a review of it by Kris of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers and another review of it can be found at MamaBuzz.
We are and always have been “relaxed-eclectic homeschoolers”, meaning that our studies don’t necessarily begin at the same time each day, our days are structured more by rhythms and routines than they are by schedules and time slots, and often-times the plans will even change, depending upon ______. However, one thing I’ve really focused on this year, that I think will help me immensely in preparing for and making the most of the years ahead, has been consistency in having our study plans prepared and ready each week, and then having the discipline to follow through with most of our plans.
I’m not exactly sure why this has been so hard for me over the years, besides just the fact that I’m generally convinced that my kids are learning worthy lessons in most of their free-time, aka. unstructured learning, anyways. Also, I’ve always been a pretty easy-goin’, free-flowin’ artsy/creative type… And so, although I’m usually fairly relaxed and confident that it will all work out right in the end, I’ve had my share of panic-stricken moments as I’ve wondered if there’s really even any hope for me to do a good job of this whole homeschooling through highschool thing with my kids?!
When I read this article about Homeschooling through highschool by Janet Leake, a fellow self-proclaimed “relaxed homeschooler”, I was reminded (again!) to relax, even as I plan and diligently apply more discipline and structure to our studies where and as needed, and also relieved to hear someone speaking my language who has done this! She writes,
Ignore the people that say “You’re not going to try to homeschool in high school, are you?” as if you were embarking on some wild rafting trip. Homeschooling is fun, and it’s even more fun with older kids. They can do more, think more, persevere in long-term projects, and even help with the driving on long field trips. Removed from the most damaging parts of peer pressure, they’re a lot easier to get along with than when they went to public school.
The “relaxed homeschooler” attitude seems to work best for our family, and I recommend it for high schoolers. Choose your battles—win the war. Does it really matter if they start promptly at 7:30 on algebra, or do their coursework in a certain order, as long as it gets done?
As soon as I’m discouraged and tempted (again) to think that I could never homeschool (highschool), I am reminded “Is anything to hard for the LORD?”, and that with His help, some good planning and consistent efforts to meet our goals, we shall homeschool through highschool and will hopefully even do a good job of it!
…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
~ Philippians 1.6
We would love to hear from you! Please share any of your own thoughts, recommendations of resources or any other sage advice that might help to equip and encourage all of us homeschooling high-school newbies, and upcoming hopefuls too!
Embracing the adventure,
all images are from allposters.com and pixosphere.com