I will freely admit that our children have missed out on some things because we homeschool high school. There is no doubt that there are experiences that the public school provides that we just cannot replicate in our home. Some people even quit homeschooling at this level, because they don’t want their children to miss out on anything.
Here are some of the things that we couldn’t do the same as the public school:
1. Sports – In our home state of Missouri, students are not allowed to participate in public school sport teams unless they are enrolled at the school for at least 6 hours every day. Well, that kind of rules out homeschoolers, doesn’t it? We unfortunately learned this the hard way with #2, who loved to play softball and had grown past the community recreational league stage. When I called the high school to find out if she could practice with them, we learned the unhappy news.
(Interestingly enough, now that #2 is in college, she is playing on the JV team there and having a great time. Did she get an athletic scholarship? No. But she did get an academic one – and these days you have to choose between one or the other; you’re not allowed to stack them. So, while it would have been fun to play organized sports in high school, it did not overly hinder her from playing in college.)
2. Performance opportunities like choir, orchestra, theater, etc. – #1 plays violin and would have loved to be part of a school orchestra. The best we could do was for her to participate in a community student orchestra. There she took part in two concerts per year.
(In spite of not having much performance experience, #1 was accepted by one of her top college picks to be a classical violin major. Now she is the concertmaster of the school’s chamber orchestra and is due to graduate with honors this spring. She plans to go to grad school for music.)
3. Art instruction – We tried to do art in our homeschool, but what do I know? Basically nothing. So they drew their pictures and I said “well done,” but there was no real feedback.
(After having no formal art instruction in high school, #2 is now majoring in Illustration. She has taught herself everything she knows about art – in fact, after her first college drawing class, in which she received an A, she said that she hadn’t really learned anything new in the class.)
4. Honors/AP courses – At least one of my teens would have eaten these up. She LOVES academia and would have risen to the challenge of the intense reading and writing required for one of these. I know you can do them as a homeschooler, but I’ve never felt up to the task.
(Though she had no experience with an Honors course, this same student now has a 3.9 GPA in college. Because we taught her at home how to master independent learning, she has been able to handle all of the classes at college with little difficulty. Perhaps receiving AP credit would have been nice; but for all the hype that’s given to the idea, I am not convinced that all the time and effort are worth it.)
Hmmmm, there seems to be a pattern here. In each case, my children have overcome the supposed “missed opportunity” and have not been significantly hindered by not having these experiences. How crazy is that?
Oh yea, and let’s not forget these other missed opportunities because we homeschool high school:
5. Opportunities to purchase drugs or drink alcohol – I used to work with a 19-year old who had just graduated from our local high school. I asked her how prevalent the drugs and alcohol were. She said it was everywhere, every day.
6. Opportunities to have innappropriate conversations regarding sex – I remember the conversations I used to have when I was in high school, over 30 years ago. There is no doubt they are much more graphic now. Kids WILL talk about this stuff – even our own goody-two-shoes, morally upright, Christian ones. Is it just a matter of picking the right friends? That probably helps a little. But I’m thinking most parents would be surprised by what their children are talking about each and every day.
7. Opportunities to be taught via government-mandated sex ed and the Common Core – I’m sorry to offend anyone, but I really do not believe the government knows better than I do what (and how) my child should learn about sex. And I also am not a fan of the Common Core. Whoever said “It takes a village” must have had parents who didn’t care. I firmly believe that ordinary, loving parents, such as little ol’ me, can teach children better than whatever the government prescribes.
8. Opportunities to spend more time with peers than family – So that the end result is that the peers become more important than the family. And the family becomes a group of independent people living in the same house, rather than an interdependent unit. Well, that’s not gonna happen on my watch. I still believe family trumps friends any day. Or it should, anyway.
Gotta say it: THESE types of “missed opportunities,” I don’t feel bad about AT ALL.
So by now you might have realized my point: that my children have NOT missed out on anything significant because we homeschool high school. With a little ingenuity we can find ways to provide what our children truly need – and even in many cases, what they want. Or they will pursue what interests them (because they will have the TIME to do so), regardless of the lack of outside opportunities. And in the meantime, their character development will have been protected, and the family will remain a priority.
To quit homeschooling because the high school can provide so many more “opportunities” is short-sighted and ignoring half the picture, in my opinion. Are those opportunities – ALL of them – truly necessary and/or beneficial to our children?
In our family, we decided they were not. In fact, we are actually incredibly thankful to homeschool high school, rather than doing the alternative. What do you think?
Linked up on Finishing Strong 🙂