My husband and I are always the weird ones. It seems like we are always doing things differently than everyone else. Can you relate?
We definitely broke the “rule” that says you should take homeschooling year by year and not make a commitment to homeschool your children beyond the year you are currently doing, reevaluating each year to determine whether or not it is best for your children or your family.
I can see the wisdom behind that way of thinking — but we’ve never done it that way. My husband and I have always known, from the very beginning when the eldest was in pre-K, that our goal was to homeschool high school.
And you know what? We’ve never regretted that long-term outlook. Homeschooling our kids through the high school years has been one of the highlights of our homeschool journey. Having graduated three (the fourth this year!) from our homeschool, with one more to go, I am so thankful that we committed to that goal long ago and have not departed from it since.
Aside from the fact that I learned that it’s not that hard to homeschool high school (which is a big motto of mine, y’all, so get used to hearing it, lol) I can think of ten reasons why it’s been a wonderful thing for us to keep our kids at home through the high school years.
1) Our kids learn to work independently. I’ve written before about how I love independent learning, that I think it is one of the most important things to teach our children. Well, the high school years are when this occurs. Students that are homeschooled through high school learn to take ownership of their own schooling, doing almost everything for themselves — reading the lesson, answering the questions or working through the problems, checking their work, studying for the test, etc.
This is key, because it prepares them for college, where they must take full responsibility for making sure they understand everything and keep up with the syllabus. No one will hold their hand there or even really notice if they fall behind. Even if they don’t go to college, the independent learning they practice during the high school years will instill in them a lifelong learning habit. This is a good thing.
For more information about HOW to teach your teen to learn on their own, check out my post called How to Teach the Most Valuable Skill Your Child Will Ever Need.
2) Character development remains a crucial focus. For us, one of the biggest reasons we chose to homeschool in the first place was the character and demeanor of the high school kids around us. We were impressed with those who were being homeschooled — not so much with those who were not.
My own opinion is that too many parents give up working with their child’s character too early. When our kids are home for high school, we are able to see first-hand who they are becoming and help guide them to make wise choices on a daily basis. They have no opportunity to hide aspects of their character from us. We are not dependent on their teachers to tell us about their behavior; we see for ourselves and can respond accordingly. At a time in their lives when character is being solidified, this is key.
3) Our children are not exposed to peer pressure — or at least, not as much. This is directly related to point #2. Our homeschooled teens are able to develop their own individuality without concerns about fitting in or being popular. Their innocence is protected for just a little longer. I want my kids to feel confident in who they are before they have to stand firm in an often harsh world. And we all know that the public (and possibly private) high school can be one of the harshest places out there.
4) Our kids have the time and opportunity to really focus on what interests them. They can try multiple things or specialize in just one or two. Because they are homeschooled through high school, their schedule is more open for really digging into a hobby or career path. For instance, my daughter was able to practice her violin for 3+ hours a day — and we could count it as high school credit.
A homeschooled teen can pursue an internship at a local employer (and work during school hours), or spend time concocting culinary masterpieces, or even start a business. Going to a school would not provide them opportunity for such focused effort.
5) There is time to talk. The teen years are a wonderful opportunity to talk with our children. They are thinking through so many issues at this age, and having them at home means we are there to listen and discuss when they are of a mind to share. This helps cement the relationship between child and parent, so the child knows they have a safe place to come for help. And it helps us to see their heart. This is invaluable.
6) Sibling relationships remain important. Having our kids home through high school meant that they had no opportunity to separate themselves from younger siblings — though they sometimes wanted to, lol. While it is true that being together all day every day means conflict resolution gets practiced often, lol, it also means there is greater opportunity for doing things together and just having fun with one another.
The high schoolers learn to serve the youngers. The youngers don’t feel left behind, and they have more opportunity to watch their older siblings’ example. There is a sweetness in watching siblings interact that doesn’t happen if they get sent off their separate ways every morning.
7) There is time for reading. If you’ve read this blog for any length of time, or followed my Facebook page (where I talk about it even more often), you know that I am a reader. And my kids are readers. Being home through high school means my kids have more opportunity to read for reading’s sake.
Of course they have assigned literature for school, but they also have more time to just pick up a book and enter another world for awhile. This is still crucial for language development, writing skill, formation of goals and ideals, and just plain entertainment. I’d rather have my kids reading than participating in gossip or other unhealthy conversation at the local school. I’d rather have them reading than doing a lot of things, in fact. 🙂
8) We can be spontaneous. I LOVE this aspect of homeschooling through high school. If we want to postpone school and head to the local theme park for a couple hours, we can do it (and the lines are SHORT!!). If my husband needs help hauling wood, we can all put our books down and go pitch in. If someone comes across a hilarious Jimmy Fallon clip on YouTube, we can watch it together for a little break.
Even more important for our family is the fact that we can adapt to my husband’s travel for work — when he is gone we can work harder, so that when he is home we are more able to spend time with him. If my kids went away from home for school, they would not see him nearly as much.
9) Our kids can get the rest their bodies need at this age. There is a reason teens are known for sleeping in — because their bodies are changing and growing so much and so quickly that they need A LOT of rest. Our kids don’t have to get up super early in the morning to catch the bus or be in class. If they are caught up in their work, they can even sleep in on a weekday! If their body needs sleep, they don’t have to deny it and run the risk of getting sick — nor of being cranky or emotional, lol. Teens are predisposed towards drama anyway; no need to exacerbate that due to exhaustion!!
10) Mom gets hugs throughout the day. Don’t underestimate the power of this one!! My teens are the best at seeing when I am frazzled and giving me encouragement via a hug or rubbing my back or even making lunch. And there is something about a hug from your teenager — knowing that they are choosing to show you love rather than the disrespect or rebellion that one can tend to expect from that age — it’s just wonderful. Give me all the opportunities for those that I can get!! 🙂
Making the choice to homeschool high school can be scary — but it is SO worth it. It is to my mind the best opportunity to develop a relationship with our teens that will last into adulthood. If you are at all on the fence about homeschooling your teen, think about these things and be encouraged that it can be WONDERFUL!! Trust me when I say you will LOVE it! 🙂
I’m linking up with the gals at the iHomeschool Network today! Everyone is talking about Homeschool Gifts — things that they are thankful for about homeschooling. Click on the image to read their great articles!