Kicking Off another Year
This edition of the high school newsletter is most likely reaching your inbox during your first or second week of school. For some of you...so far so good. For others, you may be thinking that it is going to be a very long year! Regardless of how your school year has begun, we'd like to share some tips that hopefully will keep you going strong throughout the year.
We encourage taking time to plan everything from lessons, to field trips, to science experiments, and more! But, we caution you against rigidly adhering to those plans if circumstances suggest that something should be changed.
For example, although most students will include physical education (PE) during the early years of high school, you may elect to delay adding PE to your teen's high school plan until the later years if time is short due to the arrival of a new baby in the family or an unexpected illness. Or, it may prove helpful to delay teaching a co-op class right now because extra time must be taken to teach younger children. Your participation in the co-op may come in later years.
If you view situations such as these as simply temporary detours and not as dead end roadblocks, you won't fret about the changes in plans. Flexibility is key--be careful that you don't try to replicate someone else's schedule or high school plan. Your teen, your situation, and your family's best interests may be better served by following a unique high school plan.
Check Your Fears at the Door
Are you afraid of teaching high school? Do you doubt your ability to provide your teen a quality education? Have your friends put their children in school this year? Is your teen making it known that homeschooling would not be his choice? Any of these questions may stir up fears that one day or another may get the best of you.
We want to let you in on a secret. You are not alone in this respect; many moms are anxious about the same things you are. ("Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe" by Todd Wilson is a light hearted, helpful resource in this regard). Acknowledging your fears is often the first step in diminishing their power. Yes, you may doubt your ability to homeschool high school, but you can take the teeth out of fear by remembering that the Lord has provided a multitude of resources that will prepare you to do your best. If you are an HSLDA member, call us (540-338-5600) or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org . We are here to answer your questions or provide a recommendation. Many times parents tell us that receiving a suggestion from a knowledgeable source gives them confidence and reassurance that they are on the right path. If you are new to teaching high school, any of the following reference books would be great to have on hand as you journey through these years.
- "Homeschooling High School: Planning Ahead for College Admission" by Jeanne Gowan Dennis
- "Senior High: A Home Designed Form+U+La" by Barbara Edtl Shelton
- "The High School Handbook: For Junior High, Too" by Mary Schofield
- "Homeschooled and Headed for College" by Denise Boiko
- "100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum: Choosing the Right Curriculum and Approach for Your Child's Learning Style" by Cathy Duffy
Another antidote to fear is to take your worries to the Lord in prayer. Do you fear that your child won't be able to find a job, get admitted to the college or trade school of his or her choice, and that it will be your fault? If you do, ask the Lord's direction in preparing your child. When you are weak, He will prove Himself to be strong. Also, remember that no one (not even you) can thwart the Lord's plans for your child. He is sovereign over all of the details of your child's life, and He (not the admissions officer!) is at work in your teen's life and future plans.
If you find yourself worrying constantly, then perhaps you are trying to shoulder too much of the responsibility. Ruth Bell Graham, in her poem, "In His Hands," reminds us that the Lord's shoulders are wider than ours:
a mother's praying
low and quiet;
Listen what her tears
see her heart upon its knees;
Lift the load
from her bowed shoulders
till she sees
You, who hold the worlds together;
hold her problems in Your hands.
Banish Annoying Feelings
Emotions are a natural part of who we are. But when feelings go unchecked, they are not productive and can cause havoc in our homeschools during the high school years. Are you feeling envious? Remember that the Lord is your portion and He has given you an inheritance.
- Are you feeling powerless? The Lord promises to be your strength.
- Are you feeling hopeless? The Lord provides you with a hope and a future.
- Are you feeling weary? Wait on the Lord and He will give you wings to soar.
Replacing feelings with truths from the Word of God will refocus your thoughts and actions.
Love Them to the End
Some of your teens may struggle during the high school years as you train them academically and spiritually. They may strain your patience, question your authority, or express doubts about the faith and values that you wish to impart to them. Prepare in advance for situations in which you will be tempted to react negatively or not in accordance to Scripture. Maintain a humble spirit towards your teen and don't give in to feelings of superiority.
It sometimes helps to remember that the Lord didn't give up on you when you were running your own life. He did not abandon you when you ignored Him. He didn't cast you out when you turned to your own way. Although the Lord was betrayed, deserted, disappointed, and questioned by his disciples, this verse (John 13:1) reminds us that He "loved them to the end." And, He loves you--all the way to Calvary. No one is perfect in the Lord's sight apart from the righteousness of Christ. Your teens' sins may be different than yours, but all of us are debtors to mercy and grace. The Lord will give you the strength to keep going, keep loving, and keep entrusting your teen to Him.
We encourage you to spend time daily in the Word of God--there's no substitute for that! You'll be in a better position to see things from the Lord's perspective when relating to your teens. Choose verses from Scripture to pray for your teen. Here are some to consider:
- Create clean hearts in our children and renew within them a steadfast spirit (Psalm 51:10).
- Give them wisdom to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please Him in all respects, bearing good fruit in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God (Colossians 1:10).
- Pray that they would pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance, and gentleness (I Timothy 6:11).
Look Ahead, not through the Rearview Mirror
You may be encouraged to know that the HSLDA staff regularly prays for our member families (another good reason to join HSLDA if you haven't already!). We count it a privilege to lift you up before the throne of the Lord.
We look forward with you to a new school year. It's a time of fresh beginnings and an opportunity for the Lord to do a new work in your teen and in you! Join us next month as we take a closer look at teaching history during the high school years.
Strolling into September with you,
Becky Cooke and Diane Kummer
HSLDA High School Coordinators
This resource is an article from the Homeschooling Thru Highschool newsletter (9/2/2010), and is provided by the Home School Legal Defense Association as a service to the homeschooling community.