High School on the Horizon
Our Homeschooling Thru High School newsletter subscribers are a varied lot! Some of you have been teaching high school for many years; and as a veteran homeschooler in your circle of friends, many people come to you with questions. Or, you may be in the midst of homeschooling your first high schooler. Still others of you have yet to begin the high school adventure or you may have recently pulled a teen out of public or private school.
Regardless of your level of experience, we believe there is value for all of us to be reminded of the basics.
Prepare for Teaching High School
You'll want to prepare for the task of teaching high school by picking up at least one of these great resource books that lay a good foundation and provide many practical tips:
- "The High School Handbook: Junior and Senior High School at Home" by Mary Schofield
- "Senior High: A Home Designed Form+U+La" by Barbara Edtl Shelton,
- "Homeschooling High School: Planning Ahead for College Admission" by Jeanne Gowan Dennis,
- "High School @ Home" by Diana Johnson,
Information from these books will prove helpful to refer back to many times throughout the high school years. All of the authors were homeschool parents, so they know the questions you have, the concerns you think about, and the encouragement that you need!
Take a Mom/Dad to Lunch
One thing we love about homeschooling parents is that most of them want to support and encourage others. Take time to develop a relationship with another homeschooling family who is currently teaching a teen or one who has already graduated one or more children. A free breakfast or lunch may be quite a lure! Inviting a homeschool mom or couple either to your home or to a restaurant will give you uninterrupted time for picking their brains. Potential questions may include: What do you see as the benefits of homeschooling high school? (You may first want to ask if they are having a good day!) What curriculum has worked for you and why? What curriculum has not worked and why? (Both of the preceding questions are necessary so that you can compare/contrast curriculum that may best suit your teen.) What part of homeschooling high school did you find to be a challenge? How did you structure your day? Are there any tips that you want to pass on to someone just starting out?
Be an Excited Learner
Just as you desire your teen to be excited about the learning experience, you'll want to set a good example by investigating and exploring the many aspects of teaching high school. Keep your ears open for teaching seminars. Make plans to attend your state homeschool conferences where speakers (like us!) may be presenting high school workshops. Although it always takes a special effort to be away from home, the information you'll glean from a one-hour workshop may save you hours of time finding the information on your own. If you can't attend your state homeschool conference, ask if the sessions will be taped for purchase later, and then set aside time on your calendar to listen to a tape as a personal teacher training session. If you need a place to start, you may want to order a set of the 2008 HSLDA Homeschooling Thru High School Symposium seminars called "The Essentials of Teaching High School at Home".
Become Spiritually Equipped
Although teaching high school is serious business, keep in mind that one of the most crucial aspects of homeschooling your teen is simply the opportunity to continue building a strong relationship. The teen years are exciting, and you will see your child grow and mature in many ways. Do your best to keep the lines of communication open and carry on with the training that you began many years ago. We recommend an excellent book on the spiritual training of teens called "Age of Opportunity: A Biblical Guide to Parenting Teens" by Paul David Tripp.
Other parenting books and family relationship helps may be found on our website under Resources.
Watch and Pray
Homeschooling during the high school years is a noble task that may meet resistance from others including your teen! When your decision to homeschool high school is challenged, that's a good time to remember the reasons you are homeschooling in the first place. Elizabeth Smith's "Why Homeschool Teens" may help you to refocus and remember your objectives.
To add to this article, you will be blessed by Elizabeth's thoughts on giving God a chance which she shared in our December newsletter.
Especially during the high school years, pray about all aspects of your home education including but not limited to courses to teach, curriculum to use, activities to participate in, and perhaps even changes to the family's routine/schedule relating to mom's teaching responsibilities. Pray for your teen's spiritual growth and relationship with the Lord. Pray for your teen's relationships with friends and his/her character development. Pray about...everything! As a precaution, although spiritual fruit is a wonderful bonus when homeschooling your teen, it should never be the reason that you homeschool. If it is, then the absence of spiritual fruit will lead to discouragement, weariness, and despair. Rather, see your faithful obedience to the task of homeschooling as an opportunity to trust in the Lord's provision and power to take your meager sacrifice and accomplish His purposes in His timing and in His ways. Your focus will then rightly be on the Lord and not on your child nor on your teaching.
Next month, we will set out a proposed timeline to remind you of major deadlines and important to-dos for the high school years. Until then, greet each new day as another opportunity to thank the Lord for the teens He's entrusted to you.
With joy to you,
Becky Cooke and Diane Kummer
HSLDA High School Coordinators
This resource is an article from the Homeschooling Thru Highschool newsletter (4/9/2009), and is provided by the Home School Legal Defense Association as a service to the homeschooling community.