Note: I originally wrote this in 2014. Since then, all of our kids have graduated high school and three are through college. Our oldest two are married. All that to say, my thoughts are pretty much the same about homeschooling through high school. It is definitely not for everyone, but if you're considering it, I hope this encourages you! At the end of this post, I'll list some of my favorite high school curricula.
We just graduated our third child from homeschooling, with our last one going into her junior year. Looking back, I recall the feelings of mild panic as our first child headed into his high school years and wondering if we could do it justice.
While homeschooling is not for every family, it's been something that has worked for us. I'm sidestepping a bit the common questions that crop up like...
What about prom? (They can still go to a homeschool prom or with friends to a school prom if that's something they want.)
Can I teach algebra? (You don't have to--that's what tutorials and correspondence courses are for!) and
Will my child have friends? (Guffaw--we have to rein in the social life at times!)
...but instead will talk for a minute about WHY homeschool high school?
Why do this crazy thing? Why take the responsibility for transcripts and test scores and credits (oh my!) on oneself?
Some reasons we've loved homeschooling high school.
Time to read, time to think big thoughts, time to spend with family and friends. Time to go on trips or explore local areas thoroughly. Time to read books out loud together and create shared memories. Though these years were also very busy, I feel we gave our teens the gift of time.
Each of our children has a different bent--one was a baseball player, one a drummer, the next a photographer, and the last is pursuing musical theater and Irish dance. Some are more gifted in math, others are excellent writers.
Though they each needed to cover certain basics during these years, it was a gift to tailor coursework to each individual's talents, while also helping shore up their weaknesses.
Something my husband always said through the years was that we weren't homeschooling to close doors for our kids, but to open them. If we ever found a door closed to an interest that was important to them, we found a workaround, like working with a school district for dual enrollment for sports participation.
Realizing One Size Doesn't Fit All
Something interesting happened when we stepped outside the box, educationally speaking. Our children learned to challenge the status quo, asking questions like,
What if I want to go straight into a trade?
How about a gap year or semester to work or take a missions trip?
If I want to get a degree, what should I look at realistically?
My kids are comfortable asking much bigger, far-reaching questions than I ever did at their age. Maybe they would have anyway even if they hadn’t homeschooled, but already having an alternative educational experience seemed to give them permission to look at life differently.
There are many other reasons homeschooling simply worked for our family. Moving around as a military family was a big one--our oldest son lived in three different districts during his high school years, and homeschooling offered stability.
If you're on the fence about homeschooling high school, I hope you'll consider it. If you're a homeschooling parent, I hope you'll share what YOU loved about homeschooling the high school years!
Some of my favorite high school homeschooling resources:
(Please note--these are NOT affiliate links nor will I make any money from mentions. These are truly curricula and resources we've used ourselves and loved!)
I also highly recommend Cathy Duffy's curriculum reviews as an AMAZING resource! She's been my go-to since I began homeschooling in the 1990s. Such a wealth of wisdom and experience.