Homeschooling High School……even in the early 1990s that phrase seemed to hold a sense of awe. A decision that no one felt they could make for themselves, and a choice that took a particular person to achieve.
As someone that WAS homeschooled for all of my elementary, middle, and secondary education and as someone now homeschooling high school with my own children, I firmly believe that it is a possibility open to any parent interested in creating educational choices based on their children’s needs.
Homeschooling high school isn’t necessarily the best choice for everyone. But, if you feel that your child would benefit from it, and they also see it as an option for themselves, it is something that can be achieved. Just because they are getting older does not mean you can’t continue to walk along their educational path with them.
Like any phase of homeschooling or parenting, for that matter, the phrase Homeschooling High school, can be frustrating and worrying and cause our own self-doubt to rise. But for me, I have felt those same feelings all along the way, in all phases of parenting and homeschooling. High school only adds a new level up within the game!
The Four Best Things about Homeschooling Teens
As my teens grow, I am finding that homeschooling high school, as a parent, is actually a pretty fun time. Hanging out with kids as they are testing ideas, reaching new knowledge levels, and exploring the world with fresh new eyes – and ideas – is exciting.
Sure, we don’t have as many cute little crafts, and we can’t consider a trip to Target a fun field trip in the same way. But there are a few things that I find I am cherishing just as much. Here are a few of my favorite things about homeschooling high school!
1. The Conversations
Oh my, this has to be my absolute favorite thing!
Gone are the conversations of little ones where I am the one gently guiding them to the new concept. And, in their place, are conversations that are engaging, enlightening, and a sharing of information that allows us both to grow.
We are able to each read about a topic and create our own opinions. And boy, do we have opinions over here!
But, we can take those opinions, thoughts, and ideas and bring them together in a conversation. Practicing how to share those ideas, how to debate those ideas, and how to consider someone else’s point of view as we move forward in our thinking.
It’s all practice for conversing and connecting with others in the world, but it’s at a new level. And I love how they can challenge my own way of thinking. They teach me things all the time.
And, I think it’s a great thing to be able to learn from your child, and allow them the knowledge that they are teaching you something – it’s a two-way street.
Although to be fair, it always has been. I certainly learned a lot about babies from my babies. Now, I learn a lot about teens from my teens!
2. The Ability to Explore Their Passions
We have always been eclectic and very much interest-led in our homeschooling. And this has continued into the high school years, allowing us to continue focusing on their interests first.
It is also absolutely wonderful to have the time and space to experience these interests with professionals in their element. Being available at the right time has allowed some great opportunities to present themselves that may not have otherwise.
From being the family that always visits the zoo on Wednesday mornings, we learned the zoo keepers’ names, and they learned ours. They started talking to us differently and they started bringing animals out of the cages to feed so we could experience it too.
We have been able to feed my equestrian’s love of horses, by volunteering at the barn after his morning lesson. An opportunity that provided hands-on work, that I could never have provided on my own.
And a local marine biologist, during a fish trawling excursion, conversed at length with another teen about the radial symmetry of marine life. After this, he was asked to help show the boat the various marine life they had found on their research pull. Talk about an opportunity!
Our flexible schedule has allowed us to find interest-specific classes and mentorships, create volunteer opportunities for my teens, increase the amounts of time they have to spend curating interests, and has enabled them time to cultivate social connections that may not have been available with other schedules.
I love the fact that we can create a program of study around their interests and not have to find that time around other things.
By using their interests across subject areas we can deep dive into a topic that they are passionate about, and focus on those English lessons – all in a relatable way. We can tie in almost all of their other goals into their interests.
These project-based, hands-on learning opportunities – out in the real world – are so much more impactful to them. They have a purpose and so they are important!
3. Increased Sibling Relationships
Another favorite is the extra time we have as a family. We can explore topics together, get to understand each other’s interests, provide support and ideas for each other, and create those connections we all want our kids to have.
As my kids get older I find myself reflecting on my own teen years. The interactions with my siblings then and the interactions with them now. These are all only anecdotal observations, but as we all do, I use life experiences to help direct me in personal choices.
I see my children wanting to be with each other, wanting to share things and experiences, with each other, and genuinely liking to be with each other………..most of the time!
I hope that allowing these connections to strengthen and deepen will create relationships that will last into their adulthood.
Give me a few more years and I’ll let you know if the grand plan is working! But I am sure enjoying the good times right now!
And, to be fully transparent, we have our share of squabbles too! I feel like for every harmonious sibling moment there is sibling turbulence on the horizon. Being around each other as much as we are can have its own challenges. Perhaps those moments would be less in a different setting, I’m not sure…….
But, right now I’m loving the care, understanding, and connection that are happening. And so, it makes the list of my favorite things!
4. The Ability to Allow My Teens to Sleep!
It is generally recommended that teens get between 8 and 10 hours of sleep……mine function best when this amount is at the higher end. And, with the shift in their circadian rhythm to stay up later at night, the freedom to start our day later is one of my favorite things.
Because dealing with tired and cranky teens is NOT my favorite thing!
Having the ability to let my teens accomplish their work at the time of day that works best for their brains has eased up some of the back and forth that can sometimes happen as teens push toward independence.
I will admit, their timing isn’t always compatible with mine. And, it has been a slow wandering toward a rhythm that does work. But, that path was worth it and has become a positive favorite to our lifestyle.
Having well-rested kids just makes the day smoother and I am here for smooth days!
Homeschooling In The Teen Years
Homeschooling changes as you move into and through the teen years. Gone are the cute, fun projects that are so prolific in the elementary years. In their place come very concentrated interests, deep conversations in place of coloring pages, and some pretty fun partners in adventure.
A Bonus! Teens Are A Lot of Fun
And, I am so glad that I get to be a part of their educational walk for as long as I’m invited to the table. Because it is such a great ride. It is quickly becoming one of my favorite phases of life – both in homeschooling and in parenthood.
And, they are pretty amazing people too!
Homeschooling high school isn’t really a scary thing – you just all have to be open to the adventure!
Jena Kocsis is a second-generation homeschooling mom of four and a dance educator. As a military family, she has traveled the globe and is currently exploring life in Central Virginia. As relaxed, eclectic homeschoolers, gameschooling has always been a large part of daily life. When not playing games, Jena usually has a mug of coffee, a stack of books, and a knitting project nearby. You can find Jena sharing their homeschooling journey on Instagram @learningbeyondthebarre.