Homeschooling high school can be an intimidating prospect! But, after doing just that for the past 7 years and not only surviving but thriving beyond my wildest dreams, I am convinced it was the best way to go! And we’re not done yet!
Why Homeschooling High School is the Best!
Don’t get me wrong, I really loved homeschooling the younger years up to high school! And I wish sometimes I could go back and either do things differently in some areas or just do more fun and creative things! But, the time I have spent coaching, guiding, and watching my guys in high school has to be the most rewarding, exciting, and surprising experience of our homeschool years together!
Allowing your children to have more input in what they want to study and how to do it. In formulating our high school plan for classes toward graduation, my guys played a big part in looking through curriculum with me. (And for a curriculum junkie like myself, that was fun to have someone to discuss what we are going to use and how.) They enjoyed discussing what they were interested in and how they felt they wanted to learn that skill, concept, and subject matter. (We consulted our state guidelines and possible colleges they may show interest in in the future.)
My guys chose things I would not have thought doing, like Arabic instead of Spanish.
Incorporating your child’s interests and extra curricular activities into the credits and time given for subject areas. My guys spent so much time in various activities and finally specializing in specific activities and finding themselves completing or studying and learning material within required credits needed for high school, that we began to fold into our “classes” they were taking that year and including that time as part of their credit hours.
For example, one son spent so much time in community theater in major parts and winning an award, that we had to give him “drama” credit. He also branched off into public speaking and competing in competitions, spending hours writing, practicing, and competing that that all counted toward “speech” credit.
Another example is the time involved in Search and Rescue for Civil Air Patrol in learning First Aid and Health. This also involved Physical Training and passing the Presidential Fitness requirements to move up in ranks within the program. Another part of the program involves learning and passing exams on Aeronautics. Yet, another part of the program involves learning and passing exams for Leadership.
Boy Scouts is another program where you have to learn and demonstrate knowledge and skill to earn merit badges – talk about your subject areas that you can include with this!
Developing interest, passion, skills, and knowledge in a particular field or activity was the best part of high school that I enjoyed! I believe my boys did as well, looking at what they accomplished and participated in!
Participating in the type of activities that I mentioned before helped each of my boys not only develop skills and knowledge in particular areas, but assisted them in developing personal skills and focusing on possible future career goals. Each of their interests developed leadership skills through specific training and experiences in their activities. They progressed in ranks and positions, resulting in more and more responsibility and learning opportunities. From this experience, they had to deal with “real world” scenarios that gave them opportunities in working with people and different situations that arise, much like adults experience in the work place! Great experience!
This all helped with developing skills in anticipating and resolving problems, decision making, working through pros and cons, and gaining an understanding of self and personal likes, dislikes, and preferences! Invaluable! Something you can’t really get from sticking to just books!
The growth and development of leadership skills and confidence and self-knowledge that has come through these kinds of activities and opportunities has been phenomenal and exciting to watch! My guys will even admit that it surprised them to know that they were capable of doing some of things they have learned to do or were put in a position to perform.
Civil Air Patrol gave one son the leadership training and opportunity to steer his energies in a positive direction. It also gave him all those problem and people solving skills and opportunities! He had the opportunity to act as First Seargent for a statewide Encampment of 400 kids. For someone who felt most comfortable in a routine and knowing what to expect – what wonderful opportunities there were for personal growth. A lot of self confidence can be gained when you learn to comfortably rappel off the side of a cliff!
Boy Scouts has wonderful training opportunities as well. Not only are there the leadership positions, but they have a National Youth Leadership Training Program in a more formal program! Who knew? My quiet son who was very comfortable on his own is about to embark on an area wide boy scout weekend where he will be directing around 300 boys! Is he a bit nervous and apprehensive doing this? (This will be the first time with this size) Yes. But, is he excited to put what he has learned and experienced into action? Definitely!
As I said, when we started high school, none of us anticipated the opportunities awaiting these guys!
Community Service opportunities are unlimited and can lead to awards and scholarships! One of the best aspects of homeschooling for us was the time it allowed us to devote not only to personal interests but to community service. Both of my guys, through their activities took advantage of many of the opportunities offered to volunteer their time in service to the community.
For example, my Civil Air Patrol guy received training in Search and Rescue, Ranger training, and FEMA certifications and participated in community service involving these skills learned.
My Boy Scout not only had the time to volunteer on his own at the library, but also devoted much time to all service opportunities for our community from recognizing veterans and completing environmental projects, but completed his Eagle rank by conducting a suitcase/toiletries/stuffed animal drive for the Foster Children’s Program for our county where over 700 children per year pass through the program carrying what donated or few items they bring with them mostly in a plastic bag.
All of these hours contributed to earning a Gold Level Presidential Volunteer Service Award!
Surprises abounded these past years and much time devoted to these activities. And, as a parent, they were really the most enriching as we watched our guys grow and become these unique, independent, and confident young men. As they launch into college and the world, they have left with a sense of who they are (for us, first of all – Christian young men steeped in our faith) and the confidence they need to move forward in their experiences gained.
High school homeschooling really is the best!