Homeschooling in high school can be a challenge, and it’s definitely something people wonder if it’s possible at all. Beyond just academics, many parents worry that the emotional ups and downs of teenagers will create a difficult environment, more than they are able to handle on their own.
Parenting a teenager has not always been what I expected, and homeschooling in high school has had similar surprises, alhamdulilah (praise God). Yes, we’ve had our fair share of struggles, and I’ve sometimes wondered if we’ll come out the other side, but today I want to share 10 things I’m thankful for in our homeschooling high school journey.
1. Supportive husband
I have to first give a big shout out to my husband, alhamdulilah. If it wasn’t for his support, homeschooling Kira probably just wouldn’t happen. Since Kira’s dad (my ex) has been hot and cold in his support of homeschooling, I don’t know that I could handle the pressure from both sides. Having someone rooting for us in our home has been key in continuing this journey, even through the rough times.
2. Wide variety of friends and their homeschool styles
At the beginning, most of the people I knew were either using a virtual school or using The Well Trained Mind nearly exclusively. As I’ve met more homeschoolers and learned more about other homeschooling methods and curriculum, I’ve loosened up my homeschool approach a bit. I now realize that academic goals can come from more sources than books, and I see those opportunities where I didn’t see them before.
3. Homeschooled friends for my daughter
Ahh, the ever-present question about socialization. We’ve been blessed with some great homeschooled friends that Kira can call in the middle of the day, or we can schedule a homeschool day together so they can do their schoolwork with a friend.
4. Schedule flexibility
Whenever we sit down with the other fencing parents to agree on a tournament schedule, I appreciate the flexibility we have. We can fit our homeschool life around the tournaments rather than having to fit in school work during a traveling tournament like the other kids. Also, we’ve been able to slow down when Kira needs extra time to understand a concept, and speed up when she’s got something down pat.
5. Teen daughter gets time with her little sisters
With a nearly 11 year gap between Kira and my next oldest child, it would be easy for them to not get along very well, and for Kira to feel generally annoyed by her little sisters. Since she’s able to see them often, they all have their own relationship with each other. Kira likes to take her sisters to the store down the street, do their hair, or just be silly and play with them at home.
6. Nurture my teen’s sense of right and wrong and moral values
The pressures of kids to grow up fast in today’s world are real. Even when Kira was in 3rd grade at the public school, I saw how kids started feeling like they knew better than adults, they felt justified in having boyfriend/girlfriend relationships, and a host of other things that our family doesn’t condone at such a young age. Instead of being a quiet voice on the evenings and weekends, we can have meaningful conversations more often about why we refrain from such things. I honestly believe that numerous casual conversations are far more valuable than a few formal conversations.
7. Public school resources when we needed it
I can’t teach everything, and science is one expensive homeschool subject when you get into high school! I’m thankful for a public school system in our area that is very homeschool friendly, so we were able to let Kira take one class at the public school, for free.
8. Online classes for subjects I would never want to teach at home
We’ve used Currclick and Studio Arabiya for Chinese and Qur’an respectively, and I couldn’t be happier! Both these subjects are off my radar, and still Kira is learning. It’s homeschool bliss, is what it is.
9. Online tools for grading and transcript creation
I’ve talked about how I feel like a pen and paper person, but in reality, I need digital tools to get the end result I want. I’m so thankful for an all-around tool like Homeschool Planet to take the weight off my shoulders. Permanency of digital plans, and reminders for forgotten work? Yes, please!
10. Time with my teen daughter and nurture our relationship
I saved the best for last. I don’t know that I’d have such a strong relationship with Kira if she was in public school, especially given she’d be at her dad’s for half the week so I’d only have portions of four days with her. In the teen years, she’d be using nearly all that time for fencing, working, homework, or hanging out with friends! Since we have time together during the day, I have precious moments to bond with her, and I’m happy to say we have a friendship even, alhamdulilah.