Friday, June 18, 2010

Why homeschool teens?

Recently, I have posted that we've been struggling a bit with making some decisions about homeschooling our oldest couple guys.  Well, decisions have been made.  Between that process, and the fact that I've been asked a few times lately why we are homeschooling, well, I needed to get it written out.  Again.

So, why homeschool Middle School and High School?  Well, in no particular order, here are some answers for my family:
  1. Why not?  I think it has worked pretty well so far.  Don't mess with a good thing.
  2. I'm not finding another alternative that I like.  We've looked at public school, virtual charter schools, and some other non-traditional options (there are no nearby private schools).  While  many have some awesome "pro" factors going for them, the "cons" are just too big.
  3. I keep reading and hearing about the importance of sleep.  And especially about the importance of sleep for teens.  Having to catch an early bus, or having to conform to an online schedule... it would mess way too much with either the kids' ability to spend time with Dad, or with their sleep.  Those are just sacrifices I can't make.
  4. There are so many great resources out there for planning high school, for teaching some of those classes that seem more intimidating than others, or just for fellowship with other parents at the same stage I'm in.  It isn't quite so overwhelming when I realize I'm not alone.
  5. Okay, so I'm selfish.  I like my kids.  I want to spend time with them.  
  6. I love the flexibility we have -- the ability to go on Boy Scout trips that start on Thursday, the ability to volunteer at the food bank on Wednesday afternoons, the ability to drop (most) school when the grandparents visit, the ability to take a week or two off in September and enjoy the local sights after the tourists have left.  
  7. Okay, so I'm selfish.  I look at the literature lists for some of the high school programs and I either a) want to read them myself and wonder why I was never exposed to material like this, or b) want to re-read them and discuss them with my kids.  In all my honors English classes, why was I nearly (gasp) 40 before I first read anything by Austen?  Or 35 before I read any Tolkien? 
  8. My kids are such asynchronous learners, I'm afraid in a more traditional setting, their high school experience would be too much like mine.  Bored and completely tuned out in half the classes.  Clueless, but able to fake it by being a good test-taker, in the other half.  I want more for them.  You know, like them actually learning something. 
  9. I want them to have more options.  Forensic science?  Archaeology?  Entomology?  Differential Equations?  A literature class based on mythology?  A full year on Rome, encompassing history, art and literature?  A semester on Troy, contrasting 'legend' to archaeological evidences?  Game design?  Attic Greek?  I'm quite sure they can't get those in our district.  If I have to heavily supplement, I'd rather just take on the whole responsibility. (And all of the above have been brought up in the last month by one of my three older boys as something they want to study in high school.)  They won't necessarily GET everything they wish for.  But they will have a chance to help prioritize, or to find resources to study it on their own.
  10. Did I mention I'm selfish?  I love the young men they are becoming (I'm in denial about Richard and Trina ever getting to high school age... so no young woman yet!) and I want to spend time with them.  And (aside from differential equations) all of the courses they have suggested in #9 intrigue me too.  (Yes, we are hitting the point of outsourcing math.  I have NO desire to put the effort into learning some of this!)
  11. And, last (at least for this post) but definitely not least -- because people keep trying to tell me I can't do it.  My response is a lot like Locke in Lost -- "Don't tell me what I can't do!"


Alane @RaH said...

Great post, Debra. I'm am not one of those who think you can't do it....I know you *can*! I've also heard online, in books, etc. that from a spiritual standpoint, homeschooling in high school is probably more important than the early years. By God's grace and wisdom he's given you, you all will do very fine. ((hugs))

Sheri said...

Exactly! Don't forget-due to all the shameless childhood situations my children put me through-this is payback time. LOL...seriously tho-you have made the right decision. You will find this is the best stretch of the HS experience.


Deanna said...

I'm selfish too. I love being with my boys so much. My boys started out their school experience in public school and every year when the beginning of school rolled around I would get "back to school" blues. I hated seeing them go to school. Deciding to homeschool was wonderful for so many reasons!

Heidi said...

Wonderful post, Debra. I love your reasons. I'm selfish too, and choose to homeschool my high school student for many of the same reasons. I love learning and re-learning right alongside her. :)

Deb said...

You can do it Debra!

My best friend is the public school mom to a 13 year old girl and a 15 year old boy. When I first had my kids, I remember talking to her about how hard it must have been to leave hers in daycare and go back to work. She told me that while it WAS hard, she actually feels that they need her more now that they are older. I see the things she is helping them navigate thru now in school....and it makes my stomach hurt. Teenagers might be more vulnerable than we realize, and they should have our protection and guidance until they are truly ready to step out.

So - good job mama!

Mrs. Mandy said...

Thanks for visiting my blog. I too have a big kid and know how you feel. I love how you put it down in writing. Are you on the older crew like me? I also have youngers too.

Michelle Smith said...

I love this post, Debra! What great points you make.

Although I am nervous about my eldest beginning high school, I am also eager and excited to be mentoring her along. We actually considered doing some co-op courses this upcoming year and I could not find ones which corresponded with the direction we were going with our studies.

Although at first I was disappointed, I am now seeing it as an opportunity to go where the Lord takes us! :) May the Lord guide and bless you and your boys this upcoming year!

Kristine said...

Great post, Debra. I know homeschooling (whether at all, or all the way through) is not part of God's plan for every family, I am continually grateful that it's His plan (so far) for mine. It doesn't look exactly the way I'd envisioned, but that's not a bad thing.

Unfortunately, not everyone in my extended family agrees with our decision, but I don't have to answer to them as to how my kids are raised. It can be challenging.

Incidentally, I found out last night that you "know" two long time internet friends of mine, Lisa B. and Renita, through TOS. :)

momma24 said...

lol, Kristine! Great post! Thanks for the reminders for me to remember why we are homeschooling.

Unknown said...

Oh, Don't ever tell me what I can't do either! I am with you there ;)

Loved this post!