Many families who homeschooled through elementary and middle school debate whether they should continue through high school. While academics are part of the decision to homeschool high school, they aren’t the only consideration. This article explores the social, emotional, and family benefits of homeschooling through high school.
Teen Years Are Crucial
Adolescence is a challenging time for many, but also a time that can shape and define the rest of a person’s life. One reason many families opt to continue homeschooling is the desire to have a lot of time with their teenagers. This provides the obvious benefit of continuing to have a major influence on your child’s morals and values. This time also gives you a chance to enjoy the little things– hearing about what they are reading, getting to know their friends, and really seeing how they change from day to day. The teen years go quickly and it is important to make the most of this fleeting time.
Avoid the Frenzied Pace of Brick and Mortar High School
High school students can be ridiculously busy. School often starts very early in the morning, which can be at odds with the natural body rhythms of adolescence. Sports and other activities may run well into the evening. One trend I hear about from public school families is the addition of “zero hour,” an hour before school starts to allow for an additional course in the school day. So, school can start as early as 6:30 a.m., and with sports or activities kids may not be home until well into the evening!
One sleep researcher was quoted in the Washington Post as saying “Every single high school student I have ever measured in terms of their alertness is a walking zombie.” Sleep deprivation is now the norm for high school students. The college admissions frenzy has put teens under intense pressure to excel in all areas – to take many APs, to participate in numerous clubs and activities, and to keep up with social expectations. Families who join the homeschool ranks for the first time during high school often do so as a way to escape the rat race of high school.
Prioritize Life Skills
Avoiding pressure cooker high schools allows more time and attention to the transition to adult life. Far too many teens enter adulthood unable to take care of basic aspects of life such as cooking, cleaning, laundry, basic home repair, child care and personal finance. The teen years are the time many kids are ready to take on bigger responsibilities. While homeschooling, there is more time and energy available to teach and supervise these transitions.
Reap the Rewards
Many long term homeschooling parents consider the high school years to be the frosting on the cake. It is a pretty amazing thing to look back on what challenged your kids most – whether it was handwriting, learning to read, working through frustrations, etc. – and to see the ways in which they’ve grown and developed in these areas. It is always a satisfying thing to see teens go out in the community and volunteer, take classes, or take on jobs and to hear positive comments from people who get to know them.
I encourage you to hang in there through high school. It will be worth it! Readers, I’d love to hear more about your experiences with homeschooling high school. Please share in our comments section.