I know you all read that title with the expectation that I would have some sort of epiphany and clear cut answer for you, with lots to back it up….but I don’t! Instead I have a thought process, lots of talking and researching, and some possible resources.
In all the talk you hear around your homeschool groups, or online at the blogs and websites that you frequent, I am sure you have heard, seen, and felt the buzz around the sheer thought of homeschooling during the high school years. Seven years ago when I started homeschooling my then 1st grader (with a 3 year old and a newborn behind her), the high school years seemed so far off. But alas, this year we started 8th grade with our oldest, which means the ever looming high school years are less than ONE YEAR away!
Over the summer I was with a group of homeschooling mothers and our topic of conversation rolled to high school. One mother, one I see as more of a homeschool veteran than myself, was preparing to send her oldest to a private high school. The decision was one the child made, with the support of her parents. The only problem…two weeks before school the child decided maybe homeschooling was still the better option! Now Mom is in a pinch as she wasn’t preparing to homeschool high school. I was surprised to hear even she was concerned about the upcoming high school years. As we talked she expressed her concerns over making the transition from a more unschooling style to a more concrete record keeping style. She pointed out that the reason for my lack of serious anxiety over this topic may be because of the extensive record keeping I already do. Two years ago I started using Homeschool Tracker and have felt a sense of organization and order come over our homeschooling days.
Another reason I feel my anxiety over homeschooling high school is unusually low is because I find a sense of calm from seeing that there isn’t just one means to the end. People often question how our children will graduate from high school and how they will get into college. I tell them it is likely my 3 will never really graduate from high school as at least here in NYS they won’t be issued an official diploma. Having come from a path of public school, top of your class, immediately to college path, that is all I initially saw as the way to go. In stark contrast to that is my husband who never graduated from high school, ended up getting his GED, dabbling in a few college courses, but ultimately took Microsoft Courses and became MCSE Certified. We have seen with our own eyes where homeschool kids have taken courses at our local community college and then gone on to other four year schools to finish their degrees. Some kids choose to take their GED, and some don’t. Some sit for all the exams like Regents exams, ACT, SAT, etc, and some don’t. I guess what I am trying to point out is that if you didn’t dot an “i” or cross a “t” somewhere along the way, the doors aren’t shut forever. There are many paths and many options to get from homeschooling high school to college or life beyond.
So now you are wondering, how am I planning our 9th grade year? I think 9th grade will look pretty similar to 8th grade. We have set math and English/language arts courses that will take us through high school. We choose our history on a yearly basis based on where our interest might be or what opportunities present themselves. My biggest and only real concern is science. I can give them a base, but not all they will need in the science department. For that, I plan to look outside our home, for an online course, or a local course being offered for homeschoolers. For example, our 8th grader is currently taking an astronomy class being offered at the local planetarium, as well as working through human anatomy at home.
As our 8th grade year continues I spend time asking questions, doing research, and keeping a list of possible options. As we speak I have a “draft” of a blog post where I keep adding links to things I have found that I believe will help us along our journey through high school. I encourage you to take a deep breath, ask questions, be diligent on your path, and know that in the end you will find the path that works for you, and each one of your children.
NOTE: The photo above is from www.freedigitalphotos.net.