Homeschooling Through High School: A Testimonial

Homeschooling through high school … those words together seem to strike fear into the hearts of moms everywhere. I mean, sure— you could teach them to read, and to do regular math, and social studies… resources are everywhere, and it’s, like, the easy stuff! But seriously, algebra? economics? chemistry? Shakespeare?

Or maybe, the kids have been in public or private school all along, and now they’re in high school, and you’d really like to homeschool, but seriously, algebra? economics? chemistry? Shakespeare?

Homeschooling Through High School: A testimonial
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The thing about homeschooling is that really, you start where you start. If it’s preschool, you start there, middle school, there. Same with high school. You identify gaps, and current learning plateaus, and start there. Grade levels are kind of irrelevant.

So, how did we do homeschooling through high school?

We started homeschooling way back in 1997, when our oldest was 5, internet was a baby, and it was very much a sink-or-swim kind of thing. I’d heard of Abeka, and Bob Jones, but not much else. Emily, our oldest, loves to tell people that the first time she ever set foot in a public school was to spring her cousin from detention. Fast forward 10 years, and we’re doing high school. For us, it was simply an extension of what we were doing all along: finish something, and go on to the next thing. It became a bit more challenging, because I wasn’t content with the options available for English or Canadian Social Studies (history, geography, civics), but as with the rest of my “homeschool mom” career, I picked and chose, and often flew by the seat of my pants. By now, we have graduated out 4, with #5 doing grade 11 this year, and 3 more middle grades and under.

Is homeschooling through high school hard?

Yes. But I don’t think any harder, really, than the earlier grades, just different. A friend likes to say “little kids, little problems; big kids, BIG problems.” And they are, but your ability to deal with bigger problems seems to grow with the kids. Bad diaper rashes and childhood squabbles were a big problem…. until they weren’t. Teenagers are a special bunch, and it takes a great deal of wisdom to handle the ensuing crises effectively, because they are straddling both the child and adult worlds. Who better to help them navigate their way through than the people who know them best, and love them the most? Academics are really a small part of growing up, and they grow up so, so fast.

One last thing:

Homeschooling high school will not insulate your kids and guarantee productive, Godly, successful adulthoods. I think it probably gives them a better chance to avoid common teenage pitfalls, but it’s no guarantee, and homeschooling isn’t a way to bubble wrap our kids. Some are rebellious by nature, and will simply fall into those pits later. But, it doesn’t mean homeschooling was a bad idea. It could mean they were given the chance to grow into adulthood at all. Use these years to cement your relationships, and make family memories. Algebra, economics, chemistry, and Shakespeare are good, but it’s not what lasts.

Jennifer Olmstead

Jen is a mom of 8, and has been homeschooling since 1997. She considers herself a modest success, with her older children leading semi-emotionally stable lives, and the younger ones getting fed every day. 

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