Homeschooling high school used to be an imaginary distant realm I pondered only when nosy strangers or worried relatives brought it up, or between 11pm and 3am on days of the week that end in y.
“We will worry about it when we get there,” I’d say. Or, “Yeah, we might put them in private school.” “What’s it to ya! You buying?”
And now it’s finally happened. All four of my men wear the same size socks, and folding laundry is simple and a complete joy.
Oh, and I’m about to have two high school freshmen.
Well, basically I’m sort of already kind of homeschooling high school since they are doing Algebra I this year, which is technically a high school credit. And we’re reading To Kill a Mocking Bird, which I didn’t read until my junior year, so maybe they should just graduate next year and we can be one of those weird families you see on the news whose kids get their PHD before a driver’s license.
High School: Are we Socializing or Learning?
So much of the worry over homeschooling high school stems from the socialization conspiracy.
My theory is that the socialization myth was created to bait parents with the fear their kids would be weird outcasts if not being sheepled seated alongside and influenced by their clueless peers 1,440 hours a year.
I’ve just finished 3 loads of laundry (living the dream) and ironing a shirt for the twin who RSVP’d that he would attend tonight’s 8th grade 50’s cotillion. Their very last cotillion, I might add, since they are finishing middle school and because:
A. It is the last dance of the school year.
B. I’m tired of pushing them into uncomfortable social situations for the sake of awkwardly artificial socialization.And C. Have you seen the price jump for high school cotillion? What do they get for that mortgage payment? Kobe beef with the governor in a tailored tux?
My other 8th grader declined the dance politely via the required
written and rehearsed phone call. Instead of tight rolling his jeans and hand-jiving with girls in skirts embroidered with dogs, he chose to hang out with his grandfather learning to electronically engineer his new pool pump equipment.
I know what you’re thinking; he’s missing out on big life lessons. But nobody asked you.
When he engineers the first real working flux capacitor and returns to the 50’s he’ll just have to wing it at the sock hop. (ahh socks).
Homeschool Test Kitchen
Everything we have done in our homeschool up until now feels like we were just gathering ingredients for a recipe. A homeschooling high school recipe we only get one shot to perfect. And I’m the Swedish Chef from the Muppets.
I mean, I can
cook homeschool like a coffee slinging academic ninja supermom on a mission in yoga pants. But I’m hoping to provide a souffle and truffle sauce education for these guys.
I don’t want to end up failing with egg all over my face.
Suddenly I’m hungry.
The Point of No Return
Turns out, the big chasm between homeschooling middle school and homeschooling high school will be no wider than the gap between Algebra I and Algebra II.
So why does it feel like we’re about to leap the Grand Canyon in a homemade soapbox car?
It’s like we’ve reached this precipice. It’s the line in the sand, the jumping off point, the decision that separates the men from the boys in skinny jeans, the real women from the whimpering Disney princesses, and ends all theoretical unicorn talk about high school.
This is it! Put up or shut-up! Are we homeschoolers or are we gutless conformists?
Oh, but imagine all the free time I’d have if…
Accepting the challenge to homeschool high school feels like leaping a rocky precipice because if we ever, for some unforeseen reason, such as my alien abduction, must return our kids to a brick and mortar school, they may not accept the mom bestowed credits my kids have earned.
Even if they are credited juniors and can recite the constitution backwards and blindfolded while simultaneously rigging their own atom splitter and cooking second breakfast, the school could put them back at the beginning of 9th grade. Just because.
Do not pass go. Do not collect $200.
Or they might be forced to take (gasp)… placement exams to prove themselves scholarly. Which they would totally pass, of course, and then should be issued 2 diplomas just for the trouble.
But who wants to put their kids through that gauntlet of nonsense?
If they make homeschooled kids take placement exams for each subject, then every kid in school should pass one each year to move up a rank. Seriously, I graduated with people who write illiterate nonsense on social media such as, “I seen you was they’re.” Autocorrect just had a stroke.
Alternative School Other Options
Being the thorough worriers responsible parents we are, we of course looked into private school.
Because if it costs more it must be better, right?
We didn’t look too closely or for too long. Our search might have been more in depth and included more schools if I had a wealthy dead relative who loved me best more money to throw around.
But hoping there was a coupon, we visited a university model school that is marketed as “homeschool lite.” This is basically homeschooling for people who like the idea of homeschooling but don’t really want to do all that icky homeschooling stuff or make their own decisions about how to spend their time and money.
“Co-educators” My Foot!
I thought I’d get my cake and be able to eat it too. The boys would only go to school three days a week. We’d homeschool the other two. Someone else would make the transcript. It would look completely official with a high-class prep school seal that said, “We can possibly afford 15k to have our kid’s SAT scores inflated.”
Then the school’s founder and director stood up at the info meeting and blew that dream to bits. Looking directly at me he said, “You homeschool moms are going to have to let go of the reins.”
I jumped up immediately shoving my boys out the pew, “That’s it! Kids, get in the car. Let’s go. Move!”
Nah, not really. But I was thinking it.
Because the nicer lady that spoke before him had just referred to us parents as “co-educators.” I took that to mean I’d keep the reins, and the school would ride shotgun and navigate the map of educational opportunities and locate the nearest Starbucks.
Greater Price; Fewer Options
In all fairness, it was a great Christian program that started a bit too early in the morning offered a classical approach to education that would challenge the smartest of students. Their graduates would, no doubt, be prepped and aimed for pre-med, pre-law or pre-boss man at just about any university.
But I’m not baking a lawyer or a doctor in my kitchen. How were they going to tailor this education for my future engineer and pilot in training?
Oddly, they didn’t want to answer too many “specific” questions before you had formally applied to the program and passed inspection. But I’d like to know what my application fee is applying to, so I proudly interrupted meekly slithered my hand into the air…
“Por favor, must they take Latin before they can take Spanish? What technology classes do you offer? Are there any competitive sports to pad a military academy application?
What I didn’t say after I got my questions answered:
Wait… did you say typing? That may have been considered a technology class in 1953.
And by the way, Latin died centuries ago. Without Latin, even toddlers are learning Spanish in like 17 countries and all the border states.
You say your students are encouraged to join the local homeschool sports teams, huh? Did you guys know that we can do that for $20/year without the middleman markup? But I just figured more options and a coach or two came with this high school tuition money since I’ll be teaching half the classes at home and freeing up some of ALL THIS TUITION MONEY!
Anything School Can Do I Can Do Better
Because of all the
nothing burgers “great opportunities” they were offering us: the chance to buy uniforms, books and tuition, get up early, find our own technology and sports options, and teach at home two days a week, I was convinced more than ever that I was, is and am a control freak.
And I can totally do this homeschool high school gig like a rock star, but without the rock star budget. We don’t need high priced groupies. Hold my coffee and watch this! Challenge accepted.
Lord help! Here goes nothing. And everything.
Everything seems to ride on the next 4 years. My boy’s happiness and careers, their very souls and my future grandchildren’s options for cool shoes and birthday party venues are at stake!
Okay, not really. I know that was probably overly dramatic not really though. It just feels that way while I sit here planning our path and daring to teach American History with DVDs and novels, rather than some stuffy old textbook we will all want to burn by October.
How all this works out is not completely on my shoulders. Not even close. My two freshmen have discovered, via some great moments, hard work and hard face-planting fails, that they really hold the reins to their career goals and adulting success. I’m just navigating the options and keeping the coffee brewing.
Really my husband and I are just here to point the way, throw reading material at them, set boundaries and expectations, chauffeur them around till I trust them to drive, discuss and guide them with our beliefs and moral standards, and act as an ATM.
We’ve already begun our journey starting with these simple questions:
- What do you want to do with your life?
- What will it take to make that happen? (courses/GPA/test scores/work ethic/time/money/skills/determination, etc.)
- How bad do you want it? (i.e. What are you willing to set aside/give up to see it through?)
- What is your backup plan?
- Who’s your favorite teacher/guidance counselor?
Let’s Do This!
Already my boys have specific goals in mind. And we can tailor the next four years to point them toward those dreams. But their goals may change, so we are going to set our sights high like nuclear physics at MIT high. That way, their options stay mostly open for as long as possible.
I think? Soon I’ll quit being indecisive and hit the checkout button on my online cart of curriculum and then it’s Go Time! Well really we’ll just continue cutting this trail we’ve started and h ope there aren’t any pitfalls or ticks?
Are you ready boys?
On your mark…
Here WE go!
Get a Pencil. I’ll bring the coffee.