I think it is helpful to know why we do something – if we are homeschooling our highschool student, a good question to ask would be: What is the purpose of highschool? No doubt if we started our homeschool journey in primary school we knew that we needed to teach our kids to read, write and do arithmetic! This gave us purpose, gave us direction. We need the same as we head into the highschool years.
I believe most people would say the purpose is to prepare our students for university – or at the least a job. But this is a limited perspective on education and on our life in general. I would rather see our highschool years as the years we fine tune the character and skills for adult life.
Adult life is more than a job – or at least I believe it should be!
- Adult life does include financial responsibility so yes, our children need to have the skills to get a job – or get further training for said job. It also includes being a good steward of the resources you have – time, money, possessions etc. Now is the time to learn these skills.
- Adult life includes family life where you need to have skills to listen, response, forgive, be flexible, argue, serve, etc… Our children learn these skills in family life, and will take them into any other relationship they form.
- Adult life includes further education so they need to have the interest to continue learning and the skills to do so independently. (No longer do we see a person maintain the same job for their whole life, these days people need to re-educate or re-train themselves every 3-5 years) – often this is done externally as they balance a job and family.
- Adult life includes being responsible for yourself, so they need to learn and start to practice self-management
- Adult life will include using a variety of technologies so now is a good time not only to learn how to use them but to have the self-control to maintain balance in their lives
- Adult life includes working with other people either on work projects or community clubs.
- Adult life includes being a citizen of your country and a participant in your community, now is the time to establish a heart for people and an understanding of your country governance, culture and history.
- Adult life is a time where you can work with your passions and develop your interests to be productive in society. Highschool is a good time to acknowledge you have such passions and develop the skills that will enable those passions to shine.
When we see those aspects of adult life it certainly broadens our purpose for highschool – it is far more than Algebra, Biology and Essays, it is far more than prep for university.
I have always maintained that the quality of our homeschool is directly related to the quality of our parenting and homeschooling highschool is no different. I am still the parent of this highschool student – I still need to see his/her uniqueness and find opportunities for that to grow and flourish. The more I am constrained by the way the education department does this, the less freedom my teen will have to grow in the things that will truly help them as an adult. As a parent I look at my child with eyes of vision and hope – it is through these eyes that I need to set my child’s highschool direction.
The discipleship scope and sequence that I followed when my kids were in primary school is still helpful in these homeschool years: Relationships, Responsibilities, Intrapersonal skills, Talents, Academics. We need to look at each area in our teen’s life and consider where they want to go, (or consider the uniqueness we see in them) where they are at and therefore, what we need to focus on.
In schools the highschool years are about narrowing down your subjects and focusing on the ones that are going to help you achieve what you want to achieve. The problem is, many kids (either schooled or homeschooled) don’t know what they want to do or achieve so choices are made under expectations of other people or randomly. I want my child to have the freedom to grow during these highschool years and be prepared to make such a decision when they are ready – without me, or society, putting an expectation on them of when they need to know.
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Highschool Years is about Preparing for Adulthood
Highschool years are about discovering and building on the individual in preparation for living as an adult. As a parent I have often seen snippets of interests and/or talents in my kids, the things that make them them, but it is now, in the teen years that they start to become aware of it, and pursue it themselves. Until such passions develop it is my job to continue feeding the observations I do make and expanding their exposure to a variety of ideas without the pressure to decide now which career path their life will take.
If the purpose of highschool is to prepare for university then the skill set is less than the skill set needed to be an adult. Which purpose will you base your highschool years on? Your purpose will affect the choices you make, the subjects your kids study, the time they spend, the projects they take on, the books they read. There will be days that you will find yourself comparing, or your kids will find themselves comparing themselves with schooled kids, and you will have to remind yourselves that you have a purpose and you are working towards it.
Over to you:
Have you homeschooled a highschooler? What has been one of the most beneficial lessons they have learnt? I’m sure your stories will encourage others.
Thinking about Homeschool Highschool? If you are asking questions about homeschool highschool then I share some of our thoughts as we prepared for our kids highschool years.
Yes You Can Homeschool Highschool: One of the biggest benefits of homeschooling highschool is the opportunity for an individualised education.
Day in the Life of a Homeschool Highschooler: Everyone’s day will look different – but this is what highschool looks like at the moment.
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