Monday, January 27, 2014

Day Twenty-Seven: Homeschooling Highschoolers

I sat shoulder to shoulder with other eager parents as the keynote speaker for Homeschool Legal Defense contended for carrying our children through their highschool years at home. I'll never forget how he challenged us to think about why we would place our child into the school system just because they enter grade nine. Who made that grade disassociated from grade eight and what makes us suddenly abide by a standard we've been ignoring up to this point? What makes those children abruptly profit less from home education? Learning is still learning and how you arrive at the knowledge and skills your child needs is a decision each family makes. Whatever level that child is at is the level you continue to teach, regardless of the credit system being something the general population adheres to. I wrestled in my mind as to whether or not I could handle teaching highschool. Then I realized I had already trained my girl to become an independent learner and she has been mostly working on her own for about three years.
My Homie
I slipped off my shoes when I walked through my front door and mulled over what I had learned. I began boiling a pot for the potatoes when my husband entered the house. I shared all the nuggets of wisdom I'd gained that day and he agreed there was no other way for our family but to simply continue what we were doing with our oldest. "Highschool" would just be the name of the next step, not a daunting idea or an overwhelming change, but just another grade.
Plastering Daddy with a concocted yogurt facial while he's watching the game?--priceless :)
However, fear did begin to grip me as I later rifled through websites looking for answers for curriculum choices and advice. The more I read, the more I became confused. When we sat down with our daughter and told her we felt she should stay home the following September, she was quiet. She shared that she had been hoping to attend the Christian highschool where her cousins went but only part-time. She still wanted to be at home but take a course or two there. We thought about the possibility and concluded that schooling the other kids and running her back and forth for classes in another city wouldn't be feasible. She responded well. I asked her what her desire was for curriculum, promised her a laptop for grade eight graduation, and planned what we'd be involved in for her grade nine year so she could look forward to it.
Now second semester is quickly approaching and Meghan is tracking her hours and credits. She strongly desires to have everything she does quantified and so we looked up the Ontario requirements and do our best to stay close to them. Our friends and family have opted to use highschool resources that do not require tests and exams and will decide what to do about transcripts at the end of grade eleven. Since many homeschooled kids have entered university by being placed in school in their senior year or by taking correspondence or online courses for their transcript, it is a viable choice. Thankfully, in Canada, homeschooling is legal in every province. But each family and student must make their own decisions based on how it works best for them.
As we journey, I'll be better able to give wisdom on the subject of homeschooling through highschool but at this point, we know that our daughter enjoys the extra time for her competitive dance and to connect with her friends and family and we love having her around! The more families we encounter who homeschool through highschool, the more kids we see who are simultaneously planning their futures while using their schoolwork to achieve an early acquisition of this objective . Some of them already have small businesses! Many are aware of what career path they want to take and are streamlining their subjects toward that goal and even taking university courses concurrently with highschool. The possibilities are wide open for these kids. Our daughter has known for a long time that she would like to open her own Christian dance studio with nutrition and wellness as a large component. You go, Girl!
For more information and support, you can click here for the Home Scholar and here  for the Homeschool Mom and here for Homeschool Legal Defense and here  for Ontario Homeschool.
If you're planning on joining us in the journey of highschool at home, may God bless you as you do!


Camille said...
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Camille said...

Truly, it is all encompassing this home educating...isn't it? The high school years were the one of the main reasons we began home education with our children in the first place. We are SO pleased that the Lord led us in this direction. It has been SO worth it in so many ways! Austin was in his grad year when the Lord took him Home to Heaven. He was pre-accepted to a university in England based on achieving a certain grade level in his courses. Calvin now is in his grad year and is also heading down that same road with the same university. God is Good. He leads and He is Faithful! The High School years are wonderful! Thank you for this series my friend. Happy week to you all! Love, Camille

Benji Park said...

I'm new to your blog, and finding it very interesting! Just wondered if it is possible for your oldest to pursue her dreams NOW by volunteering to help with a little kid dance class or teaching a beginning dance class of her own? Or planning to give a one week class over the summer? I think kids benefit enormously in high school from doing "real" things that adults do: open a business, sell/make a product, volunteer, work for a cause. I don't have high schoolers of my own yet, but this is what I'm seeing is important in my nieces and nephews lives.

Heather said...

Thanks Camille. I always appreciate your input and wisdom!

Benji, my oldest has taught a class for little girls before and likely will again. Thanks for the thought!