Update: My oldest son graduated in the summer of 2015, so my anxiety over his homeschool high school experience is over. He’s a well-adjusted, productive, tax-paying (and talented and social) young man now.
But the year before he started high school, I had a mini freak-out.
The student is fine.
It’s mom that’s having panic attacks.
Caleb has done very well this year, but for some reason I’m having major anxiety about the rest of his high school years. There are a few things I know about homeschooling a high school student in Georgia.
One, as a homeschooling parent I get to decide the course of study and requirements for graduation, and that I can issue a diploma when those requirements are met.
“According to the Georgia Home School Law that recognized home schools as an educational entity along with private and public schools, you as the officials of the school have the right to determine graduation requirements, recognize graduation status, grant diplomas, and issue transcripts.”
That’s great, because one of the things I love most about homeschooling is that I get to design the curriculum. I don’t have to answer to the state. I can create a program that plays to my child’s strengths and that reflects my own values.
On the other hand…
If Caleb does want to attend college, he will have to meet certain requirements for admission. As an example, 2 credits in foreign language study, 4 credits in science (and for one college I looked at, 2 of those have to include labs), among other things.
I don’t want to pressure my son to decide “what he wants to be when he grows up” right now. He’s fairly certain he wants to be an electrician, which doesn’t require a degree, but that could change. So that means I need to make sure that he has the credits required for college in case his career of choice demands it.
And yet… I don’t want to re-create “school at home”. I despise the fact that high school students in public school are gone 8 hours a day. They have little time for personal goals and pursuits, religious studies, family time… I would feel like my son was a stranger with a full time job.
I want him to continue having lots of free time after his course work is finished to play guitar, hang out with his family, spend a couple of hours a day reading classics and great books, walk around outside and just… be.
The curriculum I have designed for him so far has been focused on literature and history. I don’t want that to change. But I don’t want to close doors for him either. I feel like I’m running out of time, and wasn’t it just last year that I was teaching him how to read!?
Perhaps the answer is for him to take a “gap year”. Susan Wise Bauer talked about this in her recent YouTube video and on her site.
The gap year would give him time to think, work, apprentice, gain some life experience… and take a class here or there if he needed it. He would be able to work with his Dad some more to see if becoming an electrician (what he’s leaning towards now) is really what he wants.
Anyway, I decided to invite over some of the women from my local homeschool group who have teens or graduates to pick their brains and get some “it’s going to be okay” assurances.
Since Caleb is my oldest, this is the first time I’ve had to make these kinds of decisions, so it will get easier and easier with each successive child. Underneath these concerns is the thought that Caleb’s performance (academically and otherwise) will reflect on my job as a mom and homeschooler. No pressure… or anything.
What kinds of fears did you have around homeschooling your high school student?