(This is the second part of a two-part series about homeschooling high school. If you missed Part One, you can find it HERE.)
High school can be a tremendous time of growth and development for a teenager, and homeschooling high school can be a thrilling and rewarding adventure for a parent. Let’s continue our exploration of five more reasons to homeschool through the high school years.
You Can Help Your Teenager Develop Time-Management Skills
High school offers a terrific opportunity to encourage the development of life skills and time and self-management. Eventually, our children will have to work a job where they, most likely, will be responsible for completing their own workload without much supervision. They will have to run a household, making sure cooking, cleaning, and laundry tasks are completed, children are cared for, and the yard and house are maintained.
Once my children reach a particular age and level of maturity (usually somewhere in late grade school, depending on the child), I let them decide the order in which they will do their subjects. As they age, I supervise their time less and less, keeping an eye on them from a distance but ready to step in if there is too much dilly-dally and subjects aren’t getting completed in good time. This may seem a small thing, but of course, there are many ways to encourage time-management depending upon your child’s situation. My second-oldest child took a required college orientation class last semester in which she had to complete a self-assessment questionnaire. Her highest score was in self-management.
Encourage your teen to use a planner to schedule subjects and activities. Ask him to identify which part of the day he is most alert and productive. As they discover they have more say in their day, they’ll begin to take more responsibility for how they spend their time.
You Can Help Your Child Get a Jump on Higher Education
A child who wants to pursue a college degree can take college preparatory courses or get started earning college credit with dual enrollment. My two children who are currently in college both began their full-time programs with nearly twenty college credits already completed. My high school senior will have twenty-six credits when he graduates this May. My children do not have special superpowers; they simply had the opportunity and guidance from their parents to begin their college coursework while still in high school.
There are many options available to teens today who want to do this.
Dual enrollment courses are an excellent option for high school students wanting to earn college credit. Many colleges in Indiana and elsewhere—both community colleges and four-year universities—offer these. These are simply college-level classes that count as both high school and college credit. These can be taken in the college classroom, online, or virtually (the class meets via Zoom) during either the school year or the summer semester.
Advanced Placement (AP) courses are offered by various institutions and companies and are special high school classes that can potentially earn you college credit or advanced placement depending on the college. Not all universities accept AP courses for credit, so check with your intended college first.
College Level Examination Program, or CLEP, tests are another option for your student that would allow them to take a test in a certain subject area. Depending on their score, a college may choose to grant them credit for a college course. You could say they are “testing out of” a course.
If you are wondering about college entrance exams, you need not wonder anymore. Homeschooled high schoolers can take any of the college entrance exams they choose. College Board offers the SAT and the ACT.
Another great option is the Classic Learning Test. Follow the link to find out why this suite of assessments may be a great option for your teen. They offer the CLT 8 for 7th and 8th graders, the CLT 10 for 9th and 10th graders, and the CLT for 11th and 12th graders. The CLT is now accepted by more than 150 colleges and universities across the nation.
Did you know that IAHE Premium Members get a 20% discount on the CLT Suite of Assessments? Not a member? Sign up HERE.
You can read more about college entrance exams in What is the Value of College Entrance Exams?.
You Can Protect Them from Bullies and Peer Pressure
We homeschoolers like to joke about doing school in our pajamas, but that touches the surface of the larger issue of allowing our children to be who God made them to be and not clones of the other kids at school. When we homeschool through high school, our children are allowed to develop their God-given identities through some very pivotal ages and events within the safe and supportive cocoon of family. They don’t have to deal with bullies at school or peer pressure to conform to anything ungodly.
Every child is unique. They develop at different stages and learn at different paces. In the public school system, this can be difficult. They can be labeled or teased or held back or made to keep up at the same pace as everyone else when, in reality, God just created them a little differently, as he made all of us unique and special. And different subjects may create different difficulties at different times. In public school, teens don’t have the flexibility to learn at their own speed and in their own style. Because of the number of teens in any given classroom, they have to keep up with a rigid schedule. That can cause problems.
When you homeschool, you have the freedom to go at the pace of your teen, to add extra practice if needed without the repercussions of teasing from peers or discouraging remarks from a teacher. Special learners can have a safe and secure place at home to learn in ways that are effective for them. You can find extra help if needed but without the stigma that often comes in a classroom setting. You will be there to encourage and support and gently address your teen’s issues without your child feeling as if they are less than the others.
In homeschooling, you have the opportunity to make it clear to your teen that he is unique and that God has a plan and purpose for his life.
You Can Observe and Guide Relationships
The teen years can be wonderful, but they can also be difficult relationally. There are many difficult situations a teen can find himself in with friends, youth group, or an employer, to name a few. But with the extra time spent together as well as nurturing the relationship, you are tuned in to your child emotionally and psychologically and can identify and address concerns as they arise.
The teen years are a terrific time to teach and model healthy habits with technology, not only with encouraging personal limits of time spent, websites visited, and apps used, but also in their frequency and manner of communication with friends, peers, and the opposite sex. If you homeschool high school, the time spent together (and not with peers) during the day offers many opportunities to discuss and guide their choices.
High school is prime time for your teen to begin to be interested in the opposite sex, and between peers and health class, the public school system can serve to make a potentially difficult situation worse. If you homeschool and you and your teen spend the bulk of your time together, the opportunities abound for discussions about desiring and forming healthy and God-honoring relationships. That additional time together plus the removal of a negative influence will help you prepare your teen for pure and healthy interactions as well as giving you both time to pray about future relationships and spouses.
You Can Have More Flexibility in Your Family’s Schedule
Sometimes life happens. Without being tied to the rigors of an 8:00 to 3:00 schedule and the demands of a pick-up time, you have the flexibility to adapt, and your teen can learn some life lessons along the way. Perhaps an aging parent needs more assistance on a daily or weekly basis. You and your teen can provide that care without the concern of the school’s schedule. Maybe your husband has the opportunity for a job that requires more travel. Pack up an RV and head out together. Maybe your child’s snow shoveling business is in big demand with a particularly snowy winter. Schoolwork can be scheduled around the snow.
Their time to leave is coming soon enough, Mom, whether it be via college, marriage, employment, a ministry opportunity, or anything else. Homeschooling high school gives you the opportunity to eek out a few more precious years with your child. Savor the days, and use each moment to build and cement a solid relationship with your teen. The four years of high school can be an incredible time of personal growth, spiritual development, and family togetherness. Embrace it, Mom, and cherish the moments!
You can find more helpful information about homeschooling your high schooler in What About High School?