This post wasn’t in my plans for today.
You see, earlier this afternoon, I was actually mentally preparing to record a video presenting next year’s relaxed homeschool high school curriculum. It suddenly dawned on me that, at first glance, most people will likely think my teenagers won’t be “doing enough.” After all, isn’t high school the time to start cracking down on academics and getting “serious” about learning?
A few years ago, I would have said yes. But that was before I actually had a homeschool graduate.
Like most homeschool parents, the thought of educating my kids through high school was pretty intimidating. I had the resolve to do it, but I wasn’t sure how. By default, I decided to follow the traditional school model of education. (Looking back, I honestly don’t know what I was thinking.)
My daughter, who was my high school guinea pig, was okay with this. Having been in public school longer than any of her younger siblings, she had grown comfortable with the brick and mortar method of learning. In fact, she preferred it.
Until she started working her senior year.
Because her employers knew she was homeschooled, they felt comfortable giving her more hours than most kids her age. My daughter enjoyed working, but over time she had less and less time for school work.
Being the sometimes neurotic mom I am, I started getting really anxious over it, and I would bombard her with questions and demands:
Did you finish your chapter review?
Is your history assignment going to be done on time?
This is too much. You’re going to have to tell them to cut your hours.
My daughter, being a bit more mellow than I am, would calmly placate me and reassure me that everything was fine. And you know what?
She was right.
A strange thing began to happen as the months went by – I began to realize she was learning more at work than she’d ever learn from one of her textbooks. Out in the workforce – aka, the “real world” – she was gaining valuable experience in dealing with others, time management, responsibility, and life.
When it came down to it, her homeschool assignments were just that: mere assignments. They weren’t worth much more than an “A” on a quiz and a pat on the back because they’d be long forgotten by the end of the year.
That was when I shifted my mentality on homeschooling high school.
I was no longer interested in teaching her geometry proofs I knew she’d never use. I stopped stressing over whether or not she knew how to properly balance chemical equations. I knew the world wasn’t going to come to an end if she forgot when Charlemagne lived and died. There were far more important things that concerned me. I wanted her to:
- Possess a genuine love for learning
- Know how to self-educate
- Become independent
- Never equate learning with “school”
- Trust in her abilities
- Trust in God to bring all these things to fruition
Does this mean I completely stopped expecting anything of her? No way. It just means that I was far better equipped to look at the big picture and grant her the opportunity to grow into her adulthood in a way that my rigid notions about high school formerly wouldn’t have allowed.
It enabled me to accept a more reasonable balance between “school stuff” and things that will actually matter in the grand scheme of things.
Because isn’t that what the high school years should be about? Supporting our soon-to-be adults during their transition into, well, adulthood?
And for those of you who are wondering, “What about preparing for college?”
To that I say, if you’ve given your kids the skills and confidence they need to find out what they need to know, they’ll do it.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned most through this experience, it’s this:
Trust your kids. Trust yourself. Trust in the Lord.
Everything else will follow.