4 TIPS FOR SUCESS IN HOMESCHOOLING HIGH SCHOOL
TIP: Change your teacher mindset and realize that you are now a facilitator.
You have been teaching your child since birth. You have taught him through living life, and no one is more invested in his life and education than you are. Just as you have throughout the preschool, elementary, and middle school years, in high school you will continue to answer your student’s questions the best way you can. But in homeschooling high school, your role is changing to less of a teacher and more of a facilitator. When presented with a question of which you do not know the answer, you will direct your student to do some research online, consult a book, take a class, or even ask an expert on the topic. You will facilitate your child’s learning through all of these methods and more. While learning can take place in a classroom and with a “lecture” style, it is not the only way to learn, and really works best when paired with many other methods of learning. If you haven’t already begun thinking of yourself as a facilitator more than a teacher, high school is the time to make that transition.
Note: You will always be your child’s parent, but parenting changes as he grows into adulthood. So does your role as his homeschool mom. This is a natural progression; don’t fight it.
Encourage independent learning.
One of the reasons I encourage you to become more of a facilitator and less of a teacher once you are homeschooling high school is to push your child toward more independent learning. If you are a typical homeschool mom, you have been smack dab in the middle of every book, project, unit study, field trip, and outside educational opportunity your child has had. Now is the time to allow your child to complete his homeschool work and learn new skills under your supervision, but without your direct instruction. Place him at the helm with instructions to consult with you should he have questions or run into problems. Schedule a weekly, or even daily, check in time so that you can find out how he is doing, what he is learning, and how you should tweak his learning if needed. This will take some of the responsibility for your child’s education off of your plate, help your child to learn HOW to learn, and give him a sense of accomplishment once he has completed a project on his own, from start to finish.
Note: Be gentle, but firm, in your resolve to encourage independence, even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard. One of the best ways you can foster independence is my giving your teen the ability to choose some of his own coursework and then put him in charge of planning and implementing it.
The easiest way I have found to do this is with our membership to SchoolhouseTeachers.com. This membership gives my son access to many courses for electives as well as core subjects. Ben knows that if he is interested in a certain topic, the first place to go look for a course is SchoolhouseTeachers.com. We have been members since the beginning and I can’t stress enough how having access has stretched him in his independent learning.
Help your teen to follow his dreams.
Children often have big dreams. It is easy to shove aside our children’s dreams without giving them real consideration because sometimes we just don’t see how to make it happen. I urge you to encourage your child to dream. Homeschooling high school will give you and your child plenty of time to explore those dreams together. Dreams often begin when a child desires to use his God-given talents, personality, and interests in a big way. Maybe he won’t be successful. In fact, he will likely fail at some of his endeavors. We all do. However, you never know how God will use your child’s dreams, or even his failures, to bring them to a place of success, right in the middle of His plan for your child’s life.
Note: Your child’s dreams may not line up with your dreams for him. Open your own mind to the possibilities!
Seek God for answers daily.
Though we are in the midst of our 11th homeschool year, and we have become quite comfortable with our method of learning, do not be fooled into thinking that our days are always peaceful and smooth. They are not. Homeschooling high school is not for the faint of heart, and we do sometimes struggle with learning issues, attitudes, clutter, laziness, and other character issues (and that’s not just the student). We are not a perfect family and do not claim to be.
Despite our struggles, it has been a true joy to raise Ben in our homeschooling family, truly knowing him, and knowing that we have developed a relationship that may not have been had we sent him to school. To have a front-row seat to his transition from child to adult, wee bits at a time, and to play such an important role on a daily basis is both frightening and humbling. The only way I am able to do it, to continue parenting him through the hard times and the joys, is to daily bring him to the throne of God. I seek Him each day, asking for His wisdom to help grow Ben into the man He wants him to be. It is God alone who grows and stretches him and molds him into His image. I’m simply here as a vessel. He uses me as He sees fit in Ben’s life.
No one expects you to be perfect, including God! Also, HE is not caught off guard by any of your homeschooling struggles and will continue to guide you in homeschooling high school, just as He has for every other aspect of your journey. Trust Him.
Note: You are a facilitator of your child’s learning. God alone is his true teacher.
I hope you are encouraged to consider (or continue) homeschooling high school. So far, it has been the most rewarding time in our homeschool journey. I’m very glad I shut out the naysayers and jumped in with faith. And in case you’re wondering, my husband’s aunt still asks every Christmas how much longer we’re going to do this thing. You would think she would have figured it out, but I guess she’s as hard-headed as I am about the subject!
Do you have any tips to share for homeschooling high schoolers? Please share them in the comments so that we will all benefit from your wisdom and experience!
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