Previously, in Part 1 of “Five Reasons to Homeschool High School,” I encouraged those of you who were thinking about homeschooling high school to really go for it. Here’s the rest of the reasons why it would be worth your while.
4.) Your children will never forget your sacrifice.
One of the most satisfying moments has been when our kids told us individually that they were glad we stuck to homeschooling them through high school. When they were in the primary/middle grades, they had asked to be transferred to the local high school just up the street from us. They wanted to try out what everyone else was doing. My heart sunk at first; I knew the day would come when I would have to handle this situation.
So, what did we do? Every day after our own schooling sessions, I would bring them down to the local high school. I would make sure they were able to interact with the kids there. Every single day.
Long story short, after about a few months of doing this, they both came to me to tell me that they didn’t think they wanted to go to the local high school after all. I asked them why. They talked about being ostracized because of their background of being homeschooled. They mentioned their shock that so many of the kids could not converse on current issues; they were only interested in topics about popular culture.
They did find one or two who were willing to get to know them. I’m sure there were a few more. I imagine these students who might have differed from the status quo came from families where parents made a point of interacting purposefully with their high schoolers.
Regardless of what the schools taught, these parents were proactive. Isn’t that what homeschooling is about? Most of us have been brainwashed into thinking we can’t do high school, but we’ve been teaching our kids since they came out of our wombs.
Eventually, our kids came to realize that we put our hearts into their schooling. We answered their questions and didn’t shy away from uncomfortable subjects. And those questions were tough, I can tell you. There was no one else to answer those questions- we were the school counselors and the teachers to our kids, as you are.
Success in parenting and homeschooling doesn’t come from never making any mistakes; it comes from our kids seeing our own acceptance of ourselves despite any failings or inadequacies, and doing our best despite it all. Those of you who have teenagers at home know that you can’t pull the wool over their eyes. You have to be real 24/7. It is in this that you have an unprecedented opportunity to make a difference in your kids’ lives in an unmatched way.
Were there other parents who were skeptical when they found out we were homeschooling high school? Oh, yes, I assured our kids that we adults also faced our own brand of peer pressure as well. Quite a few people assumed that our sheltering meant that our kids would not survive the college experience. However, I always talked to them about nature when this topic came up.
I told them that other mammals sheltered and taught their young until such time as they were ready to thrive in a dangerous world. We home gardeners shelter our seedlings until such time as they are able to withstand the elements and thrive, producing for us succulent tomatoes, zucchinis and peppers. Why should we not shelter and train our children until such time as they would be strong and ready to take on the world? We can create opportunities for them within safe parameters as we teach them. The criticism of this narrowness of the ‘home’ in homeschooling is an old, tired put down that our detractors have chosen to shame us with over and over again. Unfortunately for them, the accomplishments of homeschool graduates continue to give the lie to their arguments.
5.) Your work will bless future generations.
Thinking outside the box has fueled innovations and inventions throughout the centuries. These blessings borne of individuality and personal tenacity cannot be underestimated.
As we were making our wedding plans years ago, my husband casually mentioned that he really wanted to see his future children homeschooled. I had thought he was joking at the time. Why, everybody went to school, I thought! I didn’t think about it until the kids were old enough to be put into kindergarten. I was flabbergasted that he still hadn’t forgotten our conversation even then. When he told me about his experiences in high school, I was forced to recall my own painful ones growing up.
Here’s the thing about public schooling: it’s one size fits all and if you don’t fit the prescribed size, the general conclusion is that you must also be defective. You are labeled and may then be transferred to more appropriate programs which will re-educate you according to what those in authority have decided is best for you. Parental rights may or may not be respected in these considerations.
But what about those of you who cannot homeschool high school right now? I want to reiterate what I said in Part 1: it’s how you live that’s most important to your teen. It won’t matter if you homeschool full time but your religion is only real to outsiders. Your child has to see that even though you’re not perfect, you’ll do everything possible to disciple them with compassion, wisdom, courage and love. Don’t give an inch on your most important values, but always let them know you love them. For teens, this is done by listening to their concerns even as you teach them. If you make a mistake, don’t be afraid to apologize, but don’t be afraid to hold firm on your rules either.
Remember the quote from ‘Miracle’ that I used in Part One? Herb Brooks was right. I want to say the same thing to all of you: this is your time. You were born to be wives and homeschooling moms. You were meant to be here and nothing in the world’s going to stop you. I’m tired of hearing the naysayers have their day with us.
This is your time.
So go out there and take it!