I have taken a long and much needed break from writing because I wanted to focus on some other things. Top priority for me was having clear focus going into my first year of officially homeschooling all four of my children since my youngest is now kindergarten age. Above all, I wanted to make sure I was fully present and aware of what my fifteen year old's needs would be as he moves through another crucial pre-college year. Since I have been so focused on this, I figured I would take the opportunity to share with you what many people are curious about regarding homeschooling through high school.
The questions I get most often are about the friendships my son develops and who is he exposed to that he can be friends with in the first place. So yes, the socialization question. Please don't needle me, my fellow homeschoolers, for muttering the word. It is what it is. I don't know if people have images in their heads, that the mainstream media thoroughly loves to exploit, about the WAY outside the "norm" people who lock their kids up at home all day with no outside contact and call it homeschooling, or if people are just curious. Either way I choose to assume the better intent of the latter. It isn't the other person's fault that they don't have any first-hand knowledge of what homeschoolers do. In fact, every year I see at least a couple of homeschooling teenagers we know go to public school for one reason or another. That means the chances of someone being exposed to a homeschooling teen are pretty slim.
Here is how we, and all other homeschoolers we have known, here and in the southern states we have lived in, connect with our larger community: We network! The easiest way to begin is to get on a local online group and start meeting people in person. Once you meet a homeschooler or two in the area, you find out about other area groups. We are in three different secular homeschool networks and the smallest has about one hundred families. The largest? Over five hundred! Yes, I live in New Hampshire and these groups are in my area, not Boston. These networks provide opportunities for social functions, field trips, co-ops, sports and clubs.
This year my high schooler is focused on only certain groups he wants to belong to. He meets with a pretty sizable teen group for social activities and teen field trips. In fact, this will be his third year with them. Outside of the homeschool networks, he is also in a Teen Anime Club and a Teen Cooking Club provided by our local library. (So yes, he does have friends who do not homeschool!) He is also taking Hip Hop lessons at our local dance school. And I also must not forgot to mention he also went to the prom this year. It was bigger than even my own and yes, he knew some of the teens that also attended. When he is not out and about to socialize, you can find him on Skype with his friends that are in all corners of the country including Florida and California. (And no, not all of them homeschool either!) They play online co-op type games and work on projects together.
Surprisingly enough, the academic questions are usually the last ones I get so I wanted to at least make mention of his studies! I don't know if it's because the person asking about his homeschooling knows that I am college educated and it's obvious through their interaction with me that I have enough brains in my head to be able to figure out the academic part or they assume that the academic part of homeschooling is regulated to some ambiguous, higher degree than public school teachers are... But again, I am patient and don't bother asking what their assumptions are or why. As for academics, he is taking Japanese, utilizing a self-paced Algebra curriculum, learning about Earth Science, World History and is constantly reading something; doing all of the things you would expect to see on a transcript. I will leave curriculum and resources details for a later blog if anyone is interested.
He is also learning how to play guitar and opened his own etsy store where he has taken orders for custom sweatshirts he designs and paints. He is working on button designs he will be adding to the store soon! He also enjoys manga drawing and may integrate some of his designs on his buttons as well. There are a couple more things he is going to be doing but I can't disclose them until after Christmas since I have gifts directly related to them. I'll post an update about that in the Comments next week!
So yes! It is possible to homeschool high school, have lots of friends, a college-worthy transcript and not be socially awkward! Just ask anyone who has met my son. I am a very proud mom of a well-adjusted, intelligent, outgoing and confident teen! I am more than happy to dispel the common misconceptions and myths as I also encourage and support my fellow homeschoolers.
I know this is a pretty general blog about homeschooling high school but at least wanted to lay down a basis for how we do it. Feel free to post any comment or question on the topic below and I'd be more than happy to elaborate or even expand on it in another blog.
As a Parent Coach and Mentor, my passion lies in empowering parents to make the best decisions they can for their children and their families as a whole. As a well-trained coach, I can be your facilitator and accountability partner for long-lasting, meaningful change that has a permanent, positive impact for your family. By focusing on the values that you hold most important in your life, I can help you create and maintain the type of parenting relationship you want to have with your children, now and into their adulthood.
I am a homeschooling mom of four children in Massachusetts. I am also the author of a book called The Herbal Beverage Book, which can be found on amazon or directly on my website. When not coaching, writing or spending time with the family, I enjoy Hayao Miyazaki films, new and classic Dr. Who episodes, anything related to American history and a great glass of mead.
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This blog is a collection of thoughts, articles and perspectives I have at any one time. While I am pretty consistent in my beliefs, life changes and evolves along with experiences. You may feel a connection with me through my writing yet I never want any of my readers to misunderstand that the connection you feel is with a perspective I have shared and not me as a person. I am continually humbled that I am able to connect with my readers, and I hope to continue to be able to for many years to come, but it doesn't make us connected in any way beyond this. If you connect with what I write and know me as an acquaintance, this in no way reflects that I have any knowledge of you, your situation in life or that I am writing with you in mind. It is merely that I have shared a human experience that most likely very many others have had has well. This also goes for anything I post on my Twitter account, Facebook Page and Facebook personal page. I wanted to make this disclaimer as clear as possible so you know that any misunderstanding you choose to have is not my responsibility.