The following post is written by contributor Cheryl Pitt of CherylPitt.com.
Homeschooling high school often marks a big transition in the way we homeschool our children. They go from babes at Mama’s feet to independent, self-directed learners. While we, the parents, go from hands-on facilitator to hands-off manager. It’s an exciting time as we watch our children grow and test their independence.
With two seniors at home, I’ve found these high school years to be a blessing beyond measure. Watching the boys learn to drive, go on interviews and land first jobs, start dating wonderful young ladies — it’s all been so exciting to see the first true signs of who they’ll be as adults.
However, even though it’s been exciting and fulfilling, and even though I’m not deeply involved in their day-to-day schooling, it hasn’t been without challenges. My biggest regret in raising my first round of homeschool graduates?
I wish I had let go of the elementary model of homeschooling earlier. Much earlier.”
You won’t hear me complain (too much) about teenage hormones, busy schedules or the like. No, what was the most difficult for me was something that should have been simple … going to the high school credit-based system.
Please tell me I’m not the only person who had trouble with is. I blame my Type-A, perfectionist tendencies.
If your state requirements are anything like mine, in the elementary years students are required to do “a little bit of everything.” We had to do English, math, science, history, health, physical education and safety every year. This was no problem; I checked all the boxes.
I like boxes.
I like routine.
Then came high school. We had to do all those same subjects. But some (like health) were only required once in the high school career. Others, like English, were required every year (4 credits). Others, science and math, were required only some years (3 credits).
This threw my lovely checklist out of alignment. There wasn’t the same order to our days. And I didn’t do as well as I could have with that. I tried to cram in-depth, high school courses into the elementary model.
Well, you can imagine how that worked. Unless you’re a very astute student, it’s difficult to do a tiny bit of “deep work” in nine different subjects a day. It’s much easier to dive deep into a few subjects per semester.
I stressed out my boys, and myself. What I should have been doing is dancing with joy over the FREEDOM the credits system affords us, rather than trying to make the credit system fit our old model.
I’m happy to say I finally figured it out (yes, in their senior year — better late than never). And I won’t be making that same mistake with the three children I have left to graduate.
Hopefully you can learn from my mistakes and truly RELISH the opportunity your high school students have to explore what interests them and what they may want to do after graduation!
Cheryl’s tips for going to a credit-based system:
- Plan in pencil — make a four year plan with all the check boxes you need, but write it in pencil. Be ready and willing to switch the plan as needed.
- Knock out minimums early — complete as many of the credit requirements as early as you can so the senior year can be a time for community college, trade school, internships, jobs or specialized learning in the area of your student’s interest.
- Switch it up — you don’t have to do English all year long. Your student can concentrate on English credit the first semester then science the next. Don’t be afraid to go deep into subject matter.
- Get creative — your students don’t have to take the exact same subjects as the local public school. One of my boys detests math, so rather than expect him to make it to triginomotry, we did economics and personal finance. Math was less painful that year.
- THROW OUT ANY PRECONCEIVED NOTIONS — high school is a whole different homeschool animal. Make a commitment to yourself and your student to embrace this new and exciting season!
Are there any mothers of homeschool graduates out there? What’s your best advice for embracing a credit based system?