I have been homeschooling the twins in their first official high school year for a little over two months now. I thought it would be nice to take a moment and reflect on what I have learned so far in that time and what kinks we have had along the way that we have had to work out.
1. Homeschooling in the high school years is hard. – Although I have been homeschooling for many, many years I underestimated just how long our days were going to be and how intense some of the work would be. It might be because I have two in high school, and it might be that they are both very academic, but I have to say I wasn’t quite prepared for our new routine. I think this was especially hard for me because we had been for so long “relaxed” homeschoolers. I never had the twins spend hours a day doing their work when they were little, as I far preferred outside time over seat work, Lego time over math sessions, etc. This year though, because they are both working towards very specific goals, the work is taking longer and involving a good deal of teaching time and grading time from me.
2. Our time should be protected – I made the mistake of over-extending ourselves this year with far too many outside activities. What once was easy for me to balance is not anymore. It is hard to finish up your work in the afternoon because of a field trip when that work is going to take you hours to do. No one, especially teens, wants to be working until 10:00 on school work that could have been completed during the day. I have had to pull back on many of our activities or tried to schedule things after the school day.
3. Online classes are wonderful – The twins are taking French online and they love it! The teacher is engaging, the students all get along, and they are learning so much. The best thing is that I am not involved. The same goes for Tru’s online math class. This is wonderful for me because I don’t have the time to be involved with all their classes, nor do I have the expertise. It is great for them because they have the opportunity to work with other students and with different teachers.
4. Planning, grading, and scheduling is very important – I am going to admit something here. I have never graded the kids on anything before this year. Also I never kept records of any kind, even when we were in a charter school. Schedules, record keeping, and grading are my weak spot. Before this year I usually just kept everything in my head and never worried about whether I had a paper trail of that info or not. However this year, after a rough start, I have made it a priority to keep records of everything for the twins. I have to award credit to them on a transcript, and I can’t do that if I am not keeping track of all their work. I have had to set aside some time every week to do my record keeping, and it has helped me stay on track.
Homeschooling teens is different from homeschooling younger kids. It takes more of my energy and time, but it is wonderful to see the twins make connections, to discover passions, and to over-come any struggles they may have. I love learning with them and seeing them grow. I am new to this stage, but so far I am loving it. It may be my favorite part of homeschooling yet.
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