High School – A Reflection

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.

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The twins working hard.

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.

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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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This post is part of a blog hop over at Let’s Homeschool High School.

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High School Homeschooling

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I have been officially homeschooling two high school students for four weeks now, and I am starting to feel that I have a good handle on it. All my worry over the past six months or so was really for naught, or maybe it served a purpose, as this year is turning out to be one of our best years yet. Regardless of whether all that worry played into our great year, I do feel that there are several other reasons as to why everything is going so swimmingly (And by the way I am knocking on wood through this whole post, as I don’t want to jinx my good luck).

You will learn!!  This is actually a clip from their latest movie, but I thought it went nicely with this post. :)

You will learn!!
This is actually a clip from their latest movie, but I thought it went nicely with this post. 🙂

1. The twins are enrolled in online classes for the first time this year – I felt that high school was the time to branch out into the online world of classes. The twins are enrolled in a french class with a teacher that meets twice a week. They are also in a writing class, and Tru is taking his Algebra 2 class online through CTY.

2.  Online classes are balanced with parent-led classes at home – The kids and I still enjoy learning together, and I especially treasure this time as I know in a few years it will be gone. It is a joy to discuss history and politics with them, to work through biology labs with them, and to learn Latin with them. Even helping them through Writing with Skill is a joy for me, although some days with Tru’s frustration it may not feel that way.

3. The twins have outside classes that they enjoy – High school is a time to discover and develop one’s passions through classes and lessons in the community. Autry is taking piano lessons and she is in a choir. Tru is getting involved with the local astronomy club. They are both taking guitar lessons, physical training, and they are in a teen book club. These classes also provide them with a social outlet which they both need.

4. The twins have a strong homeschool support group – This is crucial for them, and I am very satisfied with the group we are involved in. There are park days, social outings, and classes available. The teens in the group seem to all get along, and it is a very active and welcoming organization.

5. The twins and I are stressing the joy of learning over the stress of preparing for college – This was an important distinction that I made early on in planning for high school. Yes the kids will eventually head off to college and yes I want them prepared for that, but I also want teens who truly enjoy learning. Teens who find personal joy in reading, teens who feel they are learning because it is important and not so they can score high on a test, teens who are not stressed out by the demands of high school. I know so many parents and teens who are stressed through all four years of high school. I don’t want it to be like that for my kids.

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This is what the high school years look like so far. It will most likely change as they get older, and I am prepared for some teen angst along the way that may change everything. But for now the twins are content with their freshman year, and I am content with our routine. I enjoy having them home, and I enjoy watching them grow up. I am thankful for this opportunity to learn along beside them and to guide them to adulthood.

LetsHSHS.com High School Homeschool Blog Hop
This blog post is part of the Let’s Homeschool Highschool blog hop for September.  This month’s theme is Back to School. Would you like to participate? If so link up your blog post through the link below.

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