Wednesday 28 October 2015

Overcoming the fear of homeschooling in the Highschool Years

I've been pondering the High School years quite a bit of late.  It feels like the other day I was embarking on these years with my first two and all of a sudden I have two homeschool graduates, one of them is in Great Britain and the other is doing a trainee ship. Looking back I'm surprised at just how quickly those years passed by.

I'm often surprised at  the FEAR of the high school years that is expressed among home educating families and concerned members of the public.  Today I would like to share some thoughts on 5 Hurdles to Overcome in teaching the High School Years.

5 Hurdles to Overcome

1 - Negative Mindset

  • Your attitude sets the tone for your student towards any given subject matter.  Be careful of passing on a negative mindset to your children which is born out of your own experience with a certain subject matter. 
  • It's your job to facilitate learning. If the subject matter at hand is outside of our own personal expertise, it is our job to help find someone who can help our student better understand the subject matter at hand.
  • A great answer for any question you can not answer is to say: "That's a good question, I don't know the answer let's find out together." The high school years are an excellent time to model how to keep learning.  The point is go on a journey of discovery together.  You may be surprised to learn that you actually enjoy (dare I say it out loud ?) Algebra or Chemistry or Quantum physics ...

2 - FEAR

  • For each and every one of us there is a subject out there that makes us quake in our shoes and rightly so. There are not very many people who are able to be perfect in every subject matter.
  • The balance is remembering that FEAR is False Evidence Appearing Real.
  • Confronting this fear with a fellow homeschool parent and finding the truth is better than passing on your own fears to your children.  
  • It is impossible to teach/know everything there is to know about any particular subject matter due to the information age we live in.You do not need to FEAR that you may miss something.
  • This is where co-ops and support groups come into play. Do not be afraid to ask for help ...

3 - Please Help ?

  • It saddens me that many homeschool families quit because they think to say HELP we are stuck in this or that subject area is somehow a confession of failure. 
  • Remember: To say I don't know how to do something takes courage. We encourage our young children to ask for help and yet as adults we don't ask for help.  This is foolish and serves no good purpose.
  • No two families are the same and each one has it's own set of needs to be met.  What works for one family may not necessarily work for yours.
  • The secret is to keep asking until you find the key that unlocks the mystery of a particular subject for your family. While this can be time consuming it is worth the effort it takes.

 4 - Google

  • Home education and the internet have met up with each other to form a rather profitable marriage.  While this is good for home educational businesses it's really bad for the home educator who has no hands on experience and does not know what works for which particular situation. 
  • On one hand this is great as we have an unlimited supply of advice at our finger tips, the counter balance is we don't have anyone who knows us and our children who can support us.
  • I would encourage you to find real people to sit and have cups of tea with. Go from home to home within the group and see first hand how systems work then you will be better equipped to make decisions on what will or will not work for your family.  
  • Only tackle Google and ask once you are armed with specific questions that need to be answered.
  • Do NOT let Google dictate what you should or should not be doing. 

    5- Pinterest.

    • For some of us Pinterest can be a source of anxiety and discontent and for others it's a paradise found
    • There are some amazing free resources and ideas to be found here.  The problem is that the ideas are limitless and can end up paralyzing you to action.
    • If you choose to look for answers here don't get too hung up on the perfection displayed by others.  Remember it's a cyber world where we can portray anything we want to, in any way we want to.  Nothing is as perfect as it seems.  Many online companies / homeschoolers purchase picture perfect scenes to 'sell' their information on Pinterest.
    • Use with caution and enjoy.

    "Can I teach 

    high school science?


    As your student gets older, 

    your role changes from 

    teacher to fellow learner."
    Things to consider

    • Research your options while your students are in the primary school years so that you have a clear pathway before you.  
    • Be clear on your expectations.
    • Have an understanding of the level of education required to tackle different areas in the high school years.
    • Research and save for more expensive items such as a microscope.  Do you have to have a microscope ?  No but it is a great hands on learning tool that makes the sciences come alive in your home.
    • Find out where to purchase the items you need to do practical labs.
    • Consider the scope and sequence before changing curriculum or you might end up repeating what you have already done.
    • Get to know your student and what their long term study goals are and work towards those. Make it a priority to achieve what they need to accomplish their tertiary goals in the science arena.  
    I would like to encourage you not to fear but embrace the high school years.  See it as an opportunity to learn and discover more thoroughly what you have always wanted to know.

    Secondly remember you can not teach it all.  There is no A-Z list for you to tick off and say right now I have taught this and that  and we are finished.  These days information in any subject area is exploding with at an exponential rate and it would be physically impossible for you to teach all there is to know in any given subject matter due to this..

    I would love to read your thoughts on Learning in high school please leave a link to your post in the comments.

    You can read more on these five hurdles in my post: HELP! How am I going to teach ... ? 

    Read more on overcoming the hurdles to home educating in the high school years:

    Home School High School Topics

    Over the next few months we will be sharing some insights into the following aspects of home educating through the high school years
    • Planning for High School {How and When,ways to/how we're planning to earn college credit while still in high school, Meeting High School Requirements, how to assign credit when there aren't tests, What records do you keep? How do you present them? What influences your method, your emphasis in certain areas?}
    • Electives in the High School Years {Following Passions, following interests, fitting a job in with school, and Being intentional in Preparing for what comes after high school, Life skills.}
    • Math, Science, Biology, History {What do you use ? Why do you use ... ? What influences your choices/selection? }
    • 30 September - Language Arts {Poetry, Literature, Composition, writing, What influenced your choices/selection?}
    • "How am I going to teach High School ...?" {Addressing the fear factor of teaching subjects we struggle with or know nothing about, How to achieve credit in subjects your student *hates*}
    • 25 November - How do you fit it all in ? {homeschooling high school alongside homeschooling the others, Fostering Independence, Do you generalise or specialise? Schedules,}
    • 30 December - Graduation { Fostering Independence, How do you know when they are done ?}
    Until next month.  Happy blog hopping


    1. Thanks Chareen. My cousin said "But what about HIGH SCHOOL!?!" just the other day. I will definately be turning to you for help when we get there!

      1. You are welcome. The biggest thing I can say is enjoy the journey it's over all too soon.


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