Homeschooling the High Schooler? We’ve all seen the car commercial. An extremely expensive car goes zooming up a mountain at a high rate of speed, and across the bottom of our screen flashes the message, “professional driver- don’t try this at home.” The world would tell us that homeschooling our high school children should also be left to “professionals,” and that we certainly should not try this at home.
Our experience of homeschooling three children all the way through high school has proven this “wisdom of the world” to be “foolishness to God.” As in all areas of life, if God has called you to teach your children high school material, He will equip you, mold you, and guide you. After all, He loves your children even more than you do, and His desire is that they might prosper and have a hope and a future (Jer. 29:11).
Knowing this, we need to proceed with a plan and to do our very best, with God’s help. Our Heavenly Father demands that things be done decently and in order. Our desire should be towards excellence. We don’t do our children any favors by allowing them to slough off difficult subjects or to do a half-hearted job. These four years are a time of intense academic study and an even greater emphasis on developing the mind and heart and character of Christ. Academic credentials may be the key to open doors of opportunities in the future, but ultimately, our children will be judged not by their command of math principles, or their ability to pinpoint dates in history, but by their maturity, their dependability, the desire to serve others by dying to self, and the reflection of their Savior as they relate to others. With that in mind, make biblical priorities and the development of the character of Christ your goal. Seek material for Bible study that emphasizes Godly character qualities and start working on them. You’ll be amazed as to how many you need to learn and apply to yourself!
Gear your high school plan toward sending your child to college
Even though your child may not be thinking of college, the additional study and preparation will not ultimately by wasted. The subjects studied will only enhance his grasp of the world he’s called to live in and if God would call him into a field that would require a college degree, he won’t have to backtrack to prepare himself.
Keep accurate & careful records
Your records should be credible, recognizable and verifiable. There are many templates for a high school transcript online or you can make your own. (See High School Record Keeping) On that transcript you record subjects taken, grades achieved, days in attendance (optional) and units assigned to each subject studied.
A unit is simply the educational measurement which represents the time spent in one specific course of study, usually 36 weeks, 5 days a week, 45-50 minutes a day. It would be wise to check early with various colleges so that you might consider their entrance requirements. When you give a grade for a subject completed, also include your grading scale. For example, if Jon made an “A” in algebra, it was because my grading scale was A=95-100; B=90-95; C= 80-90; D=70-80; F=less than 70.
On your transcript it would be helpful to list the author and publisher of the textbooks you used. Also include a list of the books your child has read. Record all field trips of educational value, any community service or volunteer work, extra-curricular activities, awards, certificates, honors, positions held during their four years (example, “president of youth group of 40 at our church”). All of these items help give a fuller picture of your child and your child’s heart and abilities. While an extensive portfolio of this kind may not be necessary for graduation, it is a more accurate picture of your child and will be beneficial if he enters college. Although we all dread those yearly achievement tests, they are a wonderful “third-party evaluation” of your child and will help give a more accurate picture. A part-time job can be a tremendous asset to a young person. Not only can it provide a salary with which valuable lessons on money can be learned, but it also affords an opportunity to build character skills and an open door to witnessing. These employers then become references for the future.
Consider a tutor
If you lack the knowledge to teach certain subject, consider a tutor. Check within your church, your circle of friends and family, and your support group. Accountability to someone other than a parent is a good testing ground for a child. There are many online programs available. Some offer online oversight while others are independently completed. The number of online classes from which your child can learn are numerous. Older students can often take classes at their local community college. Research and find a way that fits your needs and your pocketbook.
Realize you will be stretched
You need to realize that you will be stretched as you help your high schooler grow and learn. Your role changes from teacher and fount of knowledge, to mentor and friend on the same path. The world, and sometimes unfortunately, the church, has redefined the term “teen.” The Bible spoke of “teens” as “youths” and their job was to mimic the adults around them and learn to be like them. The youth years were years spent learning to be mature and capable of carrying on family responsibilities at the time deemed ready by the parents.
I’m not suggesting you deprive your child of his friendships and activities, but I do suggest you weigh them carefully in the light of God’s Word. Do these friends build up? Do they have similar goals, lifestyles, command of the scriptures? That doesn’t mean your child cannot be a powerful testimony to unsaved or baby believers. But if your child is around others who pull him down, it is possible that he will settle for less than God’s best instead of pulling them up to his level. Are any of the youth activities opportunities to minister, or are they all purely for entertainment purposes? Can the entire family come, or is this a “teen-only” activity? Remember what happens to a companion of fools – he suffers harm. God has given you a wonderful gift when He gave you this child. You will one day stand before the Lord and account for your training of this gift. Instead of letting this thought frighten you, let it encourage you to use these few years you have left in your child’s life in a way that will equip him to be a mighty warrior in God’s army. Imagine the joy of hearing your own children rise up and call you blessed and to hear your Heavenly Father say, “Well Done.”