Perhaps you have been homeschooling all along or maybe you opted to homeschool just through middle school – either way making the decision to send your child to high school (public or private) can be a hard one. Even if you have planned all along to homeschool through (or only during) middle school, letting go and changing your family’s life style is difficult. There are a couple of things to consider before making the transition final.
Below is a list of questions. There are no “right or wrong” answers to the questions. (Really, it’s not a test!) No one is watching you read this article! Be brutally honest with your answers.
- Why were you homeschooling to begin with? If you were homeschooling from the beginning, think about what pushed to to make that choice. Ask yourself what you think will be different when your child enters high school.
- Why did you homeschool middle school? There are tons of answers to this question. But, if you pulled your child out of school JUST for middle school, have the issues that prompted you to make that choice been resolved?
- What are you expecting for your child in high school? Do they need a wider circle of friends? Are sports an issue? Did you experience a battle of wills through middle school and just cannot face another four years?
- What are you expecting once your child enters high school? How do you anticipate your family dynamic changing – good and bad?
- Do you have a plan in place should your child decide he hates high school and wants to return to homeschooling? In many school districts, placing your homeschooled child into high school is a fairly straightforward affair at the start of ninth grade. However, it can become difficult if you try to put a 10th grade homeschooled child into the public/private school system. Most people do not allow their children to bounce back and forth between homeschool and “real” school throughout elementary and middle school. Once a child is of high school age, even the option of bouncing back and forth disappears. Something to consider.
- What are your child’s goals? What are your goals for your child? It’s okay if the two don’t mesh. It’s more important at the start of high school that you are aware of the difference.
Homeschooling was, is and always will be about making choices that best fit your family. As your child approaches high school age it’s important to be clear about your own goals and to respect your child’s goals (though, as the grown up, you get final say!). Clarity from a parental perspective is key before signing your child up for high school. If you and your partner, you and your child, your partner and your child do not agree don’t sign on the dotted line! Sit down, talk about the options with your teen and come to the arrangement that best suits everyone. (Yes, this IS vague information! Answer the questions above and take note before sitting down with your soon-to-be-high-schooler.
As you make this important decision keep in mind that homeschooling and public/private high school have their merits. If your child has never attended school make sure he isn’t just curious about riding on the bus – that’s an easily solved dilemma. If you opt for “real” school – commit to it. Homework is not optional. Dealing with difficult teachers is not optional. If you opt for “home” school, realize that you will be transitioning from teacher to facilitator. The burden on you, the parent, is tremendous – especially if you want your child to go to a competitive university.
There are no right or wrong answers. You know your child best. Trust your intuition.