Q. What about homeschooling teenagers? Is it possible to homeschool through high school?
A. There is an increasing numbers of teens who have been homeschooled their entire lives, and more teens are leaving public schools to be homeschooled. These kids are studying subjects in depth, learning from apprenticeships, work, and travel. They enjoy the independence of homeschooling and have the time to discover what they really love to do. Just browse through our Homeschooling Teen profiles for lots of examples!
Q. What if my teenage son (or daughter) and I don’t get along very well?
A. Sometimes a parent and child always seem to be at odds with each other, especially when they both have strong-minded personalities. This is a relationship issue that needs to be resolved whether you homeschool or not. It can be done with patience and determination through love, care, and prayer. Homeschooling may even help by forcing you to spend more time together. If you demonstrate a loving commitment to your child through homeschooling him, his attitude may improve when he realizes how much you really love him, based on all of the quality time you are spending together. By working together in this way, you will also learn to communicate better and be more understanding of each other.
Q. How can parents teach subjects that they’re not good at or don’t know much about?
A. Parents don’t have to be an expert in every subject. Even schoolteachers don’t know everything. (That’s why textbooks have teacher’s editions and curriculum comes with teacher’s manuals!) Parents can join co-ops, hire tutors, sign up for a single correspondence class (or, for high schoolers, a community college class) in that subject, or look into the many self-teaching CD-ROMS, videos, and online resources that are available. In doing so, parents can even learn along with their children! While many children are capable of teaching themselves – just as adults do when they have something new they want to learn – one of the most powerful learning experiences for a child is to have a parent learning right alongside them. And when searching for “teachers,” don’t overlook friends, acquaintances, and businesspeople in your community – most people are delighted to have a young person around who is sincerely interested in what they know and do.
Q. What if my state requires testing, or if my children need to take standardized tests later for college admissions? Will they be prepared?
A. First, make sure that testing is legally required in your state. Some states no longer require testing, and others list testing as one of several options (such as keeping a portfolio or getting an outside evaluation). If you do have to test your children, you can prepare them by working on sample tests (just as public schoolchildren do) and talking about test-taking strategies. Homeschoolers entering college can prepare for the SAT or ACT by using one of the many test preparation books that are available. Not all colleges require these tests, however. By the way, homeschooled students as a group generally exceed national norms on standardized achievement tests.
Q. How can homeschoolers get into college?
A. Hundreds of colleges and universities all over the nation accept home educated students, and some are even actively recruiting them. Such institutions have come to value these intelligent, responsible young people because of their maturity, creativity, disciplined study skills, independent thinking skills, and enthusiasm for learning. Formal transcripts, diplomas or GEDs are not always required. However, if you are concerned about meeting college admission requirements, there are correspendence courses and online academies that will do the record keeping for you and issue official transcripts and diplomas. Some homeschoolers take their high school classes at the community college level and thus receive a transcript from the college for those courses. (Those students who take enough community college classes to receive an AA degree are then automatically considered transfer students by the university.) On the other hand, keep in mind that college is not necessarily the only route to adulthood or to a career. Some homeschoolers would rather start their own business, pursue on-the-job training, apprenticeships, or volunteer work instead of going to college.
Q. Why should homeschoolers be interested in what goes on in the public schools?
A. Just because we are homeschooling does not mean that we should not be interested in all education issues. First of all, since we still have to pay taxes to support public education, we have a right to see that effective, efficient education is provided. Secondly, homeschoolers should stay aware of public school legislation because even though it may not affect homeschoolers directly, it may have indirect implications. For example, a driver’s license legislation to enforce dropouts back into high schools may look good on the surface, but it would also affect 16-year-old homeschoolers. Thirdly, public school laws have the potential of being forced on the private and homeschool community at a later date. Fourth, as American citizens in a democratic republic form of government, we have an obligation to be involved in that government and to communicate with our representatives. Finally, our homeschooled kids will have to live with the products of the public school system. What kind of moral values and education will those who work in the community with our children have learned?