High school is intimidating. I don’t know about you, but I spent the summer before my oldest start 9th grade panicking and planning. Would I fail my son? Would he get into college? Would we survive homeschooling high school?
He’s now in college. My second son is a senior. I’m here to say, we survived and thrived.
4 Tips for Surviving High School
1. Write It Down
Record keeping in high school is confusing. What do you need to keep, what don’t you need to keep, and do you really need to keep records at all? Well, the fact of the matter is: it depends.
It depends upon the schools your child applies to. It depends upon the scholarships your child applies for. It all depends upon your child’s plans for after high school graduation.
I strongly recommend you keep written notes of field trips, books read, and tests taken while you go through the year. If that’s a bit much, take an afternoon shortly after the school year ends and write down everything you remember. Jot down the books you read, field trips you took, and put together a portfolio of writings, tests, and work.
To be honest, you may find you don’t need the information when your child graduates. I didn’t with my oldest son. However some universities and scholarships require this information. It’s easier to have it and not need it, than to be racking your brain trying to remember exactly what books your kid read three years ago.
Be safe: write it down.
2. Do What’s Right for Your Child
Peer pressure exists for moms. You know it. I know it. It’s still running in full force as our kids reach high school. Actually I’ve found it harder to deal with since the kids come wandering home announcing the triumphs and tribulations of their friends.
It’s very tempting to think if they’re doing calculus in high school, we should do calculus in high school. They’re on the swim team winning awards, we should be as well.
Don’t compare your child to other children. Instead concentrate on doing what’s best for your child. Your child might be quietly developing a passion for biology as he spends hours hunched over the microscope each night. Your child may live and breathe music but could care less about joining the chess club.
One child may be an extrovert and need lots of social activities. Another child may be an introvert and prefer a couple quality activities.
Make your decision based on the needs of your child, not your friend’s kid. Put blinders on. Stick your fingers in your ears and hum. Do what you need to do to block out the outside noise, evaluate, and do what’s right for your child.
3. Research, Research, Research
You’ll hear all sorts of news about one homeschooler not needing any records to get into college. Another homeschooler argues saying they needed to record every single book read during high school. How do you know which is true and which isn’t?
They both are. Universities, scholarships, community colleges, technical colleges, work study options, the military, and even the work force vary widely in what the requirements are. One university in my state wants a list of all books read during high school. The other could care less. That school simply want tests which show your child is ready for higher education.
Some universities want four credits of math, others want three. During your child’s 8th grade year, take a look at your child’s options and make plans accordingly. I chose to aim for the most rigorous course load as it gave us the most options senior year.
Do your research. Look at the requirements for the schools and opportunities available for your child. Don’t just listen to any one person. Their experience may not match your own since you’re dealing with two very different situations.
4. Have Fun
Despite all the stress and frustration over transcripts, classes, and activities, homeschooling high school is a blast. The teens are turning into adults and are ready for in-depth discussions. You’re able to chat about local events, discuss philosophy and world views, and dash off at the drop of a hat.
High school teens have memorable chemistry experiments, even if you are grabbing the fire extinguisher off the wall. You can do in-depth projects, elaborate art assignments, and attend long symphonies.
Your kids are finally at an age where they not only can keep up, but they often leave you behind. They’ll run off with friends to play games on a Friday afternoon. They’ll dash off to the library for various events. They’ll race you down the ski slope.
High school is when you finally see the result of your parenting over the last decade and a half. The babies you cuddled so long ago have turned into fascinating young men and women.
Study hard and have fun.
What is your best tip for surviving high school?