Don’t Rush Through High School

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Are you and your kids trying to rush through high school so you can get on to the ‘good stuff’ in college?

These days it seems like everyone is rushing to get ahead. Get an early start. And win the race.

But don’t rush through high school. It isn’t a race.

Instead of racing through high school, there are many excellent reasons to take your time with high school.

For instance, high school is the time when kids have a real opportunity to explore interests they may not have the chance to do so again.

They can sign up for sports, for marching band, or to act in the local plays. Many of these interests may never be picked up again in high school. But do you truly want to deprive your kids of these fun memories just for an early start in college?

When you rush through high school, it means kids don’t have the chance to explore their own interests and talents.

Even when these interests are not ones we would choose.

  • Your kid may choose to join sit and do nothing but program games for a year in their free time.
  • They may choose to curl up and write books.
  • They might even choose to design and sew their own clothing.

High school is a gift of time. Time for your teenagers to explore, grow, and develop as young adults.

High School Is a Gift of Time

rush through high school

But these days high school isn’t seen as a gift of time for our young adults.

It’s not a gift of time for the kids to figure out what they want to do. A time to create friendships that will last a lifetime. And a time to develop hobbies and interest.

For many people high school has one purpose only. And that purpose is to rush through it as fast as possible to get to college on the other side.

But as classical educators, we’re not educating our kids for college alone.

We’re educating them with an eye towards life. An eye towards character development. And an eye towards the good, the beautiful, and the true.

Once kids get to college they won’t have the time they need to read and discuss the great books. Unless they happen to become a literature major. But even then, will they read the great books that are focused on history or philosophy? Propably not.

I know when I and my older children hit college life became focused on completing the requirements for graduation. In my case, I took math and sciences, but very few literature or history classes. I only took the ones I need to complete the general education requirements.

And the same for my kids.

They jumped into math, business, or computer courses. There was no time for the Great Books of Western Civilization.

  • No time to debate, discuss, and gnaw on the great ideas of the past.
  • No time to read just for the sake of reading.
  • Or write just for the sake of writing.

College life is busy.

And trying to push the great books down into middle school doesn’t work. Middle school kids are dialect students. They’re not as mature as high school teenagers.

They’re still kids.

You do them a disservice by trying to push concepts and maturity on a pubescent brain.

So give your middle school kids the same gift of time to grow up. Time to play. Time to explore. And the time to discover who they’re meant to be.

Read The Great Books of Western Civilization

Don’t rush through high school. Instead use it for reading and discussing the Great Books.

  • To find out what people mean when they say ‘Greek Tragedy.’
  • To read the Song of Roland and Beowulf and learn about a time, a place, and a people who disappeared years before.
  • And to sit down and read through science and follow the development of scientific thought.

How did we get here from the Greeks? Did scientific theory just burst forth out of nothing, or was it the result of centuries of thought, experiments, and exploration?

And high school is the perfect time to wrangle with your kids about the issues of today. Why society is the way it is. How we got here. And where we’re going.

By now your teenagers should have enough history behind them to hold a long and detailed conversation on the current events.

So bake some cookies. Brew some tea. And sit down with your high school teenagers to discuss what they’re learning in their studies. What they’re covering in history and what they learned from their latest experiment.

Give your kids the gift of time and don’t rush through high school. Instead allow them plenty of free time to make friends, to explore, and to be.

Because life isn’t a race to see who can get their child into college the fastest.



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One Comment

  1. Fantastic post! I 100% agree. I’ll add that in our area many of the parents even put their kids in ‘early college high school’ where they earn an associates degree (2 year college degree) as well!! Then by the time the kids are in college they burn out. No time for exactly the types of activities you describe.
    My husband was educated in a private school until high school. He was smart and academically ahead. My in-laws were encouraged to let him graduate early and go to college. They said ‘no’. As a result he explored things he would never have had the time to do in a focused college major. So as a math whiz, he was able to explore other disciplines, primarily the arts.
    Now that we are looking at homeschooling our teen I’m thinking all that you mention above plus travel and service. Why rush? Why not make the high school experience rich and deeply meaningful!!

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