areAfter homeschool graduation, teens need to decide whether they will go to college, apprentice, or go right into the work force.
Many homeschool teens choose to go to college.
While some folks are calling for government-funded associates' degrees, in many career sectors, the tide is turning so that careers that only required a bachelor's degree, now require a master's degree.
If your teen wants to be a doctor, lawyer, accountant, engineer, nurse, physical therapist, architect, or teacher, college will be in their future.
It's in their best interest to not only prepare them for college studies, but to prepare them for the world of academia. You see, many university campuses have gone from being Christian or tolerant of Christianity to being anti-Christian. Post-Modernism, socialism, and New Age beliefs are often taught as fact, while Christian views are mocked and scorned.
In addition, sex outside of marriage and addictions of all kinds are promoted on college campuses by professors and fellow students alike.
How can we prepare our teens, who feel called to pursue a college education, to excel without compromising their values and beliefs? Rather, in fact, to shine brightly on a college campus?
All of my children have had opportunities to speak up in class, defend the faith, and to share the Gospel privately with several professors. In addition, they have witnessed boldly on the university, planting seeds and introducing friends to Jesus.
What can you do to prepare your teens? Well, I can only share with you what we did to prepare our teens for the world of academia. God will lead you to prepare your own teens, but our ideas may help you.
Talk About What To Expect At College
Don't be limited by what the state requires. Ask God for wisdom of your own family's requirements for graduation. In our house, our requirements for high school graduation are harder than the state's.
Here is what Mike and I require for our children to graduate from our family homeschool high school. Remember that you can count some classes from eighth grade!
Some of these courses will be one credit courses; others will be half credit courses.
There are things we want our children to have investigated and explored before we hand over the diploma and turn the tassel.
There are things that we want our children to study. They can be done in eighth grade or high school; or even seventh grade, if they really learn it well.
Our goal isn't to load our kids down with tons of knowledge, but to introduce them to the knowledge, wisdom, and skills they will need for life.
Storehouse Of Knowledge & Wisdom
One of the blessings of homeschooling in Florida is dual-enrollment for homeschoolers.
What does that mean?
It means that homeschoolers can take courses at local community or state colleges for free. They only need to purchase books.
Some homeschoolers graduate from high school at the same time they receive their Associates Degree from a local college.
What should you look at when you consider dual-enrolling as an option for homeschooling high school? What questions should you ask?
History is fascinating! What fun to explore other time periods, meet exciting people, and watch historic events unfold.
Immersion is a great way to learn and remember history. Simply immerse yourself in the time period by listening to the music, tasting the food, looking at the art, creating some of the crafts, and digging deeper into the people who made things happen, the places where they happened, and the events that did happen.
History immersion is made quite easy with history labs. We added history labs to our historical studies years ago, inspired by Diana Waring.
As a homeschool mom, my goal was to "travel back in time" for a visit. We cooked, baked, crafted, created, and enjoyed all kinds of things from whatever time period we studied. Studying pre-American Hawaii, we made a paper mache volcano and hosted a luau. Investigating Ancient Rome, we dressed in Togas, ate lying down, and had a Roman slave sale. Learning about Archaeology, we had our own archaeological dig after we created the different artifacts for each different layers of our tell.
When I was asked to teach history at a homeschool co-op, I decided to have discussion time followed by history labs. The children read at home and we discussed the time period together in a relaxed way, often laughing and doing some "imagine if" kind of thinking. The labs became an instant hit, so I kept doing them. Soon, I realized that the best part was that for most history labs, all ages could do the lab together. I loved that! We loved learning together as a family.
I'm not sure which we love more about history: historical literature or history labs. Let me tell you a little about history labs you can do in your homeschool or homeschool co-op.
"Grab your folders and let me look through everything," I asked my son.
He was back in a few minutes with six folders, each one belonging to one of his high school courses.
The EZ Folder Method has been a life saver for me in planning, managing, and grading courses.
I purchase an inexpensive 3-prong, 2-pocket folder in a different color for each course.
If you want to be more organized, you use a different color for each subject year after year. For example: blue for history, white for Bible, yellow for science, purple for electives, orange for math, and green for English.
Each folder contains all the information my teen needs to complete assignments in a given course, a check-off list to stay on track, an hours check-off table if we are counting hours, and the requirements to get an A or B or C. The completed work is inserted in the pockets.
I can pick up a folder, glance at the check list, and check the work. Now, I am ready to sit down and talk to my teen about the course. When they start school, they grab their folders and any books and textbooks needed for the course.
Would you like to make an EZ folder?
Teenage rebellion is a myth. Some teens rebel. Some teens don't. Teens that do rebel don't rebel because they are teenagers.
In primitive societies, boys hang out with dad learning to be a man and girls hang out with mom learning to be a woman. They go from child to adult without any drama or angst.
In our nation, until the 1920's, children reached puberty later (usually around 16-18) and got married soon afterward. Again the transition was pretty smooth between childhood and adulthood.
The 1920's was a paradoxical time for America. One of the most frugal Presidents ever sat in the White House vetoing spending bills and bringing down the national debt, while Americans themselves were offered and accepted with glee the brand new "Buy Now, Pay Later" philosophy. The bubble burst, of course, at the end of the decade. However, in the meantime, money was flowing and families were moving to the cities and suburbs from the farms.
Teens had more time on their hands, less hard work to do, and more money to spend. Suddenly, a new thing happened. Young people were living to have fun and play, instead of working hard to help their families and preparing to have their own families.
One thing we can't ignore during the teenage years is the impact hormones have on our teens.
Our sons struggle with anger, sometimes excessive.
Our daughters struggle with a wide range of emotions ranging from tears to giggles.
The excessive mood swings in our beloveds are caused by fluctuations in estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. Whew! Say those words ten times fast!
Adolescent boys produce ten times more testosterone! Have you ever seen the rage of an addict on steroids? Maybe your teenage son is more self-controlled than you give him credit for.
At the beginning of puberty, the pituitary gland swings into action releasing Follicle-Stimulating Hormone (FSH) and Luteinizing Hormone (LH). In boys, these hormones tell the testes to produce Testosterone and sperm. In girls, FSH and LH tell the ovaries to produce estrogen and eggs.
Other changes happen.
History is exciting!
History is full of drama, intrigue, and stories.
Studying history is important to know the past, to understand our heritage, so we can plan for the future.
It breaks my heart to see some children and teens learn history in a dry, dreary way so that they end up hating the subject.
How we teach history can often determine if our students will enjoy learning about the past.
My children all love history! I think it's because we had so much fun learning history together.
Let me share how we learn history the fun way!
Travel Back in Time
The internet has completely changed the way we live and relate to one another.
The internet has changed homeschooling for our family. My older kids did not go online much until college, while the younger ones spent their teen years in a world of social networking and Wikipedia.
Young people today email, chat with friends through instant messenger, talk to people in chat rooms, play games, create blogs, create YouTube stations, create websites, and surf the net. They research online and build relationships online.
There is so much at our fingertips today with just a click of the mouse. We can read classic literature, look up how a senator voted, get the latest news, and read our favorite blog.
Yet, is the internet a safe place?
I am sorry to tell you that the internet can be a dangerous place, too. We must protect our children from the criminal and evil activity that takes place online.
We need to protect our children from the following things:
How Can We Protect Our Children?
Let me take you back in time to when my oldest daughter, Katie Beth was 12 and her younger sister Julianna was 9. Jimmy was a newborn baby, Shine was almost 2 and Jenny Rose was 6.
With four daughters to prepare for motherhood and homemaking, I had set aside Thursdays to teach my daughter homemaking skills such as sewing, cooking, baking, hospitality, needlework, laundry, interior decorating, and card-making.
Our homemaking days were precious days. This, of course, was before the hustle-bustle of high school.
For several years I enjoyed my homemaking days alone with the girls. But other years, other homeschooling moms joined me and we have co-oped. What fun and fellowship for the girls as they learned skills that I don't have such as knitting and cake decorating.
I love having my children turn an essay into a blog post.
It's such a great assignment! Essays and blogs posts are completely different genres of writing. One is often formal, while the other is casual and personable. Essays are often long, while blog posts are short. Blog posts target a specific audience.
Turning an essay into a blog post because it involves summarizing and focusing on a new audience. When you write an essay, it has a thesis statement that you are proving with examples, illustrations, facts, and subjective feelings. Essays are often lengthy. In contrast, blogs posts are short, straight to the point, without any fluff. When you give students a word limit (I often give them a 500-800 word limit), students are often looking at reducing a paper to a quarter of its length.
The theme of true love in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice goes beyond the mere fairy tale happily ever after. The author truly believes that people can overcome their moral failings to see others as valuable. In Miss Austen’s time not all people were Christians, but a Christian worldview dominated the culture, giving clear moral guideposts. Though her novel is set in a society with diverse social classes and prescribed ways of living that are quite unlike our culture today, her message is one as old as time. Life comes down to interactions between individuals who make the choice to see one another as valuable because they are created in the image of One True God or to be filled with pride, seeing themselves as superior. The author believes that true love can blossom when moral failings are dealt a death blow.
Jane Austen takes us back in time to Georgian England where life is slower, manners matter, and people know their place in society. Like today, young people are looking for a spouse and parents are eager to be right in the middle of the courting and wooing. In this delightful tale, we meet Elizabeth Bennett and the wealthy Mr. Darcy. Mr. Darcy views himself superior to Elizabeth and her family, but against his will, he is attracted to her. Elizabeth finds Mr. Darcy smug and prideful.
Rank or birth does not negate a person’s worth. As a pastor’s daughter, Jane Austen places high value on personal accountability for one’s actions, especially how people treat other people. Bad behavior is bad behavior whether it is performed by Elizabeth’s own mother being indiscreet or Mr. Darcy refusing to dance with the ladies who are not attractive enough to arouse his interest. Both display selfishness.
You can homeschool high school! Really! You can do it! Think about all the things you would like to teach your child in high school. Go ahead and make a list of your dreams.
My list for each child will include things that are the same and things that are unique for each child. For instance, I want all my children to read Communist Manifesto in high school so that they can understand the socialist agenda in American universities and colleges. I also want them to study worldviews so that they can recognize the different worldviews that are predominate in our culture. Most of all, I want my children to know God's Word and apply it to all of life.
Here are some examples to put on the list:
Now it's your teen's turn. What do they want to learn in high school? Some of them may have a career goal in mind. Others may have a dream of playing sports at a particular college.
When Should You Start Planning?
Eighth grade is a good time to plan the high school years with your husband and teen.
I recommend reading a few books on homeschooling the high school student and talking to other moms who have (or are!) successfully homeschooled teenagers. Other homeschooling moms can lead you by the hand and help you through the questions and decisions.
I sit down and make a five-year flexible plan for each child.
Realize that your plan will change over the years, but it is good to have a rough idea of what you want to accomplish.
What is Your Goal?
Think about what you want your teen to know and what skills you want them to have when they graduate. You have already made a list. Use that list so you don't forget anything.
What fun it has been to design my children's high school classes! It has been one of the greatest joys of homeschooling for me because I love planning, learning, and planning to learn.
My philosophy is to keep things as simple and happy as possible. I want life to be enjoyable for the children and for me. Learning is fun! Even in high school.
At this point, let's assume you have an overall high school plan and you understand high school credits. (If not, read "High School Credits" and "Homeschooling High School Create a Five Year Plan.")
Let's start with your goal. Why do you or your teen want to study this subject? No matter what your purpose is, make the most of this class. Enjoy learning and make sure the material is makes learning the subject fun. Jenny Rose had an interest in songwriting. I wanted to help her to grow as a songwriter and help her to grow in other musical and vocal areas that would impact her songwriting.
What is your purpose of this course? Is it general knowledge like Math or Biology? Is it exploring an area of interest like Ancient History, British Literature, or Oceanography? Is it cultivating a gifting like Watercolor or Songwriting? Is it preparing for a career like Anatomy and Physiology or Economics? Is it to fulfill a college admission requirement? Keep this mind so that your course includes what is needed to fulfill your goals. Julianna came to me right before her senior year and asked me to design a class that would improve her writing so that she could be successful in college. While she was a good writer, she did not enjoy it, but she was motivated with a goal to grow in certain areas of writing. We designed the course together.
Ingredients of a Course
Florida is a great state to homeschool in!
We register with the county and have enjoyed a great working relationship with everyone we have communicated with here in Seminole County.
We have graduated five homeschoolers who have attended Stetson University or UCF on Florida Bright Future scholarships. Our experience with college administrators, state government bureaucrats, and local country officials has been pleasant.
Everyone has been kind, helpful and supportive. Many people took went out of their way to help me in the sometimes-confusing maze of applying to colleges and searching for colleges.
We started in eighth grade mapping out a flexible high school plan. There were changes and adaptations each year as we took advantage of opportunities that arose and sharpened the focus for each teen.
You determine the requirements for homeschool graduation if you are registered with the county. If you homeschool under an umbrella school, the umbrella school will have its own graduation requirements. Many parents like to know what public and private schools require to help them with their planning. Colleges also have expectations and requirements for admissions.