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HELP! Homeschooling High School isn't Working!

homeschooling isn't working



Help! Homeschooling High School isn't Working!


I have heard more than one homeschool mom lament, "Homeschooling high school isn't working!" When you're homeschooling high school, if it works, use it; if it doesn't work, then stop using that curriculum and try something else. You don't even have to teach; your children just need to learn. You don't necessarily have to teach ANYTHING in high school, just make sure they learn. Self-teaching is a great skill to develop.

I didn't know the answers to math or science when I was homeschooling, either (you would think I would, because I'm a nurse, but I didn't!) I completely lost it with our math about a month into Algebra 2. Almost eeryone loses at some point in high school math. Just remember it's not our job to learn it all.

My kids worked on chemistry and physics completely on their own. They took Algebra 2, Pre-calculus, and Calculus independently. I only gave them the tests and had to look up the answers. By the time we got to calculus, I didn't even know what the symbols meant anymore, I only knew that the answer had to look like the answer in the book.

Look at what your children are doing well. Are they becoming better writers than you? Then homeschooling is working; they ARE succeeding. In high school, writing is mostly about practice. Edit their papers for spelling and grammar of course, but it's mostly just about having them practice, practice, practice. It's working! Your homeschooling writing class is succeeding beyond measure!

I couldn't keep up with reading all the school books, either. I have confessed before that I didn't do literary analysis with my kids. I just asked them if they liked the book (to which they usually said "yes" and not much more). They have grown up and did a fabulous job on the honors literature courses in college, so I know they weren't damaged by my weaknesses. They read thousands of books for fun, and I didn't stress out about reading those books ahead of them. So why did I stress out about reading their school books ahead of them? I don't know!

Consider public school for a moment. Would the teacher pre-read every book? No. Would the teacher be able to help with writing more than you? No. What about science? I didn't help my kids in science at all, but my two boys got straight As in college science after homeschooling high school, so I know that it works.

My concern with the complaint that "Homeschooling high school isn't working" is that people forget the alternative. Homeschooling may be difficult (OK, it absolutely IS hard) but it is much more effective than public or private school. It is the one-on-one tutoring, the mastery before moving on, the absolute love for the student that makes homeschoolers succeed. None of those things are available at a public or private school.

There are many resources available for homeschoolers: online courses, tutors, co-ops, video programs, and curricula for every learning style. You may need help, but that doesn't mean that homeschooling isn't working OR that putting your child into school is THE one and only answer to your problems. So change things up and find something that works in your homeschool!

Have you had one of those "homeschooling high school isn't working" moments? What did you do to change things up? Please share in the comments!

HELP! Homeschooling High School isn't Working!

Please note: This post was originally published in December 2007 and has been revamped and updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.
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Comments 27

Guest - Joanne Hines on Thursday, 13 January 2011 09:32

I admit I have been considering giving up. Thanks for the encouragement.

I admit I have been considering giving up. Thanks for the encouragement.
Guest - Bev Vugteveen (website) on Thursday, 06 January 2011 13:16

Thank you, Lee, and others who have commented. We learn and are encouraged by each other as we make this home school journey. I have home schooled for 9 years and still have so much to learn... especially now that we are doing high school! Thank you for the encouragement not to give up or to follow the world's standards. I need to remember, "Never give up on my children."

Thank you, Lee, and others who have commented. We learn and are encouraged by each other as we make this home school journey. I have home schooled for 9 years and still have so much to learn... especially now that we are doing high school! Thank you for the encouragement not to give up or to follow the world's standards. I need to remember, "Never give up on my children."
Guest - Jodie on Thursday, 06 January 2011 09:33

Thanks for the timely word today. I was making my bed and struggling with the fact that things got so crazy that I had to start having my boys read their biology text on their own instead of reading it to them. I knew they had to be learning something when we watched "Unlocking the Mysteries of Life, The scientific case for intelligent design" and they loved it, made scientific comments and would like to watch it again.
I struggled because I wasn't the one doing all the teaching. You are right about each one learning at a different pace and it's ok to let it happen and be there to give guidance.
Blessings,
Jodie

Thanks for the timely word today. I was making my bed and struggling with the fact that things got so crazy that I had to start having my boys read their biology text on their own instead of reading it to them. I knew they had to be learning something when we watched "Unlocking the Mysteries of Life, The scientific case for intelligent design" and they loved it, made scientific comments and would like to watch it again. I struggled because I wasn't the one doing all the teaching. You are right about each one learning at a different pace and it's ok to let it happen and be there to give guidance. Blessings, Jodie
Guest - Tammy Smith on Thursday, 11 November 2010 21:10

Thank you for your encouragement. I homeschool 3 children. Two of whom are in highschool. Thank God for co op. (that is the option we use) Thank God that I am not a failure because I can not teach Algebra and Chemistry. Thank you that I am not alone!

Thank you for your encouragement. I homeschool 3 children. Two of whom are in highschool. Thank God for co op. :)(that is the option we use) Thank God that I am not a failure because I can not teach Algebra and Chemistry. Thank you that I am not alone!
Guest - Laura Beardsley (website) on Sunday, 17 October 2010 13:53

Thank you so much!
I am always encouraged by your words and wisdom.
I really appreciate you!

Thank you so much! I am always encouraged by your words and wisdom. I really appreciate you!
Guest - Anna on Sunday, 01 August 2010 18:27

Thank you! I needed that encouragement!!!!

Thank you! I needed that encouragement!!!!
Guest - Kathy Koltes on Saturday, 31 July 2010 08:14

Thanks for an encouraging article. I've read your similar posts before and they have made me feel better about our homeschooling high school.

Thanks for an encouraging article. I've read your similar posts before and they have made me feel better about our homeschooling high school.
Guest - carol on Friday, 30 July 2010 16:02

It is the 1 to 1 tutoring, the mastery before moving on, the absolute love for the student that make homeschoolers succeed. None of those things are available at a public or private school.
Lee, didn't mean to leave you out! I love these lines because they are so true...whether the children learn in less time or more time, these 3 advantages hold true! Whether you have a gifted student or one with special needs, they still hold true. Thanks for the encouragement. Hope the wedding goes well ~ my nephew's did 2 weeks ago.

It is the 1 to 1 tutoring, the mastery before moving on, the absolute love for the student that make homeschoolers succeed. None of those things are available at a public or private school. Lee, didn't mean to leave you out! I love these lines because they are so true...whether the children learn in less time or more time, these 3 advantages hold true! Whether you have a gifted student or one with special needs, they still hold true. Thanks for the encouragement. Hope the wedding goes well ~ my nephew's did 2 weeks ago. :)
Guest - carol on Friday, 30 July 2010 15:58

Camela,
thank you for your insight! My first child was like Lee's sons...not on my timetable, but way ahead of my timetable! But my youngest is definitely not on my timetable in the other direction...and I think that is where the acceptance and getting used to the idea of giving lots more time, maybe years more time, comes in. It is an advantage to be able to give that extra time and thanks for reminding of that...that it IS an advantage.

Camela, thank you for your insight! My first child was like Lee's sons...not on my timetable, but way ahead of my timetable! But my youngest is definitely not on my timetable in the other direction...and I think that is where the acceptance and getting used to the idea of giving lots more time, maybe years more time, comes in. It is an advantage to be able to give that extra time and thanks for reminding of that...that it IS an advantage. :)
Guest - Christine Nix on Thursday, 14 January 2010 17:05

Thanks so much! Just what I needed today! I am struggling with lit and history. I am not a strong reader, but my son is and he reads! I can't keep up with the literature analysis...nice to know I have been given "permission" not too... Thanks again for all your timely advice.

Thanks so much! Just what I needed today! I am struggling with lit and history. I am not a strong reader, but my son is and he reads! I can't keep up with the literature analysis...nice to know I have been given "permission" not too... Thanks again for all your timely advice.
Guest - Lee (website) on Sunday, 15 November 2009 19:05

Thanks Cam! I love what you said, "She IS finishing - just not on MY timetable." Good stuff!
Blessings,
Lee

Thanks Cam! I love what you said, "She IS finishing - just not on MY timetable." Good stuff! Blessings, Lee
Guest - Camela Sutton on Sunday, 15 November 2009 18:50

This is a great article -- as a homeschooler of 3, I can say that each child is different, and your approach to high school may have to be different as well. Two of mine have graduated high school, and my 3rd is a freshman with health problems. Our approach with her has had to be radically different, which was really hard for me to accept at first. I'm a very structured person, with timetables, charts, lists, etc., and that is out the window right now. I have to rest in the knowledge that this child will work hard when she can, and rest when she has to, but that the work will be finished. And, she IS finishing - just not on MY timetable. So, I would have to say that homeschooling is working...just like it is supposed to work!

This is a great article -- as a homeschooler of 3, I can say that each child is different, and your approach to high school may have to be different as well. Two of mine have graduated high school, and my 3rd is a freshman with health problems. Our approach with her has had to be radically different, which was really hard for me to accept at first. I'm a very structured person, with timetables, charts, lists, etc., and that is out the window right now. I have to rest in the knowledge that this child will work hard when she can, and rest when she has to, but that the work will be finished. And, she IS finishing - just not on MY timetable. So, I would have to say that homeschooling is working...just like it is supposed to work!
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