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