Why and when homeschooling may not be the best choice.
Sharolyn C on Facebook asked me to give some insight into when and why it could be a good decision to go to "real school" and when keeping kids home might not be so good.
Three things as foundation for this post:
- I'm a huge homeschooling advocate. Yet I am happy to share the good parts of my experience in public high school.
- You know your kids best. I gladly share my experience, but it's my experience... not yours and your child is not me.
- I'm not an expert. I'm a kid who loved homeschooling and enjoyed my high school experience. What follows is a glimpse into that...
I went to "real school" for high school because I wanted to do ministry. I was there to change my campus for Christ. My mom also thought that wood shop and swimming would be good too... and they were. I set two school records in swimming. But that wasn't why I was there. I wasn't there for friends either. Or the parties. Or even the memories; though, I do still treasure what classmate after classmate wrote inside my Senior yearbook.
High school was a chance to put my faith into action. In many ways, high school was a 10-14 hour daily experiment in walking out the Christian life in the "real world." And high school is one of the best times to do this because, psychologically, we're at a stage in our development where things are black and white and we're inspired by books like Do Hard Things. We're at a place in life where "getting out there" makes sense.
And so I did.
Some memories that still stick with me today:
- The young lady who said, "Luke, I don't want to talk about Jesus. Shut up about that."
- The young man who said, "I can't talk to you about my problems, Luke. You're too perfect."
- The girl who told me that if I dated she'd go out with me.
- The teacher who gave me an A on a paper about chirality and the problems it poses to the Miller-Urey experiment.
- And the day I did the hard thing and kept quiet.
Those four years shaped my views dramatically. I had lived, more or less, in a Christian vacuum other than sports. So high school was the only place to really practice daily ministry.
So it was good.
High school was very, very good. It was also important, for reasons I still don't grasp, for me to fail. The foundation of why I went to high school completely crumbled my forth year. Those events killed me. But I'm growing in my confidence that the death I died was that of a seed. My prayer is that ministry will flourish out of that.
Okay, enough rambling and reminiscing. The point:
High school is an incredibly formative time and an excellent opportunity to see your Christian faith stretched and your religious perceptions challenged. But it certainly isn't easy, especially if there's fallout from it.
If you and your son or daughter is up for the ride, public high school could be one of the most important roller coasters they every go on. Then again, that was not the case for my little sister who left high school feeling like she'd wasted four years of her life. ...which isn't very productive.
I was going to link you now to an article on Sonlight.com about why you should consider homeschooling your high schooler, but I'm not going to. That would be the wrong way to end a post about why homeschooling your high schooler may not be the best choice.
Public high school, for good or ill, will challenge your student if they open themselves up to be challenged. It will scar them. It may crush them. But you're the one who has the best chance of knowing if it will make them stronger.
Filmmaker, Writer, Surrogate Father
P.S. You may be interested to read my followup post: A Reason to Homeschool: Lay a Foundation