Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Real Homeschooled High Schooler

This post may contain affiliate links - using affiliate links from Homeschool Coffee Break helps fuel this blog and our homeschool - thank you!
the Real Homeschoolers series - The Real Homeschooled High Schooler @

Today's episode in the Real Homeschoolers of Carroll County is about homeschooling high school, and what it's really like. At least what it's like at our house. We've graduated two students from our homeschool already, and we've got one high school student now. Each of them has been a little bit different, and I expect the experience with my last student starting high school next year to be completely different! Here's a glimpse of what homeschooling my high schooler has been like this year.
the Real Homeschoolers series - The Real Homeschooled High Schooler @
Landon is in Grade 10. He is very smart, and can be very self-disciplined and self-motivated, but only about things that he cares about. Note: things that he cares about. He would not want me to give the impression that he actually likes Algebra, but my observation is that he cares enough about it to work at understanding it and getting it right. However, he does not care overmuch for writing, so he probably expends more energy avoiding writing assignments than doing them. But if he makes up his mind to get something done, he will do it, and it will most likely be done extremely well.

That's some background - now here's a typical week as it's looked this spring.
the Real Homeschoolers series - The Real Homeschooled High Schooler @
Sleeping late on a Monday morning
Monday - There's a high probability that Landon (and Kennady, to be fair) will sleep late and I will have to bang on the door and hurry him out of bed. (High schooler truth: teens need as much sleep as toddlers. I've found that it's better to let them sleep a little later in the morning than to have them dragging all day.) Once out of bed and fortified with breakfast and sometimes coffee, he will get to schoolwork. Usually he spends the mornings working on Notgrass Exploring World History, and maybe doing some reading. I can pretty much count on Landon to alert me to the fact that it's almost lunchtime, because he is always hungry. (High schooler truth: teenage boys pretty much eat All.The.Time.) During lunch break, he will either watch TV - gotta catch up on the sports news he's missed in the last 12 hours! - or maybe play a video game. After lunch is a good time to work on Algebra, and hopefully the internet is cooperative enough to let him watch the lesson video. At some point, I hope that he remembers to work on at least one of his other subjects - Health/Nutrition and Drafting - and I do my best to get organized to tackle the next Grammar lesson with him. He does an awesome job of keeping track of his own schoolwork in a logbook.
the Real Homeschoolers series - The Real Homeschooled High Schooler @
Tuesday - It's more likely he'll be awake at a better time on Tuesday morning, but definitely not a given. Tuesday is a busy day, and a short day for academics. If he's ready, he can have the computer to do school in the morning while I take his sister to a music lesson. One of the highlights of the schoolweek for Landon is Tuesday afternoon gym class - except for the weeks they play soccer, which is not his favorite sport! He really does enjoy the class and the time spent with some of his friends. Back home, he showers and probably sleeps a bit before a quick dinner and getting ready for Civil Air Patrol. I genuinely enjoy the drive time there and back, with some of the conversations with Kennady, Landon, and his friend. The funny thing is that Landon will rarely let on that he enjoys CAP, but it's clear that he takes it seriously and that the combination of competition, discipline, and leadership responsibility is excellent for him. And he gets a credit in Aerospace Technology and Leadership each year, which apparently makes it worthwhile to him! He takes all the initiative with CAP, studying whatever he needs to for his next test, keeping his uniforms ready, and being in an authority position over other cadets. Really, the only thing I have to do for CAP is make sure he's got a ride! (High schooler truth: they can take on more leadership and responsibility than we sometimes think, so be willing to let them take the lead. Just be available to guide and support when they do need it, because they will make mistakes and they will come up against situations that stump them.)

the Real Homeschoolers series - The Real Homeschooled High Schooler @
getting ready for CAP on dress blues night

Wednesday - This is how I know that Landon is capable of hearing and responding to an alarm clock... he is always up on time for work. He works part time at the greenhouse, putting in two eight-hour days a week. So it's pretty rare that he gets any schoolwork done on Wednesday, because he's out the door with Dad for work early in the morning, and in need of a shower and a nap when he gets home in the afternoon. (Remember what I said about teens needing a lot of sleep!) And Wednesday evening is youth group night, another high point in his week!

Thursday - More or less a repeat of Wednesday, but with a slightly better chance that I can convince him to do a little schoolwork in the evening. See, he knows that he needs to put in some time with the books in evenings and weekends to make up for the two days he is at work, but knowing that he should do that and actually doing it are two very different things. (High schooler truth: even if they study Logic, they can't always apply it to their own situation.) And don't think that he won't give me attitude if I bug him about it - he absolutely will grumble and huff and roll his eyes and complain. And then do just the bare minimum sometimes. Homeschoolers are not immune to teen attitude. Thankfully, it's pretty mild compared to what one of his older brothers was like! (High schooler truth: Growing up can make teens grouchy. You don't have to tolerate disrespect, but try to grow a thick skin and not take their snarly moods too personally. A little space to get over it, and maybe a nap or a snack can often help. Snickers is right - you're not 'you' when you're hungry! A few years experience has taught me that it's best if I can keep my own cool - easier said than done! - and know what is non-negotiable when my teen challenges me and pushes my buttons.)

Friday - Another full schoolday at home! Most weeks. So assuming Landon gets up at a reasonable time, it's very much the same routine as Monday, except with me doing a bit more nagging - that's what the rest of the family calls it, but I prefer to think of it as 'reminding' - about deadlines for assignments and about all the stuff that he was supposed to do during the week and is it done yet? You know the kind of thing I mean. And with the weekend upon us, I often have a bit of near-to-hand leverage because I can say "if you expect to play paintball tomorrow, you need to finish that writing assignment that was due three weeks ago." Because I failed to enforce that deadline at the time. (High schooler truth: they're not above trying to take advantage of your weaknesses or bad habits. My kids know I am a procrastinator and am just forgetful or distracted enough to not enforce deadlines consistently. If I forget to pull out the Grammar text or hold out my hand for the quiz that was due, they will certainly not remind me! They will get away with what they can get away with!)
the Real Homeschoolers series - The Real Homeschooled High Schooler @

Nobody's perfect, not even homeschooled teenagers! But the biggest truth about high schoolers for me is this: I wouldn't trade the experience of homeschooling them for anything! These boys (and I expect no less from the girl) cause me to grind my teeth and want to pull out my hair sometimes, but more often they make me proud and remind me how blessed I am to have so much time with them during their teen years. 

Discover real life in other homeschools with the Schoolhouse Review Crew bloggers! Join the blog hop to read more!

 Don't miss a coffee break! Subscribe to Homeschool Coffee Break by Email!

©2006-2015 Homeschool Coffee Break. All rights reserved. All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.


Post a Comment

I love comments! It's like visiting over a virtual cup of coffee.