Homeschooling’s Black, White, and Gray Series 1 Episode 5
Pushing through streams of United States high school students is a cultural experience. In a private school it looks like masses of dark blue uniformed students, arms full of books, trying to get to class on time. The girls are in pleated skirts, trying to get away with having them as short as possible, batting their eyes at the boys as they pass. The boys are trying to keep their football gear on top of the locker, and random students are trying to get their backpack out from behind the lockers. Voices, elbows, and weaving through the people to get to class on time makes up those four minute passing periods. The important social issues (catch up with friends or smile at that cute boy) at school tend to happen then or at lunch. The classes teach students more of the traditional subjects they need to know for life (or at least that is a goal; it’s up to the students if they get it). Does a child need to have this traditional “secondary school” experience to be able to function well in their society?
Of course, one can say the answer is “No,” because a child can learn how society functions through other experiences such as dance classes, sports teams, church groups, and other structured clubs.
The answer may be more gray than that: It depends on the child and what he or she needs in regards to learning styles and in regards to career goals.
Some children do best when surrounded with many other students. They lead the way in making up plays and group games when they are young, and become the student leaders in high school. Extroverted students do better (socially at least) when learning with other students around. If your high school student is more extroverted, considering placing them in a traditional school setting for high school could make them come alive! The people connections and the opportunities to work together will develop them and expand their world in a productive way.
On the other hand, if you have an introverted student on your hands, homeschool high school without a co-op or attending classes at a community college will be a self-paced, self-taught type of education, (depending on the curriculum and the parent’s familiarity with the subject.) Introverts can do better at home, but getting challenged to work in groups is a helpful life experience.
I had an introverted homeschool high school experience, and yes, I have some gaps from areas I wasn’t as interested in, so I didn’t push myself into them deeper, but the education was adequate. If I had known I wanted to be a high school English teacher early in high school, going to public school could have been helpful education.
The decision about going to a traditional high school should be made together with the student because for some careers, traditional high school would be a helpful training ground for going into that field. For example, I have been in the field of education the last five years. I have had some gaps in my knowledge of traditional schools and how students act that I would just know if I had attended traditional school, and knowing the social cues better would have been helpful to have. I’ve learned to fill in those gaps, but it has taken time and more energy than if I had just learned it by growing up through traditional school. (For example: How students are just at their worst for substitute teachers! And I don’t get this idea of trying to get by with the least amount of work possible. Don’t you want to learn?!?) If your homeschool student wants to go into a science field, it might be a good idea to look for a high school that has a more intense science focus or invest in laboratory instruments at your homeschool.
Encourage your student to explore different fields of interest and pick one that she or he loves, and then pick the education method that will help your child succeed the most in that field.
The answer to doing homeschool high school or not is a gray one that homeschool parents will have to think through and decide with their child’s best interest in mind.
By M. H. Campbell Copyright 2014