Five of our six older children did not attend highschool at all, and one attended for her final two years of formal learning at age 15. By the time they were 15, all of our children were working part-time and enrolled in a certificate course, so we didn't really actively homeschool for the senior years. It was a valuable time, however, to share life skills and learn how to become adults. I am grateful (now) for the many, many hours spent driving and talking, and undertaking daily tasks with each of my six adult children throughout their teen and young adult years. For the child who attended school, and also had various sport and work commitments, I feel like we missed some valuable connection and learning time that I enjoyed with the other children.
Some of our teens did study some traditional highschool subjects using textbooks and workbooks supplemented by online research, but mostly they were on their own paths by their mid-teen years and involved with their own certifcate course (fitness, IT, library studies, massage, business, mechanics, cookery, etc), reading for pleasure, writing, gaming, creating, music, friends, sport, work, MOOCs, and more. They mostly used YouTube and Khan Academy to expand their learning, and I was very much a facilitator rather than a teacher for them all for most of their highschool years.
Each of the teenagers had a plan for the calendar year ahead which was created collaboratively with me each January (our summer break). The plans often flowed on naturally from years prior, delving deeper into their interests. Sometimes, through the planning process, I discovered goals I did not realise my children had, which opened up opportunities to offer new learning opportunities such as helping them to find MOOCs, subscribing to online learning platforms like Rosetta Stone, join the gym, attend a camp, get a job, or find a mentor for a specific skill.
Although Outschool has been around since 2015, I wasn't aware of it for my older children. Since I started accessing Outschool classes for Zeah, who is 7 this year, I often see live courses which would have been great resources for my teens to learn 1:1 with a qualified teacher, or in small groups for certain subjects. There are other learning platforms like Udemy who also offer classes for kids, but Outschool is the biggest platform specifically for 3-18 year olds, and the choices are seemingly endless!
Entering the highschool years, particularly the final school years, can be overwhelming for home educating parents. It truly is a fantastic stage to homeschool though! For teenagers to have time to pursue their own interests, dabble in tertiary education (or begin full degrees, early), work, travel, rest, volunteer, and engage in a variety of online learning platforms creates an independent and well-rounded young adult.
If you'd like to chat 1:1 about your teen's education and pathways to further learning, I'm available for a few sessions each week, from $60 per session (phone, in-person, video call or email). Email me to discuss your needs.
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