Hi everyone! I've been away for a bit because after homeschooling in grades 5 through 8, my older daughter went back to B&M school for 9th and 10th grades, and she just started 11th grade. She is unhappy, though, and asking to homeschool once again. I have a lot of thoughts swirling in my head (considerations include moving to a different school district, private school, homeschooling/online school, early college admission), and am looking for basically any suggestions and advice - thanks!
Background: She did well in homeschool from 5th through 7th grades. In 8th grade, she developed quite a concerning funk and social isolation. She stopped wanting to do basically any activities outside of what I required for her school days (and she did the minimum there), and stopped seeing friends. I'm not sure if this was driven by hormonal changes, and/or if she backed off because I allowed more of the get-together planning with her friends to fall to her instead of me and she started to notice (as I always had) that her friends were happy to get together if she did all of the legwork/inviting, but they never reached out to her or invited her anywhere. So I decided that homeschooling was not benefitting her at this point. In 9th grade, her mood improved as she got treatment for social anxiety, and she had a couple teachers she liked. In 10th grade, she seemed fairly happy, as she was invited into a non-traditional small learning community that allowed her to do an off-campus internship 2x per week and she had a good friend in some of her classes. But that program was ended, and she hasn't made any new friends that she talks to outside of school, as I had hoped she would. She's unhappy and complaining about her teachers this year.
Now, my questions / concerns:
I know that I am not willing to do the type of homeschooling we did when she was younger, when I planned her lessons and taught her. She would have to enroll in an online school or similar and be accountable to someone else. Are there any online programs that you would recommend for a gifted homeschooler who does not do well in a traditional classroom style environment?
I am concerned about the admissions criteria. Her grades and test scores are OK but not fabulous, and do not reflect the kind of things she gravitates to on her own. (For example, in 9th grade biology she did a lot of reading on her own about prion diseases, and last year her Latin teacher commented on how she was always asking questions beyond the scope of the class. Right now, she's reading the Aeneid. Last year, she taught herself a lot of Japanese.) I think it's basically because she's not currently engaged, so she does the bare minimum. She was accepted into a local gifted program for summer and weekend enrichment when she was in elementary school. Would there be any benefit in having her take an IQ test? We've never done that because of the cost.
I am concerned about the lack of face-to-face and social interaction if she returns to homeschooling. I had hoped she'd make some friends at the high school, but she really hasn't found her niche there. But if she's not going to a B&M school, I don't know where she'd meet other kids. When she was younger we found it difficult to impossible for her to make significant, lasting friendships with other homeschoolers - we went to lots of events, but there were always different people at them. I think it would be even more difficult now since there are so few homeschooling high schoolers. And I've previously signed her up for art and similar classes but again she hasn't made any friends there in the past. She claims she'll be able to make friends now because her social anxiety is under control.
I would like to see her find some friends with similar interests, and have good teachers and engaging coursework.