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Calming Tea

Approaching high school, confidence flying out the window....

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As we approach high school, my confidence to do this is just flying out the window faster than you can say, "keep calm."

 

Some of it has to do with my general area.  Some of it has to do with how big and how much the homeschool movement has changed.

 

People around me, I mean almost all of my friends here seem to think that the second you get to 9th grade, it's time to outsource.  Even moms who had always been very happy and very convicted to stay home and create a less busy life for their kids and learn together, suddenly find themselves running to 5 or 6 classes, clubs or activities, or joining the excellent 2 day per week Classical school.  They are shelling out money like it's going out of style and running non stop to "get their kids ready for college."  They are completely unable to even fathom the idea that this can continue at home, for the most part.

 

Add to that some math difficulties that we are having this year and it just seems like I'm alone... and the minute I talk to my local friends about having trouble or what to use/do, they just recommend an (expensive) outsourced class at one of the three local class centers or 2 day Classical School.  Each class is anywhere from 600-1200.00 and to be honest, that's not really my dream for my kids. I had always hoped they would have time to really pursue their own interests as well as being peaceful people.  Joining the "rat race" at age 13 wasn't really my idea or even what I think God is calling for my kids.  These moms are even outsourcing worldview courses...they continue to maintain that this teacher is so great, that their kids would not be ready to discuss worldview without this (600.00) course...really?  I thought we have been discussing worldview for 13 years.  

 

Now I am certainly not saying that I want to put my kids in a bubble or that I don't realize that high school is a busier time of life where kids go out more, and stretch their wings, and spend a little less time at home.  But I would rather that it be doing things that interest them...my dd can't wait to volunteer at the library and my son is dreaming of an IT internship.  ...things like that.  

 

SO....just tell me a little about yourself if you actually did the majority of homeschooling...at home until college ....

 

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We have.  The combination of a limited income and fairly high medical expenses make it impossible for us to spend money to enroll our children in online courses, classical schools, etc.  My daughter is taking two AP's this year, but we are self-studying.  I had the syllabus approved and we are doing the best we can :)  Next year she can take classes for free at the community college so I may opt to have her take a few classes there, not sure.  It is stressful, people panic and feel inadequate, and that is normal.

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It is always an interesting thing to me that homeschoolers who have been happy doing their own thing k-8 suddenly think they have to throw that all out and follow the crowd for high school. I think it is very wise that you are looking ahead thoughtfully and making your own choices about what will work for your family.

 

Some outsourcing does make sense for a lot of a families in high school, but it doesn't need to be an all or nothing decision. I was very happy to do any verbal subject at home but I absolutely just needed to be done with math. Outsourcing math relieved a lot of stress for me and helped keep the love of the subject alive for what turned out to be a child who ended up majoring in math. It was a wise decision and if I had a do-over I would have outsourced it even sooner than I did.

 

As a consultant, I see a very wide range in outsourcing decisions. Some families outsource everything, some nothing, some outsource here and there. All of these options can work in producing happy kids who are well prepared for college and life. Every family needs to just make their own decisions and do what makes sense for their family without getting concerned about what is working for other people. We all have different kids and different resources so of course we should not do the same thing. Here's an article from my site that speaks to some of these questions about competitiveness in homeschooling high school.

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I am struggling with this myself right now. Only I didn't lose my confidence until a month into 9th grade! Be glad you are sorting it out now. I am listening in.

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I have one in 9th and one in 11th.

 

I definitely did find that they wanted more interaction with a bigger world and more people as they hit the tween and teen years, but we solved this at first without outside classes (well, put on some classes, lol, but they were 'at home' for us!). 

 

The 9th-grader does everything academic at home, as did her sister at that age. The 11th-grader is dual enrolled at a local university, with 2 classes this semester and 3 planned for next semester (and the following ones). 

 

We did this for a few reasons. Her need for a bigger world continued to grow, and was no longer satisfied by clubs, activities, and social events with age peers. She wanted academic peers as well, along with discussion and interaction with more than 2 people she knows very, very well (mom and sibling). Bigger families might have it easier here! We continually discuss, sure, but it cannot compare to discussing with a larger number of people from very varied backgrounds. There is a lot of value in that, and we didn't have another way to address it. 

 

She was also getting to the point in certain subjects where a teacher and other resources would be really helpful - French, for example, and math/science. I don't speak a 2nd language, and she has surpassed my math and science skills. 

 

DE serves those purposes for her, and she is loving her preview of the college world (she is the only DE student in her 2 classes; it's based on the main campus and only the limit on hours separates her experience from that of a full-time student). 

 

Not every student has a passionate interest they are able to pursue via volunteering or internships. That is a great option as well, but not the only one. Through DE, my dd is pursuing what interests her. 

 

Also, while I certainly think that many people can successfully homeschool through high school completely on their own, there are many others who can't. I absolutely respect the decision to admit that your student will do better with another teacher! 

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On 10/21/2014 at 7:44 AM, Calming Tea said:

SO....just tell me a little about yourself if you actually did the majority of homeschooling...at home until college ....


We did most things credit-wise/academic-wise at home through high school. Our outsourcing: 
- public speaking skills = 10-class homeschool co-op class that I created and taught
- study skills = 10-class homeschool co-op class that I created and taught
- fine arts credit = paid music lessons for drumming
- foreign language credit = 2 semesters as dual enrollment at local CC, in 12th grade

We were busy outside the home with a number of very worthwhile extracurriculars, but not to the point of losing our minds and doing nothing but driving around. Several activities were evening or weekend things, so those did not interfere with schooling at home hours. For those activities that were during the school day, we figured out work-arounds. For example, we did a heavier academic load in the semester in the fall to have a little lighter class load in the spring to be able to do tennis team without such a time crunch. One credit was accumulated over several summers. Etc.

As far as how we accomplished credits:
- English = at home: DIY, WTM-style Lit. (some guides & resources) / many resources for Writing
- Math = at home: textbook programs
- Science = at home: textbooks + kits for the labs
- History = at home: books and textbooks + DVDs and online resources
- Government = at home: textbook and books + participation in model legislative extracurricular program
- Economics = at home: Teaching Company Great Course + books + personal finance program
- Foreign Language = outsourced: dual enrollment at community college
- Fine Arts =
     DS#1 = at home: DIY, filmmaking (a book, doing projects, a free live streaming 10-week class)
     DS#2 = outsourced: paid music lessons through a friend
- Electives = at home: DIY, wide variety of resources + participation in outside the home activities

I think the last 4 years have brought an *exponential* increase in the options for homeschool high school -- online classes, live streaming classes for adults, open source college classes, MOOC and options like enrolling in college-intro and appreciation courses through Coursera; plus more local options these days with homeschool co-ops, Classical Conversations, university-model homeschool/school options. Because there are SOO many more outside-the-home options now than when our DSs were in high school (2007-2012), it's harder to NOT feel pressured to outsource.

Also, there is the "shiny" factor: the fancy packaging or very neatly organized schedule or syllabus from an outsourced option look so complete and professional. We get dazzled by that aspect and fail to look at the *content*, which is often the same, or sometimes not even as much, as what we would do at home.

Let your DC pursue their passions, and explore through the volunteering, community involvement, and extracurriculars. Depending on the situation, that can "double dip" and count towards credit but also towards extracurriculars. Technically, that's a form of outsourcing, but also very specific interest-focused. Things like Fine Arts or Electives are good to outsource if you don't have the knowledge yourself -- that was the drumming for us.

If you find you have a student with special needs or who has a special attitude, outsourcing in a special, limited way can really help. ?

We had lots of social opportunities available to us through extracurriculars, but not everyone does, so outsourcing a few things can fill that gap for some families.

The dual enrollment in 12th grade was an awesome choice for outsourcing for us -- responsible to an outside teacher, practicing study skills and class management skills, learning to navigate college in advance through just one class, AND earning some college credit while still in high school. But we waited until 12th grade to be sure they were really READY for this option. And dual enrollment really takes a bite out of your schooling at home time, so there are pros and cons. You'll have to weigh those out for yourself to decide if/when it might be a good option for YOUR family. ?

In retrospect, I probably would have considered outsourcing ONE year of the Writing during high school, either to a good local option or online class, but I think that's about it. The rest I'm pretty happy with with what we did at home and the variety of resources we used. It also would have been nice if DSs had been interested in any of the vocational-tech offerings at the community college to help them gain some skills (and college credits towards an AAS degree) to widen their employability, but that was due to lack of interest on their part. I would have counted those as outsourced Electives.

Like Barbara H said, decide based on what works for YOUR family. You just have so many more options to shop from than we did. ? Warmest regards, Lori D.

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One reason many of us go to more outsourcing is that there simply aren't many other hsers to hang out with! We're in a new place this year, with only one at home. She's lonely. We've always used the ps for sports and the college for music, but without older sibs home, dd is looking for more interaction. Since she's a one-sport athlete (unlike her older sisters), we've added in a musical at the ps this fall. I had high hopes for Venturing for her, but she's ending up doing it on her own. My middle dd was the last time we were able to use paid tutors to write recommendation letters, so with ds, we outsourced more college classes to have letter writers. We've found many selective schools want profs for English, math and science, so we specifically structured ds's classes to have those available. We're doing the same for our last one.

 

For us, it's naturally flowed that by the time 12th grade rolls around, our children were up at the college rather than at home for much of the time. In fact, with ds and Navy girl, we found that we had to limit to 11 credits a semester so as to not mess up their sports eligibility. It's made a good transition to "away" college. I can't teach cello, piano, computer programming, music theory, firefighting, pilot training, or calculus. I don't have a PhD in history to tramp around the D-Day beaches, being able to tell fascinating stories. I'm thrilled that my children have had some amazing mentors over the years. And by the time I build a physics lab, I'd rather have our good friend the violin player and lab prof deal with it. Dh COULD teach that physics and calc, but after 27 years of doing this, I know that it simply will not get done. All of my kids have headed (or are headed) to pretty selective schools, and outsourcing has made that possible. 

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Here is a little about my family. My kids are listed in my sig.

 

The oldest is a senior this year and we are outsourcing 2 classes. We outsourced nothing the first two years of high school with him. Last year he did foreign language at the local state U (Japanese). He had already done 2 years at home and was past what we could do and wanted more. It was a good fit. He wants to be an English major and after seeing amazing reviews of PA Homeschoolers AP English, he and I discussed it and he enrolled for this year. He also really wanted to take stats instead of pre-calc. That seemed a great decision for him, but I was not capable of teaching it. Again, we outsourced. That will be a total of 4 classes over 2 years and those were the last two years. We could have done it all at home. We really enjoyed life more when we did. However, there were specific interests and goals that led to small carefully chosen amounts of outsourcing.

 

Dd is a different animal. She is doing her first outsourced class this year (sophomore) because we butted heads so much over English. She just didn't do her best work for me. I needed to see that she could do good work. It was SO worth the price of the class to see her work hard and produce good work again. She is planning to take 1 or 2 class per semester at the local CC for the next two years. Does she need to? Not at all. Will they improve our homeschool? I don't think so. The only reason she is doing it, is she really wants to go to college with a lot of credit in her pocket. The CC classes are very inexpensive $100-$300 (online v in person) for a 3 hour class. So it is affordable and we have already been in close contact with the registrar at the college she wants to attend and know exactly what will transfer. She would have been just as well prepared for college without the CC classes and would have had a more relaxed enjoyable homeschool experience in my opinion, but that is not her overachieving personality :). 

 

So, you asked for stories and you asked if homeschooling can be done all the way through high school. My story is that we didn't make it all the way through without outsourcing, although when we started homeschooling that was my plan. However, I absolutely think it can be done and done well. I also think remaining open to the options and possibilities as your student gets older and needs change is important. There is no need to panic just because high school is starting. However, it may be that 5 years from now, you and your IT guy may decide he should take an online math or programming class that is beyond your ability to teach. You may choose free classes such as MOOCs or you may find a CC class that you can enroll in through distance learning. You may decide that those ridiculously expensive online classes are perfect for "x" subject and it is worth it for a one time thing even though you can't afford to do it often.

 

Deep breaths. Homeschooling is a personal choice done in many different ways. You'll find yours and it will be great. 

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Not one of my kids has had a high school experience that has resembled a siblings'.

 

I keep everything "at home" until I can't manage the subject any more. Alg 2 is my math limit. I am not a huge AP fan,so if my kids can take the equivalent DE, they do (with the exception of English and comp b/c those are my favorite subjects to teach and I can definitely take them beyond high school equivalency at home.)

 

I don't believe that I HAVE to outsource, but I do outsource b/c my kids thrive in strong academic environments. When what I offer at home becomes less than they would receive elsewhere, that is my cue that I need to search for alternatives--DE, online, tutors.

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I have two 8th graders this year, so I am listening in, as well.

 

My math ceiling is Algebra 1.  That is highest level I can confidently teach and explain math.  So my kids will be outsourced or independent after that for math.  I have chosen to outsource science for a very long time, and we have used a co op to do so.  It has worked very well.  My boys received three years of Latin through our co op from a very good teacher.  (I am not a Latin teacher, either.)

 

Next year I am looking heavily at a UM school for Biology for my boys and for Geometry for my older ds.  Depending on how this year proceeds with my younger ds in AoPS Algebra, we may choose to keep him at home for Geometry.  I am feeling my way here, and it is a bit nerve-wracking.

 

I intend and plan to have all other subjects at home for 9th grade.  At some point, we will do dual enrollment at the local CC.  We will need to take each year as it comes. 

 

What I have come to realize for myself is that K-6th is fun, and 7th-8th is work. I think that 9th and up will continue to be work.  I speak for me as the teacher.  No regrets about any of our choices thus far, as all were made one year at a time with much thought and planning.

 

When I made the decision to entertain the outsourcing of math in 9th grade/Geometry, I felt a huge burden lift.

 

I know nothing of homeschooling high school from a personal perspective so I appreciate the wisdom of those who have gone before.

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:lurk5:

 

I am finding that even in the middle school ages there are no people at home.  We just moved cross country and the co-op movement is just as strong here as it was on the east coast.  Everyone I have met does at least 1 co-op, but almost all do 2 co-ops.  One called herself a co-oper.  yep, nothing at home.  So by high school no one is at home.  

 

That is not what I want for our schooling.  So I really appreciate the posts from families doing more at home in the upper grades.  At this point I would be happy to meet others who are at home with my kids ages!

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:lurk5:

 

I am finding that even in the middle school ages there are no people at home. We just moved cross country and the co-op movement is just as strong here as it was on the east coast. Everyone I have met does at least 1 co-op, but almost all do 2 co-ops. One called herself a co-oper. yep, nothing at home. So by high school no one is at home.

 

That is not what I want for our schooling. So I really appreciate the posts from families doing more at home in the upper grades. At this point I would be happy to meet others who are at home with my kids ages!

I don't know if this makes you feel better, but I would never outsource for kids the age of yours. The earliest I ever outsourced was with ds in 8th grade and AoPS alg 3. He was a unique situation and ended up graduating with multiple 200/300 level math and physics courses.

 

Most of my kids only outsourced 1-2 subjects in 11th or 12th.

 

FWIW, with MOOCs, it is possible to do all sorts of advanced studies at home for free.

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I don't know if this makes you feel better, but I would never outsource for kids the age of yours. The earliest I ever outsourced was with ds in 8th grade and AoPS alg 3. He was a unique situation and ended up graduating with multiple 200/300 level math and physics courses.

 

Most of my kids only outsourced 1-2 subjects in 11th or 12th.

 

FWIW, with MOOCs, it is possible to do all sorts of advanced studies at home for free.

 

And my kids don't want to do co-ops!  So we are pretty sure we will do all subjects at home again next year. I was willing to go do a day at co-op to meet people.  But my dd(the social one) said she would rather be home and have less friends.   At this point, we have no one to just hang out with.  Moving is part of that, but people doing co-ops is the other side of that coin.  

 

And I need to research the MOOC and see if I can't get my ds on board to be home.  He doesn't put forth his best effort for me.  But perhaps the opportunity to study more of what he wants would interest him.  Thank you!

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If we had friends home with high schoolers, who were interested in rigorous academics, we wouldn't outsource so much. However, we don't. The only other lady in the valley who WAS, ended up sending her GT kid to private boarding school in the East! We feel very blessed with our university just 5 miles down the road. We are personal friends with many of the professors and all the girls have started with their orchestra around the age of 10. So, they're comfortable there. You have to look at the kid, look at your situation and look at where you want to end up. As a PP said, each journey is going to be different. 

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Wanted to add--another source of outsourcing might be older siblings! Years ago, when Navy girl hit her senior year, I knew we were going to kill each other. She did ALL her courses up at the college (though keeping to 11 credits so as not to mess up NCAA and CHSAA eligibilty) except for pilot training at the airport (she did not do it at the college because of the full-time limit thing) and English--which she did with her older sister. Her sis is a better writer than I am--I figured she better be, with as much as tuition is at Hillsdale College! Her sis was WAY harder on her than I would have been with Navy girl. That older sister also was outsourced to the previously mentioned violin player/physics prof. Dd would go in and clean his lab for him, set up all the experiments and do a run through herself. By the end of the year, she was helping to grade lab reports. She got the chance to use some VERY nice equipment and *I* didn't have to pay for it! So, outsourcing doesn't always have to be a paid class. I list oldest sister on our school profile as an instructor as she (via Skype) still teaches her siblings. Youngest dd gets more out of a 20 minute lesson with her sis than she does with an hour with her strings prof. 

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We only outsource the classes that would be very difficult to teach. Foreign language, physics, writing, and upper level math are among those we successfully outsourced. If we had not outsourced at all it would have put our eldest dd at a disadvantage in her college studies. It is important for students to get used to some outside accountability. Additionally, they need to learn how to use the computer to submit assignments, check speakers,  keep on top of assignments, etc. in a way that they will  need to later on. Fortunately, you do not need to outsource everything. First of all, it would be exhausting and it would tie up the computer for most of the time during business hours. Second, it would not really be home school anymore. We still love to read, discuss, and explore - in short, we try to keep all the good things about home school during high school. Watching Teaching Company lectures together is one way to achieve that.

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Calming Tea,

I read the description of what it is like where you live. I almost think we're in the same city with same style of what's out there.  People look at me funny that I don't do the big fancy groups or 2 day a week "classical school for homeschoolers".

 

I did almost all of it at home (and using mfw if you read my siggy).

Oldest:

"leadership" skills were outsources to church stuff (oldest was on student leader group)

Honor society

archery

and in 12th grade, some MOOC online courses for no college credit.  but that helped with programming and calculus intro.

 

middle gal: fine arts is outsourced in community choir/stage dance.

 

 

We even do foreign language at home as she just wanted enough to have high school level and get it done.

 

We couldn't afford to go outsourcing for classes.  We needed to stick to our schedule and life.  and I had other children at home, some of whom needed special ed tutoring and that cost money. 

 

edit to add:  and oldest still got into her first choice of college and is doing very well at midterms.  this school gives midterm progress "grades" (not part of GPA, but just there to know how it's going to show to your parents during fall break...) and she's got 5 A's and one B+.    she's involved on campus. has social life.   I guess it all worked out for us so far with the "do it at home" approach.

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"SO....just tell me a little about yourself if you actually did the majority of homeschooling...at home until college ...."

 

My kids have never participated in a co-op, and the vast majority of my kids classes are taken at home until college.  As they get older, I do outsource some classes, but most of the them are online, self-paced classes.  My kids' school days really haven't changed that much since we began homeschooling 7 years ago. 

 

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When my kids reached subjects that I lacked the confidence to teach we outsourced (mostly German, lab sciences, and math). Now we have moved to a town with a phenomenal Classical charter school and I acknowledge that, in certain subjects, my high-schoolers are better served there. I think it really comes down to what your objectives are academically and what would benefit your specific kids. I have two daughters, that after home-schooling exclusively til now, decided to go to the Classical charter school full-time this year. I am glad that the school welcomes homeschoolers and doesn't quibble over transcripts. It has been a wonderful fit for them. They are challenged academically (the school is really great), and they are blossoming personally and socially. They are my extroverts - and I have come to realize that my idea of a quiet, slow-moving lifestyle was near-torture for them as they got older. The change in them (and our relationships with one another) has been extraordinary.

 

My oldest is very academically-minded and is thriving in three AP classes at this school this year. They utilize Socratic discussion extensively and the classes are small enough (5 in his AP Chem, 6 in his AP Lit. and Comp., and 12 in APUSH) that the discussions can be vigorous and very challenging. But he is also my brooding introvert, so he likes his quiet time at home, the ability to think and dig into subjects of interest, and our one-on-one discussions. I think he is quite content with how his senior year is going.

 

All this to say, I take it on a case-by-case basis. It is not so much that I outsource because of a lack of confidence, but because I see a better way for a particular individual. 

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All this to say, I take it on a case-by-case basis. It is not so much that I outsource because of a lack of confidence, but because I see a better way for a particular individual. 

 

I don't see any problem with carefully outsourcing.  But I'm very selective too.  It has to provide significantly more than I can provide in an area that I feel is important.  We've also been very blessed in that I have been able to work out arrangements such that we haven't paid for every class either.  I started bartering for piano lessons years ago and went from there.

 

I also know people who pay thousands and are running their kids around to this class and that class.  Not here.  I do the majority of subjects at home still, especially writing, math, and science.  They like outsourced history/literature for the discussion, and outsourcing Latin has taken them to levels I was incapable of.  

 

I outsource for a purpose and because I was able to get some of the costs covered.  Otherwise, home for us!

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I have outsourced a lot for 9th grade and it has been too much.  I will dial it back for 10th. 

Unless my students want to go to a hybrid style.  There are a lot of options in my area.  They could just do 1 day a week at a local hybrid and cover all the liberal arts at a good quality college prep level.  Of course you do lose catering to each student, but for my teens I would let them go do that if they chose.  There are also 3 day a week university model schools here too.  If my students really insisted then I would sent them.  I do want to be a parent first and give them options in high school.  Both of those options have great college prep material, but I'm not sure it would be challenging enough for one of my kids academically.  It makes more sense for us to find challenging classes offered in single subjects and pick and choose a few outsourced and home based together that will together fulfill our goals.

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I don't believe that I HAVE to outsource, but I do outsource b/c my kids thrive in strong academic environments. When what I offer at home becomes less than they would receive elsewhere, that is my cue that I need to search for alternatives--DE, online, tutors.

I have graduated two dc. The older one did everything at home through the 10th grade. In 11th, I had him take an on-line computer programming course because that was something I wasn't comfortable teaching myself. In 12th, he took 4 courses at the local CC. He was accepted to great tech colleges, majored in engineering, graduated, and is now working. That path worked well for him. We do have a local 2x/wk place where hsers can take courses, and I tried to get him in there in the 10th grade for public speaking, but they ended up cancelling the course due to low enrollment. The rest of their offerings didn't jibe with what we were doing, or I would have sent him there for 1 course. He was pretty lonely in high school since there aren't many other hsers around.

 

My younger son started at the local place in the 9th grade and did 1 course/year in 9, 10, 11. In 12th, he took 2 there. He also did on-line Latin in 10, 11, and an on-line AP in 11, 12. The enrollment at the local place was so wonderful for him because it gave him a nice community of other high school kids, and the 1 course he took, Literature, is something I'm not well versed in. He had the benefit of a great teacher and community while still doing the majority of his courses at home. This kid was more academic-focused, so hence the need for the APs for the challenge.

 

As 8fill said, every kid is different, and the path may not be the same for each one. Also, every family is different, and circumstances change. I've had friends who mostly hsed their older kids, and then needed to go back to work for financial reasons so sent the younger ones to school. I'd suggest you should examine your motives in sending your kids to outsourced course(s), as it seems you're doing, and not worry about keeping up with the "Jones". But I'd also say not to underestimate the need that teens have for community outside the home. Even my introvert oldest, who didn't have much of a need when he was younger, suddenly craved teen community when he got into high school. I do think it's so important to consider who is in your teens' community -- meaning that these kids will have a pretty big influence on your kids, so you might want to try and surround your kids with others with similar values.

 

Best wishes -- the teen years aren't easy, but they can be sooooo rewarding!

Brenda

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My dd has done about 1/2 of her high school credits through outsourcing.  

 

We outsourced Spanish classes, because I do not speak another language.  And one of the best decisions I made was to outsource all of her high school science classes.  I decided that this was a subject I could not teach at high school level.  She had teachers (through cc and through a tutor) who were knowledgeable and passionate about their subject.  They taught from a breadth and depth of knowledge that I do not have in that area.  Because of her great experiences in these classes, she is heading off to college to be a biology major.  If it had been the two of us struggling through a textbook or online class for science, I do not think that it would now be a possible major for her.

 

So, I am teaching the subjects in which I am knowledgeable and feel passionate about, and outsourcing the rest.

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Now I am certainly not saying that I want to put my kids in a bubble or that I don't realize that high school is a busier time of life where kids go out more, and stretch their wings, and spend a little less time at home.  But I would rather that it be doing things that interest them...my dd can't wait to volunteer at the library and my son is dreaming of an IT internship.  ...things like that.  

 

SO....just tell me a little about yourself if you actually did the majority of homeschooling...at home until college ....

 

I LOVE your kids dreams! Make these happen! This is what you WANT for homeschooling. I confess, sometimes my kids dreams have not been as clear (a friend and I who both do most of our own schooling have lamented that this is largely a myth for our  families!). But when my kids do express interests, I try to jump all over those and make them happen. It's made for some challenging and growing experiences!

 

This year is the first time my kids have done outside classes (other than a PE class at the Y with other homeschoolers, which we enjoy). They are doing speech (this was our impetus--sure, we *could* do speech at home, but it's a great class to do with other homeschoolers!), and then one of the dads does a current events class, and we are also discussing a worldview type of book. It's an every other week co-op with November to January off, but I still went in kicking and screaming a bit, LOL! But it's been good and it's good for the kids to give speeches every other week!!

 

This year my kids are 12th and 10th grades. And, honestly, there are times I've thought of outsourcing more...if a better option had been closer, I might have done that. I look each year at what's best for my kids, and what's best for our family (I too find it hard to justify some of these expensive classes!), and we've always come back to everything at home!

 

I have done some video-based courses:

 

Math-U-See

Essentials in Writing (thought about  outsourcing writing more with an online class, but haven't ever done that). 

Japanese (yeah, can't teach that! I thought I'd learn with him...that lasted 10 lessons, but the intro was helpful for me for checking quizzes! He has to check all his own homework though, too many characters to reconcile! I have him read to me since I can't converse with him!)

 

And some computer-based:

Rosetta Stone Spanish (I know just enough to be dangerous but not enough to be truly helpful...)

Robotics (thought I was going to croak that year because it was set up for an instructor who knew what they were doing to teach it...sometimes figuring out how to do an equation was maddening! But...the kid wanted to so I made it happen!)

 

We do history, lit discussions, talk about how to improve writing, go over math (I actually enjoy math, most of the time...) work through science (even biology dissections! Okay, to be honest, I left my daughter to her own devices for those and I didn't make my son, who doesn't care for science, do them--but I had dd call me down after each one and tell me her discoveries and did my best to keep my lunch down!)

 

I thought chemistry was going to do us in when we first started the year, but it's going well now. 

 

My friend homeschools similarly, but did outsource math. Another homeschool mom comes to her home to tutor her high schoolers in math, I think twice a week, and then the kids do homework other days. 

 

I've had times I thought  I'd tear my hair out with a few of our courses, and I do allow myself a melt-down or freak-out time now and then, but we've made it work. I'm so glad I've had this time with my high schoolers, and that they've been able to do some things that wouldn't have been possible if they were tied to a local school etc..., or that we wouldn't have had money for if they did all kinds of classes. 

 

Decide what's best for your family, but you really can do this. Enjoy some calming tea :-). This is like potty training and teaching to read...this is doing the next step. You can do the next step. 

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I found it much easier to stay home more when the dc were younger. As they've gotten older, and their interests, skills and desire to try new things have grown, we've taken advantage of a lot more "outsourced" opportunities. I didn't exactly plan this out, it just evolved naturally. They asked to try out new activities, or I saw something that seemed really interesting, and we explored these things. We didn't necessarily keep doing them, but they were great to try. There are just so many more diverse opportunities when the dc are older that were never there when they were young.

 

I also have found that it is nice to have an opportunity to be the helper and "cheerleader" with a couple academic subjects, rather than always the "taskmaster" - however benevolant. It's nice for me, and it's nice for the child. However lovingly mom "cracks the whip," it is good to have the children learn to be accountable to a different person. Sometimes they really step up to the plate with this and impress me completely. Sometimes not so much. But either way, it's learning life lessons.

 

I think that families eventually figure out a balance of "work at home" and "outsourced" activities that work for the parent and the individual children. Every family is different, and every year for a family is a little different. Of the homeschool families that I know best, there seems to be a mixture of subjects covered at home, outsourced subjects/activities, and a child at high school for a year or more. This kind of surprised me when my dc were younger, but now that we're at high school age, it just seems natural. I actually really like to have the flexibility to provide individually tailored educational exeriences for each of my children.

 

 

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