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May I just say that I am more than a little dismayed at the cavalier attitude and approach to the high school years??? If I taught my kid her ABCs it does not mean I can just breeze through high school classes. There is no comparison.

Or is there? Am I missing something? At what point did high school become a "wing it and everything will be fine" thing?

Here's what gets me - the same people saying that any and all high school classes can be taught by mom are also the ones paying bucks to have their 6-year old (yes, that is the age of one gal's oldest dc...bless her heart) learn how to kick a soccer ball. Now this confuses me...if a mom teaches a kid to put on her shoes and walk can't that mom also teach her kid soccer? Another mom has her dc in art class - she most likely taught them to hold a crayon/pencil, can't she teach them art?? Heck, they're still in elementary school so it's not even high school level! 

I know I'm more formal in my approach to schooling and when it comes to high school I take it as seriously as I possibly can. So I can't wrap my brain around people whose dc are still in elementary school telling others that high school isn't a big deal.

Wee vent over...that was more a bit "wee"...sorry.

Bring me up to modern day speed, ladies, because at some point I missed the memo to change my approach to this last crucial stage of school.

ETA: Rant due to posts on local forum, not on WTM. Should have stated that initially...

Edited by BakersDozen
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That used to annoy me on some boards, as well. Around here it's the ones who answer everything with "unschooling" and "Khan Academy". That's not to say that Khan Academy is bad, it's just that there are other options. We're very student driven around our house, but some of these families around us are bordering on "unparenting."

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KIf their oldest is six, I’d chalk it up to naïveté.  I had been a teacher for a decade before I had kids and even I totally overestimated high school homeschooling as a homeschooler of younger kids. You don’t quite think through/ know how difficult it may be to teach a subject you haven’t done for thirty years to a reluctant child going through adolescence. We do way more outsourcing than I imagined at the time. I really did think that any subject I didn’t know would be happily learned independently around here.  Now, I totally believe if we couldn’t outsource we could successfully manage. But easy it would not be.

Edited by freesia
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I don't know much of anyone locally who expects what I do of my high school students. It is not intense by my standards but my dc do exceed state requirements and local custom and people do scratch their head. I'm continually told that I am way overdoing it and "but that isn't required". I do not get the message others complain about that everything must be outsourced. Most moms I know here are doing it themselves and are very relaxed about it. Most will tell you no one really needs algebra or chemistry or whatever they might be challenged to teach. I actually do outsource alot- online classes and then de. I was asked to be on a panel for homeschooling high school and I was mocked for paying for classes when everthing you need is available for free. They thought I was an idiot 😞

But here is the thing- most of those kids are just fine. We have a local Christian U with close to open acceptance. These kids I know struggle with the ACT but that doesn't matter for this school. They get in, they live at home and go to college. Most have a nice college experience and graduate and go on with their lives never feeling like their education was lacking. These moms that said it was easy and cheap and no biggie- they weren't wrong for their situation. Their kids did just fine and everyone is happy.

That approach isn't for us. My dc did not want to attend this local U. They wanted to go elsewhere and do other things and they needed scholarships to make it happen. They also needed more of a background to succeed where they went. But I don't see these other moms as being wrong, exactly. It was okay that they couldn't teach foreign language or algebra 2. It worked out fine for their goals and they were relaxed and took every afternoon off and six weeks at Christmas and whatever. So I don't see these moms getting to the end and having regret or feeling like they were wrong about what they set out to do. The ones that get to high school and feel it is too hard often send their kids to school. But I see alot that go along with the very light schooling to the end and the end does seem to fit in with their goals. It's not for us but I have seen it work out okay.

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Yep, I’m with @teachermom2834 on this one. It really comes down to ‘you do you.’ I am not involved in any local homeschooling groups anymore and I’m not on FB, so I really don’t know what’s going on with new homeschoolers in my area. But, my DD3 (age 16), living away at residential ballet school, is surrounded by kids who do only a fraction of the school work she does everyday. They range from homeschooled/public virtual schooled/private online schooled/local public schooled kids and NONE of them are getting what I consider a rigorous, college-prep education. She is often asked why she’s taking Latin, why she is enrolled in two math classes this year, why her mom makes her take AP exams, why she took the PSAT as a 10th grader, why she’s already taken the ACT twice as a new junior, etc. I’ve coached her just to let it roll off. Our family expectations don’t align with other families’ goals. *shrug, pass the bean dip*

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I think that there are differences between different families' expectations for high school and I also think that personality and interests affect this.  As others mentioned, plenty of people pursue a more mellow, not terribly academic, high school path.  This is not too different from the public schools, where many students are not taking advanced classes.  Some students have a life plan that won't require it and they will be OK.  

For our family (my oldest is just in 9th so this is subject to change), I"m finding that I mostly enjoy school more as they get older so it feels less like work to me even though it takes more time.  We are involved in a pick-your-classes co-op and only choose to outsource some academics - my older is taking foreign language and this year is taking English (although we're also doing MCT at home).  We're doing government at home this fall but will take economics online in the spring. Our fine arts credit will be a mix of a co-op music theory class, a ballroom dance class, and an at-home drawing program.  Science and math are entirely at home.  We're checking off a lot of the 'required' boxes in the early years and are keeping a running list of interest-based classes to do as we progress - most DIY but some, like additional coding languages, are likely to be taken online.  But, I've enjoyed choosing materials and having discussion for our CS Lewis - based Bible class and our government class.  I've had to refresh a lot to help with chemistry and Alg. 2, although kiddo is also fairly self-teaching.  But, this kid is also pretty self-motivated.  We got the list of required classes and wrote a 'what must be done each year' list and then started filling in 'what else we want to do' and kid was excited...I mean, often not particularly excited about doing a chemistry lab, but overall excited about at least some of the classes and the idea of learning some things and checking off the boxes on the less interesting ones.  

Younger has a different attitude and has been more difficult all the way through (currently in middle school) but I'm enjoying the more complex thinking and also the fact that kiddo has become more pragmatic about the fact that some things just need to get done.  And, I actually like explaining pre-algebra and algebra and helping kids learn to get everything pertaining to one point together in one paragraph, go figure.  But, the crafty, singing-songs things that so many loved about the early years...those were not my happy place.  

The upper grades are also the first time that my husband has been involved.  I mean, he'd check a spelling test if a kid asked 'Is this right?' but I pretty much did it all.  He is not at all good at explaining early material, or much of anything to the complete novice.  But, when older gets stuck on a chem calculation or tricky log problem, my husband can take a look and give pointers if I'm busy.  So, I don't understand people saying it'll be easy but for me it just feels like a continuation of what I've been doing.  But, I wouldn't have said it was going to be easy when my kids were younger.  I actually had sort of a mini-crisis when we got ready to start middle school, and then I thought, figured out some goals, and made a plan.  I'm now finding that, so far, high school is not as bad as I feared, although there are SO MANY DATES to worry about...AP and SAT and making decisions ages in advance is not especially fun.  And I am very much NOT looking forward to the college application part of it, but that would be the case no matter how we did school.  I also realize that the experience of doing high school with my younger might be completely different.  It's fun to teach a kid who is interested, and I'm truly hoping that I can enjoy that with younger.  

And, I will say that I've also done classes at home while paying for sports lessons...because I know how to do the school work, but have no idea how to teach a kid to pitch a baseball. 

Edited by Clemsondana
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5 hours ago, teachermom2834 said:

That approach isn't for us. My dc did not want to attend this local U. They wanted to go elsewhere and do other things and they needed scholarships to make it happen. They also needed more of a background to succeed where they went. But I don't see these other moms as being wrong, exactly. It was okay that they couldn't teach foreign language or algebra 2. It worked out fine for their goals and they were relaxed and took every afternoon off and six weeks at Christmas and whatever. So I don't see these moms getting to the end and having regret or feeling like they were wrong about what they set out to do. The ones that get to high school and feel it is too hard often send their kids to school. But I see alot that go along with the very light schooling to the end and the end does seem to fit in with their goals. It's not for us but I have seen it work out okay.

I guess it's OK, but I wonder if the kids feel like it's the best of what they could have gotten at the end of the day? I'm not arguing that everyone needs every possible academic subject, but it does mean some doors were closed for those kids before they could have any say. 

I keep seeing this advice on FB, too, @BakersDozen, and I don't really get it. I wonder if people would "get it" more if they thought of education as an apprenticeship... would you want to be an apprentice to a carpenter who doesn't know how to make a chair? Would you want to be an apprentice to an electrician who can't figure out how to plug in a lamp? Then why would you want to learn algebra or science from someone who has no idea how it works? 

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29 minutes ago, Not_a_Number said:

I guess it's OK, but I wonder if the kids feel like it's the best of what they could have gotten at the end of the day? I'm not arguing that everyone needs every possible academic subject, but it does mean some doors were closed for those kids before they could have any say. 

 

Well, the kids I know seem pretty happy. This is a small town and people stay close. I don't see alot of angst amongst this crowd. Of course, I don't know the inner workings of families or what things are said or felt behind closed doors and these aren't people I have a ton in common with so they aren't my best friends. I'm just making the point that these moms didn't get to the end and find out they were wrong. Their choices worked for them. High school sure ended up being alot harder here than I imagined when mine were little, and I never expected it to be easy. So, I agree with the OP more than I disagree! I am just pointing out that having gotten to the end of the road, and having watched many many other families get to the end, I don't think it is universal that high school is really hard. So not all these moms are just delusional. It isn't what I want for my family but it isn't a complete disaster if people don't get a rigorous high school education. I'm not advocating it (I'm in the camp that if you aren't all in then they should probably just go to public school), but I have seen outcomes just fine for families that choose the easy route so maybe those moms are not as delusional or negligent as you suspect. It isn't for us as a family to approach it that way but it isn't an unmitigated disaster either, in what I have seen. 

Now, as far as kids feeling they got the best they could have gotten? Well, I have raised two dc to adulthood. One graduated and working and the other approaching college graduation. I made myself crazy trying to give them the best of everything academically and made sure the best I could that I wasn't closing doors for them, etc. I could not have been more devoted to them and their high school educations. But, there are still things I look back on and realize I could have/should have done things differently and I'm sure they could wish for more or something different. I bet most older teens and young adults look back and wish their parents had done things differently, given them more opportunities, etc. 

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1 minute ago, teachermom2834 said:

Well, the kids I know seem pretty happy. This is a small town and people stay close. I don't see alot of angst amongst this crowd. Of course, I don't know the inner workings of families or what things are said or felt behind closed doors and these aren't people I have a ton in common with so they aren't my best friends. I'm just making the point that these moms didn't get to the end and find out they were wrong. Their choices worked for them. High school sure ended up being alot harder here than I imagined when mine were little, and I never expected it to be easy. So, I agree with the OP more than I disagree! I am just pointing out that having gotten to the end of the road, and having watched many many other families get to the end, I don't think it is universal that high school is really hard. So not all these moms are just delusional. It isn't what I want for my family but it isn't a complete disaster if people don't get a rigorous high school education. I'm not advocating it (I'm in the camp that if you aren't all in then they should probably just go to public school), but I have seen outcomes just fine for families that choose the easy route so maybe those moms are not as delusional or negligent as you suspect. It isn't for us as a family to approach it that way but it isn't an unmitigated disaster either, in what I have seen. 

Now, as far as kids feeling they got the best they could have gotten? Well, I have raised two dc to adulthood. One graduated and working and the other approaching college graduation. I made myself crazy trying to give them the best of everything academically and made sure the best I could that I wasn't closing doors for them, etc. I could not have been more devoted to them and their high school educations. But, there are still things I look back on and realize I could have/should have done things differently and I'm sure they could wish for more or something different. I bet most older teens and young adults look back and wish their parents had done things differently, given them more opportunities, etc. 

No, I do understand that this is an outcome that lots of people are content with 🙂 . That's an interesting perspective: thanks for reporting on it. 

It just seems... sad to me that people would say that no one needs algebra or chemistry, anyway. But I can see that kids may not miss what they never had and may be content. And it's not like anyone can learn everything... I guess I just think of these things as important discoveries of human civilization, so it grates on me that people decide it's optional. But of course, there's no reason it should make them unhappy. 

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I do think that one of the hard things about homeschooling is admitting that you are choosing to include some things and exclude others.  We tend to think that people should know the things that we find important but, as was said earlier, we can't know it all.  I remember visiting a friend in high school - he was struggling academically but one night I stopped by and his truck engine was in 500 pieces in his driveway..  He said it wasn't working right, so he was taking it apart, cleaning/replacing worn parts, and putting it back together again.  I had academic scholarship money, but no idea about the engine in my vehicle.  I have known multiple full-professor scientists who can't prepare a meal.  I have little education in economics, and my artist and musician friends are fluent with a knowledge base that I know nothing about.  On one hand, I want for everybody to learn about science and math because they are super cool and practical and can open career options, but for my musician friends music is part of the very purpose of humanity - to create, express emotion...and yet we don't usually act as if kids are robbed of a decent education if they aren't fluent in music, art, agriculture, and auto mechanics. 

With my family, I'm tending towards knowing enough to have some idea what a subject is about so that you know that you like it and want to dig deeper or you don't but you realize that there's a lot to know there.  I don't know that I'm expressing it well, but basically I want them to know enough about everything to know that nobody knows much, both so that they know it's there to learn about in the future and also so that they can appreciate that, while other people don't necessarily know what we do, there's a lot that they know that we don't. 

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I don't know much of anyone locally who expects what I do of my high school students. It is not intense by my standards but my dc do exceed state requirements and local custom and people do scratch their head. I'm continually told that I am way overdoing it and "but that isn't required".

This. Zero requirements here mean very, very low standards/expectations especially in my area. So parents who are facing the high school years are being told to just wing it and things will turn out fine, that teaching ABCs is the same as teaching any high school course. The "It's not required!" response is used a lot.

 

Quote

It just seems... sad to me that people would say that no one needs algebra or chemistry, anyway. But I can see that kids may not miss what they never had and may be content. And it's not like anyone can learn everything... I guess I just think of these things as important discoveries of human civilization, so it grates on me that people decide it's optional.

I'm putting this on my fridge. My kids always hear from me what a privilege it is that we get to learn the things we do, that we have the resources at our disposal. Why would people NOT at least touch on these subjects? I remember dreading Chemistry with my first "batch" of high school kids...one of my dds took to it so well she's on a superstar track at a university in the research lab. And I wanted to skip Chemistry.

I want to be respectful as far as knowing that not every family's "track" is the same. But I see a lot of advice and attitude toward high school as dumbed down and weak.

And yes, everyone seems to want "free" everything. Music lessons? Foreign language? Any subject/class at all? "I don't want to pay for it!"

 

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On 11/14/2020 at 9:20 AM, teachermom2834 said:

 I bet most older teens and young adults look back and wish their parents had done things differently, given them more opportunities, etc. 

Quoting because this is so true, regardless of what sort of upbringing one had. I think my kids might wish we had done less as far as academics and activities in general. I know I would certainly slow down if I got a do-over.

On 11/14/2020 at 10:33 AM, Clemsondana said:

I do think that one of the hard things about homeschooling is admitting that you are choosing to include some things and exclude others. 

This is absolutely my experience and the reason we did too many high quality activities through the years. 🙂

To the OP's original point: well, honestly, I don't feel confident teaching my kids art or sports. I would pay for that sort of instruction. I did feel comfortable teaching all the content in the early years (with a framework). I was okay picking their high school curricula for them, though at that point I had no intention of teaching. And still paid for sports and art instuction then. Seemed reasonable and worked out fine. 🙂

I've stopped trying to figure out what kind of academic system is going to cause failure in life as I've seen too many exceptions to whatever rules I try to set up in my head. 🙂 Same with trying to predict which pairings will result in long lasting marriages. I have no clue, lol

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On 11/14/2020 at 1:33 PM, Clemsondana said:

I basically I want them to know enough about everything to know that nobody knows much, both so that they know it's there to learn about in the future and also so that they can appreciate that, while other people don't necessarily know what we do, there's a lot that they know that we don't. 

Love this.  My goal is for my kids to learn enough that they can begin to grasp the extent of their ignorance.

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Ironically, your post is the opposite of what I have seen in just about every location we have lived.  Typically the argument is more along the lines that kids will not be able to function in college if they don't take outsourced classes.  That "mommy grades" are worthless and that they need outside validation.  Equally ironically, people using Easy Peasy high school or those attending CC or DEing are the most likely to superiority complexes and be vocal about how families are doing it wrong.   They really lack any direct experience teaching high school courses themselves without some outside oversight.  They see that oversight/expert teacher as the only valid approach.

As a predominately do it myself at home homeschooler (we do outsource some, but that is far from our default approach and a last resort), I have been on the receiving end of much less experienced homeschoolers' "wisdom on how to do it correctly." (We move A LOT, so we are essentially "new comers" quite often.  They don't know me.)  Unless you know what is going on in another homeschooler's home, you really don't know what is going on in their home.  When I describe to them what we do in our home, they pretty much dismiss it as an approach leading to a great education.  Jokes on them. 😉

Edited by 8filltheheart
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