I get asked this a lot. Either ‘how long are you going to homeschool for?’, or ‘what about when they get to high school?’ Maybe it’s because we all remember what high school was like. The work got a lot harder, and when our parents tried to help us they didn’t know how because we were doing it differently than they had learned when they were at school. So it seems like a really difficult thing to teach the curriculum to a high school student! Me? I’m not so worried, and I thought I’d explain why…
My child is six
Yep, my eldest daughter is only six. High school age is a long way off for her so it’s not really something I think much about. You don’t have to think too far ahead into the future. Just like we do now, we will adapt and find a way to help our children learn what they need/want to learn, no matter what age they are. When you decide to homeschool it doesn’t have to be a decision for the next 12 years, you can take it one year at a time, or one term even. School is always there if you change your mind. I remember having the same fears and found out that it’s really not as hard as it seems and you make it work the best way for your family, growing and learning together.
I don’t need to be an expert in the school curriculum
When I hear that ‘high school is much harder these days’ and that there is so much more that kids need to know it just makes me wonder, is all this really necessary? Do you remember everything you learned in high school? I bet the answer is no. So, if we’re all functioning adults in the world today yet we all learnt different things in high school, most of which we do not remember, how relevant is it? We’re succeeding in life despite not being able to recall the multitude of facts we studied way back then. What I really think is that it’s not what you know, it’s knowing how to find the information you need. Say you’ve been educated in an environment where you were able to follow your interests, where you felt passionate about learning, where you were the one in control and it was up to you to find the answers to your questions, where you had guidance and help from others when you needed it, and where you could learn at your own pace. Well I think it’s pretty likely that you’d be resourceful, inspired, creative, passionate, self-motivated, confident, and more than capable of making your way in the world. Which brings me to my next point…
Preparing for a world we don’t know
“…it’s education that’s meant to take us into this future that we can’t grasp. If you think of it, children starting school this year will be retiring in 2065. Nobody has a clue…what the world will look like in five years’ time. And yet we’re meant to be educating them for it. So the unpredictability, I think, is extraordinary.” – Sir Ken Robinson
We cannot know what knowledge a child will need, what career they will choose, what they will want to do with their life when they ‘grow up’. The world may be a very different place by then and technology is advancing so fast. The best I can do is nurture their love of learning and life and give them the skills to find any information they need, when/if they need it.
Just like it is with adults, much of a child’s learning is done independently. As they get older and can read, write, use technology, etc, their independence only increases. We’re there to help and guide when needed but really, when they are confident in learning independently the sky is the limit! Information is so readily available these days that they will be able to learn whatever interests them.
We’re not alone! If outside help is needed, it’s there. There’s classes, courses, tutors, community, experts, libraries, anything you need! We’re surrounded by valuable sources of information and we’ll use them if we need them.
Maybe the most important one. I trust my kids. I trust that they will learn everything they need to know for their life. It’s sometimes a hard thing to do when your own experience of education is within a mainstream schooling environment. But, the more I watch them the more confident I am that they’ve got it covered.
“Children do not need to be made to learn about the world, or shown how. They want to, and they know how.” – John Holt
So, no, I’m not worried about high school. Although our days might look different than they do now, the intention to them will be the same. Respecting our children’s interests, learning at their own pace, trusting them, and adapting to their changing needs. We can do that.