Overview: Taking the time to develop your homeschool mission statement for high school is one of the most important ways to ensure success and avoid unnecessary stress when homeschooling your teen.
Question: Why should you homeschool high school? Answer: I don’t know.
I mean, I could tell you all the things that are great about homeschooling high school — and I have. See 10 Reasons Why You Will LOVE Homeschooling Your Teen for some general ideas about why homeschooling high school is a great thing. But all the positive vibes you will find in there are not the best answer to the above question. I must repeat: I don’t know why you should homeschool high school.
“Wait,” you say, “this is not what I signed up for. I clicked on your link so you could tell me the reasons why I should homeschool high school! How can you say you don’t know??”
Well, the truth is, I can’t answer that question because only YOU know the reasons why YOU should homeschool high school.
Actually, I’m not trying to be sneaky here. I am just trying to make a point that all of MY reasons, or anyone else’s reasons, for homeschooling high school don’t really help YOU. You can read all the articles you want about the benefits of homeschooling high school, but knowing your own WHY is much more valuable. YOUR homeschool mission statement for high school, what I call your WHY, will be different than mine, your friend’s, and anyone else’s. Have you clarified it?
Yes, you probably have a homeschool mission statement for your years up to this point. It might apply here — but it might not.
WHY HIGH SCHOOL? Why are you putting yourself through the stress and strain of figuring out college requirements, counting credits, making a transcript, and putting up with your obnoxious teen 24/7? (And the last one is probably the most difficult, if we’re being honest!)
I think it’s important that you figure this out. That you take the time to think through what is YOUR homeschool mission statement for high school. To clarify in your head — and perhaps on paper — why you think homeschooling is the best option for your teen.
To do this, you need to delineate what will be different at your high school homeschool than an experience at a public or private school. What can your teen get from being home that they can’t get elsewhere? Think about this.
(BTW: My book Save Your Sanity While Homeschooling High School has an entire chapter about developing your WHY, including samples from real homeschool high school moms and more information than is found in this article. Just to let you know!)
Save Your Sanity While Homeschooling High School: Practical Principles for a Firm Foundation
Possible WHYs to Homeschool High School
For instance, is it academics?
Do you feel you can give your teen a better education? We all know that there is wasted time at a brick-and-mortar building, and teachers have to deal with large classes. Sometimes academics seems far down the list of priorities at the public school, and you know your teen can progress better with one-on-one attention and the chance to move at their own pace at home.
Maybe your teen has an absorbing interest
that takes more time than they could give to it if they had to go to school every day. My own daughter decided at 15 that she wanted to major in violin — which is kinda late, if you’re at all familiar with the music world these days. She knew she would have to practice 3-4 hours per day in order to be ready in time to apply to college. So homeschooling high school gave her that time and the ability to focus on the one thing rather than being pulled in many directions.
Maybe you prefer interest-led schooling,
so your teen can follow many interests, not necessarily just one. So they can design their own course load based on what they want to learn about. So they can research this and then delve deeper into that. Which they couldn’t do if they were stuck taking the classes their guidance counselor told them they must.
Maybe you want your family life to remain vital and important.
You don’t want to farm your teen out for 8 hours a day while the rest of you stay at home. It’s important to you that you remain a cohesive unit, and that may get damaged if your teen spends most of the day elsewhere.
Perhaps a flexible schedule is important to you.
In my home, my husband’s work takes him away for several days (it used to be weeks) at a time. It has been so important to us that our kids get to spend time with him when he is home, and homeschooling has accomodated that. If we want to take the day and go to the local theme park, we can do that. If we want to watch a movie together after lunch, it’s entirely possible. And then when he is gone, we buckle down on the schoolwork. Are you wanting that type of freedom during the high school years?
Perhaps you have a special needs child,
or one who suffers from anxiety, or one whose IQ is off the charts — and you want them to have the environment they need to thrive.
A very common reason for homeschooling is that one’s religious or political beliefs aren’t represented at the local school,
or they may even be derided. For many families it is important that their teen not have to face a difficult or even sometimes hostile environment for their faith or political stance.
Or the parent wishes the teen’s instruction to be faith-based, which cannot happen at the public school. And private school may be out of the range of the budget, so homeschooling becomes the only option to pursue that desire.
Here’s a great example of a WHY that is based on core family beliefs: Why We Pursue A Christian Classical Education in Our Homeschool.
Then there’s the atmosphere at the local school.
Maybe you want to protect your teen from bullying or drugs or the influence of other teens who may not have the same moral code as your family. This was one of our big reasons for homeschooling all the way from K-12. My blog post about that is here: Our Main Reason For Homeschooling: Character Development.
(And if you need some more reasons to choose from, look at this list from Adrienne at The Mommy Mess — she has 101 of them! 101 Reasons You CAN Homeschool High School.)
Take some time to think through your homeschool mission statement for high school.
You may have a mix of the above reasons, or just one, or you may be focusing on something completely different. But nail it down. Don’t leave it in the vague subconcious reaches of your brain. Bring it out in the open and own it.
Make sure you have specified WHY you want to homeschool HIGH SCHOOL.
Related: Episode 72 – How to Involve the Homeschool Dad in High School
Why do I stress this? Why is it important to know your WHY? Can’t you just go on your merry way and do this homeschooling high school thing without really thinking about this?
After homeschooling 18+ years, the last 10 with multiple high-schoolers, I can say that crafting a homeschool mission statement for high school is one of the most important things you will do to ensure success. Let me explain.
Related: 10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting to Homeschool High School
Why is it important to know your WHY?
1) Knowing why you are homeschooling high school will help you as you make decisions during these crazy years that are filled with all sorts of options for your teen. Curriculum choices are not the only ones affected by your WHY, although that is one of the biggest areas in which knowing your WHY can make a big difference. Unit studies? Textbooks? Dual enrollment? Do they support your WHY or hinder it?
Don’t forget activities. Again, choose only those that will cause your WHY to be upheld. If your WHY is family togetherness and yet your teen is out of the house for a different activity every night of the week, then you haven’t taken your WHY into consideration in choosing to do those things. And I bet you’re stressed and unhappy!
2) Knowing your WHY helps you evaluate whether you are being successful in your homeschooling. We get so caught up in grades and test scores, that we often forget what our real reasons were for keeping our teens at home during these years. The fact is that the grades and test scores are not the determining factor about whether you’re successful — instead, measure your success by how well your WHY is being fulfilled. And you will probably realize that you’re doing a bang-up job!
More on that here: Dear Homeschool Mom Who Feels Like a Failure
and here: Episode 65: How to Tell if You are Successfully Homeschooling High School.
3) One of the big reasons it’s important to know your WHY is for when you are frustrated and ready to quit. “This is hard! Why did I think this was a good idea?? Calgon take me away!!” — but then you consider whether your WHY is worth the aggravation, and most often you are encouraged to pull up your boot straps and keep marching.
4) Here’s one of my favorite reasons for knowing your WHY: so you can talk to your teens when they are asking the very common question about going to public school instead. “Listen, kid, you’re gonna homeschool and you’re gonna like it” is not always the best approach to take, imho. Just sayin’.
When you take the time to give respect to your teen’s concerns and can explain to them all the reasons why you think it’s important for them to stay home, it’s not only a great relationship-building moment, but it helps them understand just a little bit.
I mean, we all know that they may never fully understand, but at least they’ll know that you’ve thought this through and are really only trying to keep their best interests in mind. That means a lot to them, even if they never show it.
Do you see how knowing your WHY for homeschooling high school can be the difference between a successful homeschool, where everyone is working towards the same goal, and an exercise in frustration because you are never really sure what you’re doing?
Your homeschool mission statement for high school is a compass that keeps you pointed in the direction in which you want to go. It keeps you from getting distracted or wasting time in pursuing things that aren’t necessary to meet your goals. It provides a firm foundation on which to build. It delineates your marching orders, so that you don’t have to question them later. It’s worth it to figure out your WHY, whether you are just starting to homeschool high school or have been doing this for awhile.
How to Develop Your Own Homeschool Mission Statement for High School
As you try to determine your own WHY, think about what is important to you. What do you want a high school education to look like in your home? What do you think should be learned? HOW do you think it should be learned?
What type of adult do you want your kid to be? What values do you want them to hold? What do you want them to look back on?
What is your family identity? What makes your family different than any other, aside from genetics? What are the bonds that hold you together?
What are the circumstances in your life? What is your budget? How busy is your family? Do you work outside the home?
All of this goes into your WHY for homeschooling — teen edition. Take some time today to begin jotting down your thoughts about this. Talk it over with your spouse. Get specific.
Then save your homeschool mission statement for high school someplace so you can pull it out and refer to it over and over again. There will be days when you need to remind yourself. There will be days when you think of something new to add.
And if you do this, there will also eventually be days when you can look back and say, “Yes, we did what we set out to do. Maybe it wasn’t pretty all the time; maybe we took some detours or made some mistakes; but overall, we accomplished what our hearts wanted.”
And that’s a great feeling!
But you won’t experience it if you don’t start with your WHY. So answer the question for yourself, okay?
If you don’t know where you are going,
you’ll end up someplace else.”
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