The Changing Roles of a Mom Who Homeschools High SchoolersLeah Courtney
My role as a homeschooling mom is slowly changing. And I’m not sure I like it. I now have two high school students. One is a senior who will finish high school this year; I still can’t wrap my mind around that.
My high school students work independently, so for the last four years, the look of our homeschool has been slowly changing. In the early years of our homeschooling, I used mostly multi-age curricula to teach my oldest kids together and then added the two younger ones as they became old enough to start doing school work. We continued doing much of our schooling together all the way through my oldest child’s middle school years. I loved it. We did unit studies, lapbooks, and notebooking activities. We listened to audio books together.
And then my oldest started high school. And even though we had been working toward her independence in school work and intending for her to work independently from the rest of the family, I didn’t really like this arrangement. She, on the other hand, thrived.
The following year, my second child left the family homeschooling group and headed off to work independently. And, once again, I didn’t like it although he thrived.
I am still working with my two middle schoolers during our homeschool days although they’re doing more and more independent work these days. And I know the time is soon coming—in the next year or two—when they’ll hit the high school years, too, and work without me.
And what will I do? What is the role of a homeschooling mom of high schoolers?
I’m not sure I have it all figured out yet. But in talking to some other wise homeschooling moms who have come to this stage and survived, I’m beginning to get a glimpse of some of the things I’ll be doing as all of my kids reach high school and beyond.
Keeping up with six family members who are always going in different directions is no easy matter. As kids have gotten older, this task has grown in difficulty. It does get easier when teens begin to drive on their own, but then other things become harder. For example, it’s hard to know where everyone is and to keep track of who needs the car at what times.
Part of my job as a homeschooling mom of high schoolers is keeping up with each person’s schedule. I keep a master calendar with coordinated colors for each family member. I update the schedule with kid’s work schedules, extracurricular activities schedules, outside classes schedules. I try to make sure that we’ll have transportation for all of them.
My high school kids learn in a combination of independent courses, online classes, video-based lessons, and outside co-op classes. I’m not directly teaching any of their subjects. But I am called upon to help them comprehend their lessons:
- algebra lessons that have been watched and rewatched and still not understood
- directions for an assignment that aren’t clear
- a work of literature that is difficult to understand
Sometimes I know the answers they need, and sometimes I’m there to teach them how to find the information or direct them to someone else who can help.
I want my teens to know how to make good decisions. Sometimes this means letting them make the wrong decisions and learn from the consequences. Sometimes this means talking them through a decision to help them make the right one. Instead of merely telling them what to do, I have the opportunity to talk, to suggest, and to guide them through these kinds of situation:
- what to do after graduation
- what elective classes would best fit with their goals
- whether or not to seek a part time job
- how to handle a difficult teacher in a co-op class
One of the greatest blessings of homeschooling has been the close relationship that I now have with my high school students. They trust me. They talk to me. And, even though they are becoming more and more independent (a good thing), I have the privilege of guiding and advising them as a mentor.
The Prayer Warrior
Even though I saved this one for last, I’m sure it is the most important role. No matter how old my children get, no matter how independent they are, even when they move out on their own for good, it is my privilege and my blessing to pray for them. I pray that they will seek God in the midst of their day to day decisions.
One day these kids, the ones who used to sit around my table doing unit studies, the ones who used to curl up with me on the couch when I read aloud, the ones I’ve held and taught and loved and discipled, will be totally independent. Their decisions will be totally their own. They’ll be totally responsible for learning and maturing and making choices and following God. As a prayer warrior, I’ll continue to be the mom I’ve always been, and I’ll trust God to hold them and guide them. He can do it much better than I ever did.
My role is changing. I’m still not sure that I like this new arrangement. But I’ll trust God to guide my kids and to guide me as we navigate this new territory.