High School: Ready or Not, It’s Coming!
- Thursday, November 05, 2009
High School: Ready or Not, It's Coming!
By Deborah Wuehler
Our third child, Hannah, starts high school this year. Am I ready for these next four years? Well, I am not completely ready, but I am much more comfortable with the thought of high school than I was when my first one went through these years. Our second son, Christopher is attending a junior college for some of his high school classes and will graduate next year from our private homeschool. While I would love to see them all succeed academically (and most homeschoolers do), my highest goal for these years is to make sure that what they say they believe, they also know to be absolutely true. In other words, a strong Biblical worldview will be the best preparation they can receive before they have to stand up in the world on their own two feet.
My own pastor, way back in those ancient teen years of mine, would always say, "If you don't stand for something, you'll fall for anything." He was challenging us to pursue a wholly committed, full-service walk with the Lord. He wanted us to "step up" and take the baton of faith that was being passed from his generation to ours. And he was right. Our teens today need desperately to be given something of worth to do. They have great things that God has placed within them and sometimes are frustrated that there is nothing to do or nowhere to go to bloom in those things. We don't want to prepare our young children for a life of service only to have them suddenly become stagnant in their teen years. We must pray for opportunity.
These same teen years necessitate provision of fellowship with like-minded families, along with parental involvement with our teens, perhaps in some sort of ministry or academic endeavor. I call it "fellowship with a purpose." Instead of the whole youth group sub-culture of nominal Christianity at best, we want to provide something deeper. Our Homeschool Support column, in our Fall 2009 issue, highlights several families who have understood the need for fellowship and purpose in the teen years, whether within a Godly youth program, a homeschooling enrichment activity, or a ministry setting.
As homeschool parents, we have made no "small sacrifice" in providing opportunities and education for our children. We must strive to maintain that fine balance of keeping God in His first rightful place, especially amidst the academics. A priority of worship flows from the heart of our special guest, Twila Paris. Many of you know her as a popular singer and songwriter, but we are now privileged to know her as a strong proponent of home education. Her interview (Fall 2009 issue), in which she shares her conviction for choosing to homeschool her son, is inspiring and thoughtful. Not only do we hear from Twila about her choice to homeschool, but we also highlight you, our readers, and learn why you chose homeschooling. Whether you started homeschooling from the very beginning or are just starting at the teen years, you've made the right choice.
Don't fret about the high school years. They are just another series of years doing what you have been doing: researching where your child is academically and going from there, teaching to his strengths and reviewing those weak areas. In our Finishing the Race and College Prep columns, we have a whole collection of articles about teaching your high school students so that they will be well prepared for college or life. We hear from experts about report cards, portfolios, and many aspects of college prep. We also offer an article that will explain how to successfully instruct and guide your gifted child during the higher learning years. A homeschool graduate herself, Claire Novak shows us just how eager colleges and universities are to enroll our homeschooled children. They know that homeschoolers make great college students, and many of these institutions are aggressively recruiting homeschool grads.
One academic skill that homeschoolers need to concentrate on in these years is essay writing. Colleges, CLEP tests, and high school proficiency exams all require the ability to coherently write about any given topic in an orderly fashion. Our very own expert in language arts, Ruth Beechick, gives us some easy essay writing tips. Does your child want to be a writer? How about a lawyer? Maybe he or she wants to start a business? Homeschoolers make the most successful entrepreneurs (see Amanda Bennett's article in our Fall 2009 issue), because all the qualities needed to develop good business skills are built right into our homeschool agenda. Independence, critical thinking, perseverance, ingenuity, and creativity are the things our kids are made of. Not only do they have what it takes to start their own businesses, but they could even choose to do something "extra ordinary" and go to a foreign country and teach English as a second language. Want to hear from students who have graduated? Our Homeschool Alumni column highlights several students who have completed their home education, and believe me when I tell you that your little 6-year-old will some day soon be among these graduates. What a glorious thing to see firsthand the brilliance of a home education.
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