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"My Teenager Wants to Go to School"

  • Mike Farris, Esq. President of Patrick Henry College
  • 2002 19 Mar
"My Teenager Wants to Go to School"

In this column, Mike Farris addresses a mother's question about home schooling in high school.

From a mother:
We have home schooled our children their entire school lives, for a total of 11 years up to this point. My second daughter, who is now entering ninth grade (high school), is begging to go "to school."  While it's really not a subject up for discussion since home schooling is a conviction, a way of life for us, I would like to make it as pleasant as possible for her within limits - not to the point the entire family is catering to her. 

Do you have any suggestions to help us through this obstacle?  

Mike responds:

There are usually reasons behind a request like the one your daughter has made that can sometimes be fulfilled in other ways. Ask your daughter to list the things about going to high school that attract her. Commit to your daughter that you and your husband will look at her list of reasons and see how it might be possible to meet some of her desires in other ways.

For example, if she says, "I want to be around more teens more often," there are three activities of home school teens that she might be interested in.  TeenPact is a political group for home school teens that has a lot of fun and is a great organization. TeenPact Basic Classes meet for one week in state capitols around the country and provide a terrific blend of hands-on civics training with optimal opportunities to interact with teens, who like your daughter, are home schooled. These TeenPact friendships often continue past the week of classes, providing an on-going source of friendship and socialization.  For more information, visit the TeenPact Web site at

Home school debate and forensics (speech, poetry reading, drama) is another wonderful activity with a lot of teen involvement. When I was president of Home School Legal Defense Association, we began a National Debate Tournament for home-schooled teens. For information on debate, as well as debate activities in your area, contact HSLDA at 540-336-5600. Your daughter does not need to have serious debate ambitions to benefit from the study of debate and the social interaction that debate and forensics will provide.

The third activity that I would heartily recommend is sending her to one of the Teen Leadership Camps sponsored by Patrick Henry College. Seven different camps will be offered throughout the summer of 2002 on the campus of Patrick Henry College, located in historic northern Virginia, just an hour from Washington, DC. Patrick Henry College students serve as camp counselors and campers will sleep in the dorms, eat in the dining hall, and attend chapel.

Campers will spend time in informative workshops and classroom sessions taught by PHC faculty and other experts in the field. The camp experience will also include outings to nearby historical sites, monuments, and centers of American government. Your daughter will also have many opportunities to interact with others and build lasting friendships with other future leaders of tomorrow. As an added bonus, we think that each week would be the equivalent of a one credit, one semester high school course. (For more information, visit the Patrick Henry College Web site at

As you and your husband work through the issue of home schooling in high school with your daughter, try to get her to separate superficial reasons from deeper reasons and meet a few of the deeper reasons in creative, exciting ways.

Let me know how it goes.


Mike Farris

Mike Farris and his wife Vickie have ten children and six grandchildren. Mike is the founder and president of Patrick Henry College ( and co-founder and chairman of the board for Home School Legal Defense Association (