It's quite ironic when you think about it.
You home school your child the first five years of his life and don’t even realize it is "home schooling." It's just "having a baby in the house."
Then because of pressures from the state caused by mandatory compulsory education laws, you get all flustered and think you have to do things differently. So you make a decision whether to home school or not. You know you want to do what is right for your kids, so you dive in and take the plunge. At first, you feel inadequate. Then you realize that it isn't as bad as you thought it would be.
Things go along quite smoothly until you hit the junior high years. Then panic sets back in! "What if I fail them in high school? What if they don’t get it? What if? What if?"
Then there's that irony. If you home schooled your child for 12 years (yes, remember you have to add the first five years in, too), isn't it ironic that you feel inadequate? Probably your child has some sense of self-discipline.
In all likelihood, you give your student a list of assignments at the beginning of the week, maybe every day, and then just check in from time to time to see how things are going. At least that's how it was in our house.
But here's that irony again. What we found is that secondary school was easier than the elementary grades. We had spent a dozen years giving our children the opportunity to learn that they are accountable for their lives. Even though the tasks they were assigned were trivial at times, and we had to be looking over their shoulder a lot, bit by bit we were teaching them responsibility for themselves. That's the way it works.
So now you are sitting here thinking about secondary school. You are wondering how you are going to do it.
Here's our advice. Do it the same way you've done it up to now. But just give them a bit more of the job to do on their own. Train your student to become a pre-adult. Instead of writing out every assignment every day, give him or her the general assignments for the week and let the student figure out what amount to do each day. Put it on the student to get back to you for the next week's work.
You have probably seen by now our "Christian Homeschool Daily Planner" and "Grand Plan" materials. The prototype of these two products came out of this concept in our home school. We gave our children a "Grand Plan" (although it didn't look as neat and organized as the one in the Planner) when they were entering secondary school. Jeremiah was 15, Rebekah was 14, and Katie, 12. That showed them what they needed to do to finish high school. We told them, "When you’re done with this, you're done!"
And guess what? They took it and ran with it. Every Monday, Laurie gave them their assignments for the week in their (Wal-Mart) planner, and off they went to organize themselves for the week. Many times, they came back with the work done by Tuesday or Wednesday. Asking for more!
They knew that finishing was a reward. They were trained to learn. They were inspired to work. We had unknowingly prepared them for the Grand Plan for 12 years or more.
Now don't get us wrong. It wasn't a perfect "system." There were times when things weren't going smoothly that we had to adjust. We asked God constantly for wisdom. But with the "Grand Plan" and the "Daily Planner," we were able to keep our kids on track.
The real irony is that our kids think that they taught themselves. (They just don’t know how smart their parents really are.) Frankly, neither did we.
David and Laurie Callihan are authors of the brand new "Christian Homeschool Daily Planner" (with their "Grand Plan" built right into it), and "The Guidance Manual for the Christian Home School: A Parent’s Guide for Preparing Home School Students for College or Career."
To learn more about their ideas for home schooling through high school, and to check out their "Planner and Guidance Manual" go to www.davidandlaurie.com