My son is entering his junior year in High School - FamilyEducation
My son is entering his junior year in High School
07/06/2007 at 23:53 PM

Hi,  This is the first year I may have the opportunity to home educate my son.  He is 17 years old and will be starting his junior year this August.  I have never wanted him in the traditional classroom much less a public school.  His natural dad has always been in charge of our sons education because the judge thought since he was a school teacher himself, he would be the best parent to decide our sons educational choices.  As of two weeks ago, my son is living with me full time.  He still wants to go back to school.  He has "friends" at school who have not been good for him.  Plus he did not do well in his subjects due to him not fulfilling his responsibilities.  How would you all suggest I go about helping my son want to be home educated?  Will you pray for my son?   Thank you.

I thinks its very hard at this age to convince them to give up a big social life. They don't have your maturity to see the need to sacrifice that for a good education. You might have to think of a compromise: a private school would give him a chance to make a new group of friends, for example. (But check them out thoroughly first. Private schools have problems with drugs, etc. as much as public schools.) Or, In our town, the local community college offers classes for home-schooled high school students since by that age it is hard for the homeschooling parent to be at the necessary level of knowledge for all the subjects. That would allow you to not have to be an expert in all those high school subjects and allow him to make new friends.

Also, remember, homeschooling is a tremendous, full-time job for you unless you pay for outside classes, like at the community college. If you can't commit to making it your full-time job (i.e. if you have another full-time job) then it could be a disaster. One of my relatives tried it and failed so miserably that her son was reading several years below his age group. When she finally gave up and decided to send him to private school, they wouldn't accept him until she increased his reading level. So, she had to hire a reading specialist to tutor him for a year before the private school would accept him. She had tried to keep her other job while she home-schooled him. He is doing very well at the private school now.  

Ironically, my son begged to be home schooled by middle school. He was ADHD and school was not a pleasant experience for him. I am a high school teacher and I had to think it over. I had to weigh the effect on my husband and other son if I were to quit my job. Since my husband has his own successful business, but my job provides the medical insurance, when we added it all up, homeschooling my son would have been too stressful on the family. If that wasn't the situation, I would probably have done it. Now that he is in college he likes school, and in retrospect, he has a ton of long-time friends that he would probably have missed out on.

I applaud you for considering his needs. Just as a 6-year-old will want candy for supper, he needs the dinner you fixed and it's up to you to give him what he needs and limit what he wants.

You list some pretty good reasons for homeschooling. However, he may not want to do it. If you decide that it's best for him anyway, you will have to let him know that he needs to cooperate regardless and think of some positive ways to encourage cooperation. After all, all adults have to do things they don't want to do. It's a good lesson for a 17-year-old. It would be better if his father would back you up.

Socialization seems to be a big concern for those who may not choose to homeschool. This is different for everyone. Some kids that are homeschooled are not socialized by their parents. This is bad. But I'm willing to bet most are socialized. For us, my children are socialized through our place of worship. We have many friends in our congregation and my kids socialize with young and old, rich, middle-income and poor and different races. We take part in a public ministry which also offers exposure to people of all types, cultures and religions. This, in my opinion, is superior than just having my kids socialize with 25 - 4th graders, some of whom are felons-in-the-making. When my kids go out in the world, they will be expected to rub shoulders with peoples of all types, not just people their age. So I expect that my kids will be very well-rounded by the time they finish school. 

My kids learn teamwork by the responsibilities they're given in their family, they learn about social consciousness by the time we spend volunteering. They learn how to get along with their neighbors by how WE get along with our neighbors. I have time to teach my kids to learn to cook, clean, balance a checkbook, garden, crochet, hunt & fish (well okay my husband teaches the last two) instead of depending on my local school system to teach life skills in Home Ec because I'm too tired from working full time. I did my time in the public school system. Socially my kids are no better for it.

For those who keep their kids in school, parents will have to make the effort to teach life's skills to their kids and expect and demand that the schools teach academics.

Like I mentioned in another thread, check out Virtual Public Schools and weigh them against typical homeschooling curriculums and see which would be the better fit. Let him know that he can socialize with friends that you approve of and how that will be accomplished. If you don't belong to a place of worship, consider joining for support. Look for local homeschooling support groups that can give you advice, support and friendships.

Good Luck.