I have two kids in homeschool high school, and one kid about to leave eighth grade. I also have two sons who have graduated high school, one from my homeschool and one from a local digital school after being homeschooled for eight years.
When I attend homeschool high school events, I discover that many, many of the student participants ARE NOT HOMESCHOOLED ANY MORE!! They were at one time and they have made many homeschooled friends, but they are now either attending a public or private school or doing their school work through a government funded digital school online, which means they have to follow the rules of the state of Ohio for their education and degree.
My children are keenly aware of this.
Sometimes their parents put them back in school because the parents were afraid that they wouldn't be able to teach high school. Sometimes they put them back in because the parents thought there were better opportunities for their children in the institution of school. Many times they put them in because they want to play sports. I know one mom who has her daughter in a school that will give her an associate degree when she's done with high school.
But what I never hear from these parents is what they gave up to put the students into regular school after homeschooling. And having done both and after comparing and contrasting the results, I think what is given up is worth at least considering!
1. You're breaking up the family. Literally. The best parts of the day the regular schooled students will be away form his or her parents and siblings. And yes I realize the rest of the society already does this and accepts it as normal. But if you've been homeschooling it might be a bit of a shock. No longer will the opinions of the parents and relationships with siblings be the most important part of the high school student's life. Teachers will also get a say and have sway. And so will peers. Having and keeping "friends" will be more important than keeping up relationships with parents and being with siblings. It's just part of the price.
2. Mom and Dad will no longer control the curriculum. Oh, there can be meetings with the teachers and principal and maybe there will be attempts to sway the school board from time to time if things get too out of hand, but for the most part, you won't know what's in the novels that are assigned (because for the most part, they won't be classics that you're familiar with!) and you won't know what's being presented in class that's NOT on the syllabus.
One of my friends was buying a book for her daughter that she needed for a literature class. While waiting in line, she opened the book and started reading about a pretty explicit sex act! She had no clue something like that was going to be covered in class at this particular Catholic School.
But more importantly, if the student comes to something in his or her studies that they find fascinating, there won't be any time or inclination to study it in depth and even if there is, there won't be any credit for it! at least not in this class. What the school, teachers and school board feels is important is what will be presented for study. Everything else will fall by the wayside.
3. Lots of parents give up because they think they can't teach this that or the other thing. Well news flash - there are teachers in schools that can't teach them either. I still remember Mr. Ball, my 9th grade religion teacher that made discussions of theology so dull and boring that I didn't want to take up the topic again until I was in my early 30s. Then there was Mr. Drum the math teacher - not so affectionately known as Mr. Hum Drum.
But my favorite of the unfavorites was a science teacher with a Ph.D. behind his name that giggled when he was trying to explain to me about fruit flies mating and passing on genetics. Seriously. And I'll bet if most of these parents who are so willing to pass on the task of teaching thought back, they could think of some not so stellar performances from their academic background as well. It's not like we're homeschooling back in the 80's! If you need help teaching a subject, there are plenty of ways to find help! This is one of the lamest of excuses these days.
4. Passing on morals and values. My 9th grade son and 8th grade daughter do not know what twerking is. I'd like to leave it that way.
They also know what the church teaches about sexuality and marriage, something even their Catholic high school counterparts seem a bit shaky on. Which is not to say that they'll always stay on the right path, but if they veer off it will be a conscience decision and not a straying due to ignorance.
5. You won't reap the values of all of your hard work to date. The hard part of homeschooling is getting these kids to read, write and get to grade level in math. The rest of it is cake. But we get these kids to master the mechanics of reading and English Grammar, and then we pass them off to someone else to reap the benefits!!
After all of these years we can finally read the great books and delve into them for analysis and discussions with our own children! Our kids can finally write something that is actually interesting!! and the science and math are actually challenging! Why on earth should I let someone else get my students when it's finally getting to be less of a chore and more of a pleasure? It's like being in a two man relay and letting someone else finish the winning lap and get all the glory. Nope. I've enjoyed crying through Uncle Tom's Cabin and the Call of the Wild and next year I can't wait to do Shakespeare and read my kid's research papers. I'm invested in the curriculum financially, intellectually, spiritually and emotionally - a lot more than I would be if I was just waiting for grades to come out a few times a year.
And that's what I would give up if I gave up homeschooling for the high school years.