It’s not uncommon to have some anxiety about homeschooling high school. The high school years tend to bring out every single worry and concern that we successfully kept hidden while doing elementary art projects and morning basket story times.
And it doesn’t help at all when a family member or friend says, “Wait. You’re going to keep homeschooling (gasp) all the way through high school?”
It’s no wonder we’re a nervous wreck—and possibly stashing more chocolate than usual.
(Check out my video at the end of this post for more of my thoughts on homeschooling high school!)
Recently I watched a discussion unfold online where two very experienced homeschool moms discussed their anxiety about homeschooling high school. Both of their oldest daughters had finally reached high school age, and the two moms openly discussed how the upcoming years were completely stressing them out as the homeschooling parents.
And then—one of the moms said it.
“But this is high school. Now it matters.”
And then the other mom agreed.
“Yeah. High school matters.”
We need to talk.
Don’t let this be the reason you have anxiety about homeschooling high school.
Mamas, hear me now. Yes, high school matters. Yes, there are certain things you need to pay attention to when your kids enter those years. And yes, high school means you’re getting closer to the end of your homeschooling journey.
But to say that high school matters is to insinuate that all the years that came before high school didn’t matter.
That all those years were just practice.
That those years can somehow be written off as fake or pretend or somehow less important than the four years that happen to make up the end of your homeschooling journey.
Anxiety about homeschooling high school: the struggle is real
When you get to the point that you’re homeschooling high school? You’ve hit the big time.
Or something. At least that’s what they make it seem like.
To be honest, there are things about homeschooling that become more difficult as your kids get older.
Yes, with high school, you’ll have to figure out how to make a transcript. And depending on what state you’re in, you might need to change the ways you’ve been documenting what you’re doing—now that your child has reached the almighty 9th grade.
Yes, it’s totally common to worry about all those extra-curriculars that “most other kids” take part in that your kid might not end up being a part of. It’s common to suddenly worry about prom and football and band and other missed opportunities, even if up until this point you haven’t given it single thought.
Even if you swore you weren’t going to worry about those things.
Yes, there is usually anxiety about homeschooling high school and the possibility that you’ll totally miss some requirement and “totally mess things” up for your kids.
Yes, it’s natural to worry about failure to launch. It’s totally normal to come up with a list of things in your head that were really awesome about homeschooling but you’re totally sure are going to backfire now.
Because, high school!
Anxiety about homeschooling high school: so many reasons
What is it about high school that screams stress? Is it anxiety left over from when we ourselves were entering high school?
Is it a deep, dark fear that our kids are being deprived from some great experience we had as a high-schooler?
Is it because we completely doubt our ability to teach our kids the multitude of things we think they need to know before graduation?
Or maybe it’s this: maybe it’s simply that high school feels a bit like the final test—not only for your kid, but for you, too.
It’s an, okay, parent, this is where the rubber meets the road.
It’s you said you were going to homeschool through high school and that it was going to work. So, let’s see it work.
It’s like a big test. A test we freak out about because we think the whole world is watching.
And I get that. I understand that anxious, nervous, I-don’t-want-to-fail-my-kid ball of yuck in the pit of your stomach.
But, you guys. To say that what you’re doing matters now simply because it’s high school?
Anxiety about homeschooling high school: because, college
But, I hear you. I can hear the rumblings of stressed out homeschooling parents. All together now, in one collective, anxiety filled moan…
What. About. College?
I’ve asked around to homeschool graduates, public school graduates, and college professors alike and I’ve come to a conclusion: if your kids make the decision to go to college, do you know that once they are there, who actually cares about anyone’s specific high school experience?
No one. Because they’re not in high school anymore.
If your kids make the decision to immediately enter the workforce, do you know that once they are there, who actually cares about anyone’s specific high school experience?
No one. They’re not in high school anymore.
Why are we putting so much emphasis on high school? Let’s maybe stop putting high school on a such tall podium.
Yes, pay attention to the things your kids will need during the high school years. Research the answers to questions you have. Make friends with homeschooling parents who have already been through the homeschool years, or who are going through them at the same time as you. Be an encouragement to each other.
But please stop freaking out about high school because you think for some reason grade 9, month 1 magically matters more than grade 8, month 9.
Let’s be realistic regarding anxiety about homeschooling high school
As your kids get older, it’s time for independence. It’s maybe time to tweak your curriculum. It’s time to consider whether your homeschool co-op is right for you. It’s time to sit down with your teen and have a chat about goals.
But let’s not make these last four years more stressful than they need to be. I mean, there is only so much chocolate in your stash, right?
So, listen to me.
It mattered that your kids learned to read. It mattered that they learned to add and subtract.
It mattered that your kids figured out how to cook and how to use scissors without cutting themselves.
It matters that your kids figured out what happens when you mix baking soda and vinegar. It matters that they learned basic first aid. It matters that they learned to play the recorder or the piano or guitar.
And all the things they learn and the experiences they have as a homeschooled high school student will matter, too. The same as all of their education and experiences have.
You’ve done amazing. The journey has been great.
Now just keep putting one foot in front of the other. All the way to graduation.