Where did the homeschooling high school community go?
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It’s a commonly asked question once you reach the years of homeschooling high school: where did the homeschooling high school community go?
Reaching the last leg of the homeschooling journey (read: high school years) really feels like a huge leap off one platform to another; one platform being everything I’ve taught you, the other platform being the future. There is a huge space in the middle where your kid is trying to figure out the best way to get from one platform to the other, and it can be pretty freaky for you to watch them hang out there in the in between—talk about anxiety about homeschooling high school!
Couple that with learning to drive and first jobs and all the other firsts and changes that come in the teen years, and it’s a recipe for an anxiety filled cocktail with a glittery umbrella on top.
So as homeschooling parents, we look for blogs and groups and a homeschooling high school community to help us through this because while homeschooling teens can be easier in some ways, homeschooling older kids also brings challenges. So we search…and get frustrated that there isn’t as much community available as when we were trying to figure out a fun project about Greek mythology or how to deal with cabin fever.
As homeschoolers get older, it’s common for parents to feel like the homeschooling high school community is less active or—depending on where you live—completely disappears.
It’s a fair accusation. Because it’s true.
So why does the homeschooling high school community disappear when your kids get older? What happens to all the blogs that help walk homeschooling parents through the high school years? Why aren’t there as many groups for parents of high school aged homeschoolers?
Let me address this as a homeschool blogger and homeschool Facebook group owner who now only has high school aged kids.
The homeschooling high school community changes because blogging and social media changes when you have older kids.
I started homeschooling in 2007, blogging in 2009. As I write this, we’re entering our 11th year of homeschooling and my sons are 9th and 10th grade.
(Side note: I look at homeschooling parents who say they have 20+ years of homeschooling experience and I think I’ll never get there. I had two kids 12 months apart. When my youngest graduates I’ll have 14 years as a homeschooling mom under my belt and will be completely done with the journey.)
Having two kids so close in age was great in that it was almost like homeschooling twins. With the exception of reading and math for a couple years, my kids worked from the same curriculum (when we used it) and explored as they wished otherwise.
But having two kids close together made every stage of homeschooling come…and then go. And it was never repeated. Had I had 4-6-9-13 kids, I would have experienced those stages multiple times and been able to write about them multiple times with different tips each time.
But as it sits now? I only have high schoolers. And let me tell you, blogging and social media as a mom with only high schoolers is a totally different ball game.
Which is frustrating. As a homeschool parent with only high schoolers— and also being a person with a voice in the homeschool blogging world—I often hear what happened to the homeschooling high school community? Or there aren’t as many blogs for parents of older kids to read—why aren’t you writing as much?
This is something we talk about a lot in the homeschool blogger community. We hear your cries. We get your frustration. We are right there with you.
Psst: Looking for some of my favorite bloggers who are part of the homeschooling high school community? Check out…
It’s not necessarily that all bloggers go into hiding or quit when their kids get older—although the pool of people who continue to homeschool through high school does get significantly smaller. So, it’s a combination of that and that there is less to write about. I mean, there are clearly high school things to write about like transcripts and getting into college and independence and organization.
But friends, there is only so much you can say about all that. And there aren’t any cute, Pinterest worthy projects to go with any of it.
The struggle really comes in when your last kids are in high school. When you have nothing left to write about but high school. I know many bloggers who have high schoolers, but they also have elementary kiddos. And while their older more independent kids are off on their own, working through their stuff, the moms are still focused on what their littles are doing.
And what’s more exciting to write (or read!) about: super cute project about certain thing, or five things to remember when you’re writing your transcript?
For those whose blog is their source of income, they are very aware of the traffic to certain topics. And yes, it’s important to have those blog topics for parents of older kids, but the readership of pieces for parents of older kids sometimes isn’t as large as one would assume.
Sometimes, even though bloggers know the posts are important and that the homeschool high school community is needed, we feel like we’re yelling into the void. It’s as if we know it’s needed (because we need it too) but when it is there, it’s not as active as the same things for parents of younger kids.
In other words, when looking at the stats, the “need” for it, and the need for it are sometimes two different things.
The reality of building a homeschooling high school community while having teenaged homeschoolers…
High school can be hard to talk about because the closer you get to launch, the closer your kids get to adulthood, the more individualized and different they become.
If you grabbed a bunch of adults and said let’s make a blog about stuff, that group of 20 adults would probably have so many different ideas and directions and beliefs that it would be impossible to just sell it as a blog for adults about stuff.
The same is true when kids get older. They’re figuring out life and who they are and where they want to take their future. And that box or label of “homeschooler” doesn’t really mean anything anymore. And because of that, it’s hard to find a box to stuff that blog into.
Yeah, my kids are high school aged homeschoolers. And once you have high school aged homeschoolers, you will realize that’s about as descriptive of a term as “animals on planet earth”—there are so many differences there, right?
Another truth about kids getting older is that what’s okay in one house isn’t okay in another, and that has become way more obvious as my sons have grown older—at least in my experience. Do your kids have a bedtime? A curfew? An alarm clock? Limits on internet? Do your kids curse? Are they allowed to date? How open are your discussions about sex, drugs, and rock and roll? These are all things that come into play as your kids get older.
And while I’m very much a you-do-you kind of person, the fact that my sons have been raised in a filterless household makes talking about our daily life as high school aged homeschoolers a little bit tricky sometimes.
Actually, a lot bit tricky most of the time.
I mean, I can tell you that my sons are make me belly laugh hilarious. But the majority of what we laugh about is never going to make it to social media because it’s almost always of questionable taste.
Because that’s just us.
Building a homeschooling high school community—how much do you share?
I think when we have older kids, there is a shift. As our kids get older, our lives together aren’t completely our own to share. The what and the how and the when of sharing needs to be different. And I don’t think there is anything wrong with that, other than the fact it’s a hard shift to make—especially if you’ve been known online for the last however long for sharing all the things about your family’s homeschooling journey.
Most of us would never build a blog that’s completely based around some facet of our husband’s, partner’s, or mother’s life. There’s a lot of stuff within those relationships that isn’t ours to tell. There’s a lot of stuff that if we do share it all, it’s going to affect our relationship with that person.
It’s similar when our kids get older, especially when they get on social media. My sons have no desire to see me write a blog post about how they struggle with XYZ and then pass it around for all of Twitter to see. I wouldn’t want them to write the same blog post about me.
So then, what actually is my purpose/responsibility to the homeschooling high school community?
The entire purpose of my blog since the day I started it has been to help and encourage people along their homeschooling journey.
It’s just that the older my kids get, I feel like I have less to share about that journey in order to encourage and help you. Not only because there’s less that I should share, but because so much of our life now is just doing life. It’s not projects. It’s not choosing curriculum. It’s not dealing with socialization questions or co-op or anything like that. It’s just life. And I’m not sure how exciting a play-by-play journal of life at Amy’s house really is.
So, to be completely honest I (and lots of other bloggers nearing the end of their homeschool journey) struggle to figure out what to write about or encourage you now as a mom who only has high school aged homeschoolers. We feel stuck.
But then in a recent conversation online in my Hmmmschooling Hangout Facebook group, a friend said: Coming from the mom with still younger kids, it’s definitely inspiring to see your two just doing life, so well, so mature (compared to lots), and gives me hope that maybe mine will be as awesome too.
And suddenly I had perspective.
Maybe the high school years aren’t as much about how to. Maybe the high school years are more about keep going to show people that they can, too. Maybe that’s the whole point of the homeschooling high school community.
Because sometimes a beginning homeschooler’s biggest questions (Does this really work? Can we really do it?) are only answered by watching those who are nearing the end.
So, I do think we need to keep sharing our lives. Maybe that means you get 47,234 pictures of my sons playing guitars or performing in concerts or pacing the yard or because that’s our life. We’re just people who happen to be nearing the end of a journey that’s been pretty darn awesome, and we’ll let you peek inside all the way to the end.
There probably won’t be many step by step instructions for projects—definitely nothing Pinterest-worthy—but you can be assured we will share with you that it’s possible to be normal Joe Blow, Plain Jane kinda people, homeschool all the way through and come out on the other end with both feet pointed in the right direction.