Monday, March 29, 2010

Home Education for High School

I started this post over a week ago, but decided to sit on it to see if some perspective would come. It hasn't! LOL So here you get it, uncut and unedited:

Yesterday I attended an all-day seminar devoted to homeschooling for high school. Austin will be 14 this spring, and though he could technically be a 9th grader next year, we will consider him an 8th grader. Despite that, I felt this was the perfect time to attend this seminar in order to prepare myself for the requirements of homeschooling a high school student. The person who gave the seminar is not only an experienced home educator - she graduated all 3 of her children- she also has a Master's Degree in Learning Disabilities, so she can help give advice on high school for special needs.

It was a good seminar, and informative, though most of it was geared toward requirements for college (4 year university) entrance. I can understand that, considering that is the goal of most folks I know around here. It was a little discouraging for me, however. She started off the seminar asking the ages/grades of the children we have, and our goals (college/university, military, tech school, life). I was the only one who raised her hand for something other than college/university. It's not that I don't have those aspirations for Austin, it is just unlikely that he will go directly from home education to university. Our state universities are very competitive because of the Hope Scholarship offered from the state of GA which basically covers tuition for any child who has a B average and goes to a state school.

I asked her questions specifically about working with a child who is not at grade level. She said that if we are aspiring for college entrance, he will need to be working at high school level, even if that takes a few extra years to achieve. That poses a problem due to Riley being just 2 grade levels behind him. I can't see Austin agreeing to postpone his graduation until the same year Riley graduates, or even later. Perhaps that will change.

She said that we have lots of flexibility to design courses for him, assuming we're not shooting for college entrance. But what we design has to be backed up with testing scores... ITBS, SAT, or ACT. In other words, he can't come out of high school with a 4.0, and score really poorly on the SAT.

It's completely overwhelming to consider. I feel helpless and like an utter failure. What middle-class parent doesn't prepare their child to go on to some form of post-secondary education? Maybe it would have been better if he hadn't been homeschooled?

Added today, Monday 3/29: Yesterday at church, Pastor Bob said, during Palm Sunday services, "Don't forget that God cares... he has a plan for you! None of this makes him wring his hands and wonder. You just have to trust Him." The tears immediately started flowing. I do know this. Really, I do. I do trust Him. It's just so scary and overwhelming.


The Glasers said...

I know this is a scary journey and very painful. But, I will share with you some true stories to help you feel less alone.

My best friend has three children, some with attention issues, and one joined the military. College stress made the other sick, and this teen ended up taking a break, resumed with a technical school, and may go back to a four-year next year. If you can believe this, I have several nieces and nephews who were groomed for college. In my husband's family, all of his siblings got at least a bachelor's degree and, of five still living, three have a master's degree. Of the nieces and nephews, two nieces with attention issues dropped out of college and are married with a child. One nephew with mild LD dropped out, then spent many years working with his dad and doing computer techie work, and is now on track to finish college! Another nephew has done many things, and college is not one of them. All of these young adults came from middle class backgrounds and attended the best schools. They were expected to get a college degree, but it just did not work out that way!

Anonymous said...

Have you looked into your local community college? Perhaps Austin could go there for a few years after 12th grade. That way he could be at home where you can provide support but he would be in college while his sister is still homeschooling. The community colleges around here have all sorts of remedial classes, if that is what he would need, as well as some great vocational training stuff. And, of course, they also have all of the regular academic courses as well.