Samurai guy is now coming to the end of seventh grade, and next year looms as his last year of “middle” school. When we started this homeschool journey, I really felt that we would send him to public high school when the time came, but as time has passed my thoughts on this have changed.
Looking back at the experiences of my three older children in high school, I realize that all three were miserable. The only thing they liked at all was the time they spend with their friends. As far as how much they learned, well that was an extreme disappointment.
Our family and friends all seem to have the same feelings on the subject. They all seem to think that the correct thing to do is to send him back to public school and that it would be a terrible shame to deny him the “high school experience.” What they don’t seem to understand is that high school is really not like it was when we went. They seem to be more worried that my son will miss the chance to go to football games and prom, then to have a better opportunity to learn! Class sizes at our local school have gotten completely out of hand, the county is losing the best teachers because they don’t want to pay well, and most classes are focused on the “test” at the end of the year. On the other hand, we can offer him individualized courses, a chance to study the things that really interest him, and the opportunity to clep credits as well as to take courses at the local community college.
Samurai guy has never been much into sports, so I am not worried that he will feel bad about missing the chance to play football. (because he wouldn’t have anyway). We can always go and watch the games if he wants. Not to mention that with the growing number of homeschoolers in our area there are more and more clubs and activities for him to participate in. There is even a homeschool prom and graduation ceremony.
I think it is hard for those who have not worked in a public high school to understand how much it has changed. We have such good memories or our time in school, and those emotions influence our ideas. But times have changed, and we need to change too.
My hope is that he can participate in plenty of clubs and activities while still maintaining the high academic standards we have set. It is entirely possible to take AP classes on line now through various sources, not to mention the many incredible MOOCs. So he won’t get to have a locker, big deal. He can still participate in sports, hang out with friends, and go to dances. The even bigger bonus is that he can have almost two years of college credits finished by the time he finishes high school, at a greatly reduced price. It’s hard to argue with that logic.