Homeschooling has had it’s difficulties and struggles all along, but recently we’ve been tackling a new challenge: transitioning from high school to college.
Yes, one of the most difficult things we have done so far is actually not homeschooling at all. And it has actually been very eye opening and clarifying for our way of homeschooling. Let me explain.
First off, let me emphasize that my daughter isn’t struggling IN college. She has adjusted very well, she’s doing great in her classes, and she is making great grades. No, our “struggle” is a deep internal dissatisfaction with the way that college is done. And unfortunately, it just is how it is.
Our college journey actually began as dual-credit courses and we had pretty good experiences with that. Of course, as a dual-credit student, you can take whatever you want. We started with Spanish, then English and art. But after high school graduation, you have to follow the system. Pursuing an art degree, my daughter would rather skip all the math and science classes and spend time learning ART. (Don’t we all wish it worked that way?)
But as you know, college doesn’t work that way; if she wants a degree, she has to take all those “necessary” core classes. We weren’t surprised by that; we knew how it goes. But I *was* surprised by how frustrating and dissatisfying it is. About two-thirds into the semester, I finally figured out the main reason WHY.
This Isn’t Whataburger
We’ve been homeschooling “the Whataburger Way” for fifteen years. . . and not only are we NOT in Whataburger anymore, I’m not even sure we are in Texas. (Metaphorically speaking.)
You see, one of the greatest benefits of homeschooling is the ability to create a made-to-order homeschool plan, just like YOU like it. (If you’re not from around here, “just like you like it” was the slogan for the popular Whataburger hamburger chain for many years.) Customizing your homeschool experience for your family’s needs is one of the biggest blessings of homeschooling–and it’s definitely something you SHOULD do.
Homeschooling has allowed us to take longer Christmas and summer breaks, while schooling farther into the hot summer months when Texas is miserable and we would rather stay in doors anyway.
Homeschooling has allowed us to experience field trips together as a family, with grandparents, or with some of our best friends.
While homeschooling, we have been able to enjoy learning some subjects together as a group instead of individual grade-level classes– something we like to do for Bible, science, history, art, and music.
In homeschooling we have been able to slow down, speed up, or repeat whenever necessary. We’ve been able to take sick days as needed. We’ve been able to put things on hold for emergencies.
While homeschooling high school we have fully taken advantage of our ability to tailor the high school education toward a child’s strengths and career interests.
And these are ALL great things!!
But we aren’t Whataburger-homeschooling anymore. Now, other people set the scope and sequence for her education, and they make the rules. And this, too, is an important life skill to be learned. But it’s hard to watch your kid do the hard things, you know?
While homeschooling, there were rules, boundaries, and “you-have-tos.” But there was also a great amount of freedom. In college, there are MANY rules, boundaries, and “you-have-tos.” You have to take exactly “these” classes if you want to obtain your degree, for example. It’s all laid out for you. It’s hard for a free range child to be caged up for a while, if you know what I mean.
But as you know, this is something we will often run into throughout our adult lives. (Doing things you don’t want to do, that is.) We have to pay bills and taxes, for example. But we learn to do what must be done.
And I have to say that I am so proud of my child! Because she may not like it, but she’s excelling at it. She’s doing oh so wonderfully well.
The good news is that the spring semester is over! She has 32 hours under her belt, all A’s and one B, a 3.91 GPA, about a year of core classes left, and three months before she has to take any more of them. 😉
Homeschool YOUR Way
College is NOT like Whataburger. But we do have to remember that not all of the lessons learned at college will come out of a book.
And this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t enjoy the freedoms of homeschooling to the full extent, or that you shouldn’t allow your child to study more art classes and the minimum amount of science, or more science and do the minimum amount of writing assignments.
Let your kids embrace those passions now. Light the fire under their interests and let them burn bright. Then, try to find ways to help your kids pursue those interests and passions through a vocation, and encourage them to do what has to be done (be it science or math or writing,) to earn the reward of doing something they love for a living. There will always be things we wish we didn’t have to do. There is only one childhood education. So prepare your kids for college, yes,.. but also.. feel free homeschool your own way.
[…] From the beginning, I’ve considered the needs and interests of our kids–challenging their strengths, reinforcing their weaknesses, and teaching to their learning styles. When the kids were younger, we would also make sure we learned about things that interested them, because we could. Having full control of the literature we read, the history and science we dig into, and the hobbies we explore, we can steer this homeschool ship in any direction we please. […]