Parents are at times concerned that homeschooling high school will limit the opportunities that their child might experience in high school. They might ask “how can two parents know every one of the wonderful opportunities that are available for intelligent teens. School Districts have people who research and advertise internships and volunteer prospects, right? ” School Districts often have people who center on this for high school students, but remember… they have to worry about ALL the students – you only have to worry about one! In our experience, opportunities for our children came naturally, as a result of usual contacts and the activities of everyday life. One experience when my youngest son was 14 demonstrates this well.
A professor friend from church invited us to a lecture on economics at a downtown public policy Think Tank. He said that Alex would enjoy the lecture given by one of the architects of Reaganomics. “I don’t know why I never thought of it before, but Alex would just love this place. I guess I just failed to think of it until I saw the lecture on economics. ” My husband took Alex to the event, and we didn’t know what to expect. When he came home, the first thing he said to me was, “They offered Alex a job! “
It seems that, Alex was enraptured during the lecture, and when it was time for questions he spoke right up. He asked something about how Reaganomics was derivead from the teachings of 19th century French economist Jean Baptiste Say, or something like that. The President of the think tank was so impressed by Alex’s question and how he engaged with this government leader that he invited him to work there as a college-level intern. Stunned, my husband informed him, “He’s only fourteen! ” The President responded, “We don’t discriminate based on age. “
I wondered what this organization was all about. Alex informed me that a lobbyist tries to influence public policy by convincing politicians. A think tank tries to influence public policy by convincing the public. They publish books and write articles for magazines and newspapers to influence public opinion. I asked my husband what type of crowd is attracted to a lecture at a “think tank” and he replied that he and his son were the two youngest people in the audience. My husband is a professional engineer and manager at a major aerospace firm, but he told me he felt like the “slowest person in the room! “
For the last month of summer, we worked to prepare Alex for his new job. I was entirely unprepared for putting my 14 year old into the work force. We had to buy him a cell phone, and professional attire. He started working in September, his first week of 9th grade. At first they had him doing office work: filing, mailing, checking the website, and answering the phone. He proved to be a good worker and very interested in what the “grown-ups” were doing. Soon they gave him writing assignments. After working there for just 6 months, he had his opinion piece on Social Security reform published in our city’s leading newspaper.
Alex worked for one day a week in a downtown office building. He wore a suit, carried a brief case, and was treated like a peer by the other employees. It would have been impossible for him to have had that experience if we were not homeschooling. Public schools simply don’t let students “skip school” every Wednesday, you know? Instead of sitting behind a desk, he was doing real work. And homeschooling gave us the freedom to do it!
My message is there are opportunities when you homeschool high school. And you won’t necessarily have to work hard to discover them either. They will present themselves to you as you undergo the usual activities of living. Homeschooling is the natural method to educate your child. Closeting them up in a classroom for 8-10 hours a day, 5 days a week is not. You don’t need to be afraid of “cheating” your child if you homeschool high school. It might be the best gift you ever give them!