The public schools in our area will be starting back to school this coming week. We’ve already started with our 2012-2013 year because (wait, I need to sit down and take a deep breath)…. my oldest is a senior! A senior! Wait wasn’t she just starting Kindergarten last month and wasn’t she just starting high school yesterday? I blinked. She grew up.
But BooBear isn’t my only high school student. Turtlegirl is now a well established high school student having started her 10th grade year. (We consider 9th-12th grade to be high school here at Aletheia Academy.)
I better not blink again or Tailorbear will be graduating from high school. She’s not technically high school level yet but as an 8th grader she’s being transitioned. I like to think of 8th grade as a bridge. We’ve not tracked grades or done report cards up to this point and I’ve been more lenient with due dates. That changes this year. She’ll get tougher deadlines and real grades. Hopefully, I’ll get it right this time.
Guinea Pig BooBear’s transition seemed to continue from 8th grade to 9th grade since the teacher I had trouble wrapping my brain around high school.
Life is full of seasons and having high school students is just another season. Yes I sometimes miss the younger years but I can’t say it was easier or harder. I can say that it is BOTH. It is both easier to have high school students and harder at the same time. Overall though, it’s not nearly as frightening as I thought it would be. It’s really fascinating watching my daughters grow and mature and take more and more responsibility with their own education.
When they were younger, I made all the educational decisions. Yes, I took their desires as well as their needs into consideration but I didn’t ask for their input. I didn’t say “what would you like to study?” I’d say it was far more parent directed than delight led though we did focused studies based on things I knew they were interested like adding in more stuff about Vikings or exploring the African continent.
When the girls were elementary ages I was the teacher. Oh yes I utilized “assistants” such as Mr. Demme and his Math-U-See dvd’s or Sonlight with the super thick instructor guides. I started to panic at the thought of high school level courses. I never took Geometry in high school, how on earth could I teach it!! And chemistry? Or Biology? And writing essays? Let’s face it, I wasn’t all that great at teaching writing skills at the elementary level. What on earth was I thinking that I could “go all the way” and home school all the way through high school.
Well, high school is different. I am not a teacher at this level. I am a coach, a mentor, a guide. Together student and parent decide on which courses to undertake. My senior is very independent with her work. Yes I get to read her papers and hear all kinds of facts about the brain, but I am not teaching psychology or algebra 2 or chemistry. I’m not even teaching writing! Thanks to programs like Zane Education, Institute for Excellence in Writing and D.I.V.E Cd’s, someone else does the academic teaching while I guide, direct, coach, and mentor. I feel I am much more able to be a parent to my high school students.
It’s very difficult to be both parent and teacher. When the girls were younger, I found it difficult to know when I needed to wear the parent hat to deal with a character issue or the teacher hat because it was a developmental and educational issue.
I am really enjoying this season and it’s not nearly as frightening or scary as I thought it would be. It’s kind of fun actually. We have some great meal time discussions and our relationship is transitioning from parent/child to friend. Oh yes I am still the parent (and always will be) but my daughter is on the cusp of adulthood and that means I get a friend and a daughter.
My two high school “babies”
This post is part of the Schoolhouse Blog Cruise. The topic “Home schooling High School” will be available Tuesday. In the meantime you can visit the Blog Cruise to enjoy past topics such as Home schooling on a Budget.