Aren’t you glad your little attempt at home educating is over now that your daughter will be starting secondary school in September ? What, why are you not placing your daughter in Secondary school ? So you’ve found tutors for all the Secondary school subjects ?
It turns out there were a number of assumptions that once our home educating kids reached Secondary school age we would stop with our “little adventure of educating them at home” and “come to our senses” and place them in secondary school. And then when the realization dawned that we had not put out daughter’s name down for secondary schools a new assumption arose – that we would now be taking a hands-off approach and instead start using tutors.
Since January of this year I have had numerous versions of this conversation. And my answer has always been the same – we are STILL going to be home educating our daughter in September (when she would in theory be starting secondary school), NO we are NOT using tutors, YES we are aware of the subject content, NO we are NOT forcing our daughter to stay at home she has NO desire to go to school, Yes we talk about this with her, she knows about the different options out there, she happens to think she is very lucky to be home educated.
I get that there is a “step-up” when it comes to school years and what is required of the students. But the truth is for us that step-up has been happening very naturally since the end of last year. My daughter has some very distinctive areas of interest – History and Animal Science and she has naturally started working on longer more complex projects within these areas and has been actually been using secondary resources for these subjects for a while already.
And in the past few weeks what would be classified as English Literature took a giant step up and I spent hours searching for materials for her, all of which was designed for Secondary level students. And then surprisingly in Maths – Geometry has emerged as something which she LOVES and again she has been asking for more and more Geometry material and I have had to once again started using Secondary resources.
I am NOT stressing about extending her hours of learning because the truth is our approach is working and as she grows older she is naturally extending the amount of time that she work on academic projects – although she hates being told that History and Biology are subjects because she thinks they are fascinating topics that she enjoys learning about and are NOT the boring subjects that her school friends moan on about.
So no, I am not worried about that academic “step-up” or that she is not doing enough.
Our approach to home education has evolved over the years and I am sure it will continue to evolve and develop as the kids get older. And that is fine we adapt and change as needed. For now our plan is continue on our semi-structured approach with a few more “workbooks”. (And Yes for those concerned I am already doing a lot of research into Secondary resources)
My husband and I are not qualified teachers but we are university graduates and believe that we are capable of guiding her learning and explaining concepts to her. We know we are going to be spending long hours reading up, refreshing our knowledge on certain areas and even learning some new content. We actually enjoy that side of it. And I personally think one of the most powerful phrases you can say is “I actually don’t know the answer to that question let’s go and find out together.” I have used that a LOT already because my kids want the detail – detail that is often not covered in the national curriculum but that does not stop us, I will search and find the answers for the kids.
We know the Secondary Years are going to have new challenges for us but my husband and I are both happy to dive in and learn when needed. Our priority has always been providing the best learning environment for our kids, one where they can thrive and that is not going to change just because she would be starting Secondary education in September.