Don't let it be said that my teen doesn't plan ahead. As we begin her eighth-grade year, our ninth year, officially homeschooling, she is looking toward high school and feeling a bit left behind by so many of her friends. Many of their families are opting to go the public/private school route for a variety of reasons: teen hormones, teen struggles, easing the burden on parental leadership in planning, changes in family situations, extracurricular options, and pure peer pressure. Others have simply moved away from the area. She feels compelled to follow the trend. Since we're not moving out of state, that means she's looking at alternative schooling options; chiefly: public high school.
Because we are inclusive, secular homeschoolers who embrace an eclectic, independent program, we aren't always accepted in the relatively rural Central Coast area's large, exclusive groups that frown on secular homeschooling and all that we stand for. I considered, at one time, pretending to be just like them simply for the sake of broadening our circle of homeschooling friends, but I've never been one to believe faking it makes for true friends. So we've remained true to ourselves, made friends along the way, traveled, stayed home, planned field trips and attended many others. There have been sleepovers and campouts and museum trips out of town, but those social schooling days seem to be drawing to an end far too quickly as the other kids move on or out.
Homeschoolers do have other outlets for making friends: arts organizations (E dances); service organizations and clubs like Scouts or 4H; church; co-ops; sports organizations (both girls played soccer a few years ago); other common interest organizations (V is librarian of an area club dedicated to reptiles). But even with that, homeschoolers have so many free hours it's hard not to notice when all their "regular school" friends are back to the grind; they're only available Saturdays and/or Sundays, so they have to squeeze in ALL the fun and family and homework and chores in those few hours.
I've been reading about this issue for years, but it's just come to E's attention. So, we're reading more together. I thought I'd share with you some of the blog posts we've recently discovered and, at least for my part, enjoyed in some way or another. I hope you, too, find them helpful.
What resources have you found helpful? How do you keep your teen interested in the freedom of homeschooling?
Fitting in as a high school homeschooler:
How one girl schooled:
When people ask about homeschooling (a humorous take):
When homeschoolers head to college:
20 tips to better Google searches (I think you already know many of these, but there might be some new info in there for you):
On essay writing:
And more on essay writing:
Online study tools (and when and why you might use them):
Test prep strategies: