Nick, my oldest, is now in 8th grade. 8th grade...I can't believe I am that old. We've been homeschooling since he was 4 years old. I remember all the feelings that came with starting to homeschool. Oh, there was fear alright ...mostly fear of what people would think of me, fear of being unable to do it, fear of getting in trouble with the law and complying to the laws in TN, fear that we might enjoy it and actually want to continue. But there was joy too, joy as I obeyed the Lord in my calling, joy as we succeeded, joy as we kept going and the Lord blessed our home, finances, husband's job; joy as we learned together. For 8 years now we've felt settled in our choice and for the most part, stayed joyful.
Then suddenly this monster called "high school" climbed out from under the bed with its clawed hands, ready to snatch away any dangling limbs we presented to it. It brings with it those same emotions I felt 8 years ago, but now they are stronger, more real...my son will be doing high school somewhere. Will it be home? Will it be public or private? I am torn at heart waiting for an answer from the Lord.
Questions run through my mind: can I handle his needs at home? Will he ever regret homeschooling? How can I possibly take my little ones on field trips/to parties with a high schooler who has to work 6 hours a day to get credits done? What about those difficult classes? If we keep him home to "try" 9th grade, then the public school might not let him in easily if we change our minds? Would his at-home credits transfer or would he then be behind? Once we start, it feels as though its a 4-year roller coaster ride that you cannot get off of.
Websites encourage me that this is actually the easy time to teach...I find it hard to believe. Credit hours must be logged. Social needs must be met. Curriculum is suddenly much more expensive than before. They say the high schooler is more of an independent learner and you are there to simply guide and correct. My umbrella school tells me this is the most important time to build Godly new adults. Home School Legal Defense lets me know that most colleges accept homeschoolers and actually look forward to having them. People do this everyday; those who do it with their hearts led by the Lord seem to be pumping out decent adult Americans. Maybe this is do-able...I know if it is the Lord's will, He will provide all we need. He's done it for 8 years.
Private school might be an option; as a Christian I want my son to continue building a Godly foundation in his life. But tuition is so expensive, about $3000 a year. I'd have to return to work for the sole purpose of paying for it. Yet, it offers all the fun of a high school setting without all of the ungodliness of the secular world....what to do?
I pray and pray some more and then decide to rest on it...wait for confirmation of the Lord's will.
Nick and I talk about it...too much...I am driving him crazy asking his opinion. I ask him does he like homeschooling...yes. Would he be content to continue on?...yes, is the answer, "as long as I can hang out with my friends a lot". Ok...I ask about private school. He says maybe, if we try high school at home and don't like it. I explain to him that we need to follow the Lord's leading and that we need to always be open to what He is showing us. Even if he someday shows us public schooling.
We agree that if nothing changes, we'll plan to try high school at home, using Blessed is the Man curriculum, plus a video Algebra 1 course, for 9th grade. We'll be sensitive to the Spirit and His perfect will in our lives. If things go well, we'll either continue on in this curriculum or perhaps use one of the high school correspondence programs such as Keystone or Citizens high school. Just to be sure we've covered all the bases. Homeschooling high school will be fine as long as 1) the Lod leads us 2) I get the hard courses on DVD 3) and we continue on in our extracurricular pursuits so Nick will always feel he has a life outside of home. Nick will probably stay in scouting , 4-H, and youth group, and maybe even go on to form a praise band. Then there are Jaycees sports that he can participate in each year, or perhaps continue on in his newly-found enjoyment of karate. It will be alright. *sigh* calm down..breathe. It will be alright is my new mantra.
As for me, I take refuge in the fact that God has blessed me with the knowledge and materials needed to start an in-home preschool. So if something ever feels wrong, and the Lord leads us to private schooling for high school, I have everything I need to start up my in-home preschool business and make the money I'll need to pay for tuition. Adrian and Ashleigh could continue on at home while I keep little ones, doing most of their work online or by using Lifepacs or Switched on Schoolhouse. Then, before we know it, they'll be approaching high school and once again, it'll be just like starting over. Say it again...it will be alright.