I approach it this way, homeschooling through high school has to be broken down
Am I qualified to teach high school?
My immediate response is well, I mastered it so yes. I am educated and I found NO material too difficult for me to handle through high school. But it's more complex than that for many and I understand. Typically as a junior, students can begin to take courses at SWIC for example. MANY hs'ers do. They take Geometry, English, Writing, Algebra. This is dual enrollment. I think this is brilliant and is in my top 5 reasons to Homeschool Through High School. If you
have a serious student and your concerns are offering a challenging program this is the answer. This will prepare them well. As for the lower classes 9th and 10th grade, they really are not that challenging.
This comes down to one question. Do you have a protege,an athlete or a kid who enjoys sports? If you have a protege on your hands - well you have to really think about keeping them at home and what that means for their potential. Let's face it though as much as dad's wish they were raising the next Tiger Woods, or Tim Tebow they probably aren't. More likely you have one of the other two. An athlete is one who has always been focused on fitness, active, and capable of playing many sports well. A kid who just enjoys sports probably has a favorite one or two and may be very passionate about them.
In either of these three possibilities, the homeschool community will not likely offer a serious program. So, like every other aspect of homeschooling it us up to the parents to locate the resources and make the commitment to give the child what they need. If a child is gifted at a particular sport the possibility of playing in the school system exists but it is leg work, and red tape. Not worth it to me. Intramural sports are available when they enroll in junior college and
frankly the level of play is greater. Walk on tryouts are available and a talented athlete will find a place.
Most kids enjoy local sports clubs, community leagues, YMCA, and when they are in high school if they are good enough they can often play in adult leagues as early as 14. Their skills will increase exponentially in this arena if you can handle them playing with the big dogs.
I think sometimes parents want their child to have the same experience of athletics and competition they had in high school. Team spirit, homecoming, yearbooks, parents tailgating, the t-shirt that has your kids number on it, parent booster club and all. Nothing wrong with that. Homeschooling through high school will not afford you those experiences. If participating in sports in high school is a deal breaker then it just is and no one can make that call but
every family for themselves.
For me, I want to give them a different experience. Popularity was not a goal. Success in a small pond will not be the highlight of their life. No "Glory Days". Character development, faith preparation, life preparation, learning about who they are and what God calls them to be, is the point of these very formative, pre-launch years. And I have to tell you the absolute nonsense, the serious pitfalls to their development, their morality, their path are too frequent and too deep to make it worth it for us. Having said that of course plenty of kids navigate public school and enjoy it. It is simply not something that is on the table in our family - none of the kids ever wanted it.
Tough one and this is tough love. Kids who get up to catch a bus don't do it anymore happily than our kids being dragged out of bed. My husband has to force himself to get out of bed on time, as do I. Why do we get up? Because we have to. If the kids aren't getting up it's because they don't really have to, do they?
I think a mom on a warpath at 8 am, ought to be much more intimidating than a large yellow bus driving by our house. They need to get up because they HAVE TO, and if they don't obey the rules in the house, they need to feel some consequences that will motivate them.
It's all on mom to run the day, or the day will run over you and so will the kids. Homeschooling moms need to be lionesses not noodles. Loving but fierce, and not to be trifled with :)
There are tons of ideas for getting them up - better & earlier bedtimes, privilege ladders, closing the kitchen, losing privileges, extra chores, getting up earlier and earlier. The method isn't the issue it's the consistency, and mom's discipline - it always is. I know, because I struggle with this like everyone else.
Lastly Social Networking and Community Action?
This is the easiest. There is so much for youth to do and I have yet to have an
organization not be thrilled to have my homeschooler as a volunteer. The key here is finding what the young person is passionate about and then seeking out opportunities for them to work in that area. Not to harp on this theme but again, mom ends up doing the legwork and finding the opportunities.
High school can give the kids all the opportunities we discussed - challenging classes, sports, and social outlets in some form or another, no doubt. It's like a microwave dinner. All the components are there to make a meal and if it's all you have time for or what is going to get the job done, it will suffice. If however you want to seek out the best and brightest choices for your
child as an individual, if you want to create an education that is specific to your child's needs, if you want it without artificial this and that, fillers, and generally stuff that's not good for you...then strap on the apron mom and get cookin'. Home cooked meals are the best right? Home cooked, not half baked, homeschooling through high school is best too.