All You Need To Know About Homeschooling Older Children


Homeschooling appears to be more difficult for us as teachers as our children get older. The knowledge we need increases, the classes become more varied and difficult, and we ask ourselves, “How can I teach my child Calculus and Physics? Heck, I didn’t even take them in High School–now I have to teach them?” It’s scarier–we doubt our abilities, we worry that we might be hurting our child’s chances of getting into college, etc. Then of course, there is the issue of an older child wanting to attend public school.

If you are considering sending your child to public school after homeschooling him for years, you need to honestly and realistically assess your reasons. Is it because you feel inadequate,

not up to teaching Spanish 3?  Are you just plain tired/burned out? Do you truly believe the school can do a better job of teaching your child than you can? And what will they teach your child in regards to politics, values, etc.?

Let’s start with the whole issue of inadequacy.  How has your child done in homeschool?  What type of progress has he made?  How are his test scores?  More importantly, what type of human being is he? Is he respectful?  Does he have strong morals? Has he been able to keep to his morals, even when his friends haven’t? Answer these questions honestly, give yourself a huge amount of credit if you like the answers, and stop doubting yourself! I can’t speak Spanish–certainly not Spanish 3–and colleges in my state want three years of foreign language. So rather than doubt myself, I have to be innovative and show my child how to be innovative.

There are ways around Spanish 3. Community college courses are wonderful and tend to be inexpensive. Foreign language tapes can be checked out from the library. Long distance learning courses and Internet courses are available. And I can utilize the Spanish speaking community where I live–barter Spanish lessons in return for a skill I might have.

Are you burned out? You’ve been doing this for years, and you want a little time off? Well, you can have it. Older kids don’t need you looking over their shoulders 100% of the time. In fact, you’ll make them uncomfortable and they’ll resent you for it. Allow them some autonomy in their learning experience. Teenagers need to learn how to work on their own. Vary your teaching methods to allow this. Then take some of that extra time for yourself. Still overwhelmed? Remove yourself from some of the outside activities to which you’re committed. Let someone else take over. Ask your spouse for assistance. If you’re tired of being a taxi service and just can’t do it any longer, carpool, or pay the lady down the street to be your driver two days a week. Be innovative. Your child will learn from this.

And don’t worry that you’re limiting your child’s future by homeschooling him. It’s just not true. A multitude of colleges, and also the military, accept homeschoolers. You just have to have good records of your child’s work and accomplishments, as well as a transcript that you make up yourself. Information regarding this type of record keeping can be found on our website, and also at other sites on the Internet.

Is your older child requesting to leave homeschool? If so, why? Inquire as to the reasons. Is your child wanting more social experiences, or different classes? Are the social experiences your child wants, ones that you support and approve of? They may not be. How can you meet his needs, without necessarily sending him to public school? Can he increase his social interactions through work, community theater, junior college classes, church dances, community sports teams, 4-H, volunteer work, etc.? Or maybe your child is bored with your class offerings. If you haven’t already, allow your teenager to have a say in his curriculum. Use your child’s current interests and future goals as input. Review every 3-6 months to allow timely changes in the curriculum.  

You don’t have to give up/give in. You have done a great job thus far. You can continue. I know you can!