This year is the first year that I’m not homeschooling all my students. I chose public high school for my teenage daughter. And it was her very first day of school, ever, in September.
I thought long and hard about this choice, and I started the process of research and consideration 2 years ago. So here’s why I sent my homeschooled daughter to public high school.
My daughter is mature enough to handle the ins and outs of public school. One of the reasons I kept her home was because she was very young and very small when kindergarten started. So now as a teenager, I feel that, with the training and foundation I’ve given her at home, she has the maturity and understanding to be able to navigate public high school.
And with maturity comes the need to flex your wings.
My teenager has never been one to stray far from home. She is a homebody, and likes her routines. High school is forcing her to exercise some independence, in an structured environment with some predictability. It’s stretching her, in a safe place.
In just two weeks, I’ve seen a lot of growth in her initiative and responsibility. And with this comes the need for opportunity.
3. Exposure to opportunities
We live in a very tech-friendly city, and it shows in our schools. The high school my daughter attends just recently upgraded their technology lab, in partnership with some local tech companies.
In addition to the opportunity to use things I can’t afford or borrow, she has exposure to clubs, groups and experts I can’t provide. She is very artistic, and her high school has a fantastic art teacher and studio. And they also have some very nice music training available.
With all the extracurriculars available, there’s plenty of other teens to meet.
4. Social network
In this area, few people homeschool high school. And that means that there are fewer and fewer kids in her age group that we could connect with. And there were few homeschool activities or lessons that we could participate in. So my daughter’s social life was suffering.
In her high school, she has not only been able to connect with friends from other activities, but make new ones. And that’s been fantastic for her self-esteem.
5. We needed space.
Puberty is hard on any parent-child relationship, especially a mother-daughter relationship. And ours was starting to suffer. Being both her teacher and her parent was causing the lines to blur. Relationship issues were interfering with her learning, and that wasn’t fair to either of us.
We both needed space. Now we’re on the same team again, and while she knows I’m always available to her if she needs help with anything, she also has access to a number of other adults who are willing to listen. And her attitude towards learning has picked up again — even with her least-favorite subject, math.
6. She’s not college bound, at this point.
Given her artistic tendencies, and her desires, my daughter and I had several discussions over the two years I was considering and researching this decision. And we both realized that college was probably not the route she wanted to take.
Because of that, it’s important for her future that she get an accredited high school diploma. While some areas have laws that make parent-issued homeschool diplomas the same as government-issued, that’s not the case where we live. So she needed to attend high school in order to gain a diploma.
7. Academically, she is ready.
Despite our struggles at home, my daughter handles academics easily. She is a very strong reader, and even if she doesn’t particularly enjoy it, her math skills are more than up to grade level.
She will be challenged and pushed appropriately at school, without being bored or frustrated. Academically, she was ready for this. And I was ready for her to go.
8. I needed to focus on my younger children.
Middle and high school requires a lot more marking and more rigorous standards. And that took a lot more of my time. With a toddler around, and 4 other children to educate. I needed the break.
Since my oldest is in school every day, I don’t have that prep or marking to do. And that lets me focus on my younger children’s needs. While we miss her every day, our days are smoother and run easier without her home.
9. Her needs were taking over at home
My daughter has ADHD, and with that, she has some specific sensory needs. The one-room-schoolhouse style of learning environment we have at home, where I will instruct each of my younger children one-on-one, was not helping my oldest.
She needs the focused time to work on her own stuff. And she was being driven crazy by the constantly changing and flexible schedule of our homeschool. That meant she was driving the rest of us crazy with her outbursts and complaints.
It’s hard to balance the needs of everyone at home. This way, everyone is getting what they need.
10. She appreciates home more.
They say you don’t know what you’ve got till it’s gone. And this has proven true for my oldest girl. She appreciates time with her sisters much more now that she isn’t seeing them all the time. It’s done wonders for their relationship.
They appreciate her more too, now that she’s not home all the time. She isn’t complaining about them as much or trying to control what they do to suit her needs, and she’s much more tolerant of their childish play. And they’re less annoyed with her, and much more affectionate.
Going to school did wonders for all their attitudes.
Public high school was the right choice for her.
I’m comfortable with this decision to put my daughter in public high school. She may come home for part of a year, or for a year, and she may stay the whole four years. I’m flexible, and always willing to change when it comes to what’s best for my kids.
And just because this was the right choice for this child doesn’t mean that any other of my children will be going to public high school. I’ll make those choices when the time comes for each of them.
For more about why I chose to homeschool: Why I Chose to Keep Mine Home
Why are you choosing to homeschool? Are you homeschooling high school?