This summer I have been mulling over our plans for the future, realizing that I am going to have to alter my original intentions when I began this homeschooling journey.
See, from the time I first decided I wanted to homeschool my oldest child, I always said that I did not want to homeschool him all the way through high school.
I wanted him to have an accredited diploma, and I also wanted him to be able to make use of the many free resources public high school offers: foreign language, science labs, sports and physical activities, interesting electives, and so on.
But then, somewhere along the line I kind of forgot how quickly he had been going and what that would mean for enrolling him in high school.
I don’t know why it never hit me before, as we have been on this “accelerated education” path for quite some time now. I suppose I just never put the two and two together and connected the dots.
What dots? Well, Hunter is currently somewhere around three grade levels ahead (he started 5th grade halfway through the year he “normally” would have been in 2nd grade). And because of this, I only recently realized that by the time Hunter will be old enough to traditionally start middle school, he will have already completed the entire middle school curriculum.
Which also means that by the time he is old enough to start high school, he will be pretty much done with the entire high school curriculum, as well.
There are several ways I could move forward at this point:
1. Early enrollment. I could attempt to work with the schools to enroll him when he is academically ready for the work, but I am probably not going to take this path.
For one, I have my doubts on whether or not the schools would be accommodating. And two? He would be ready for middle school sometime this fall and the kid still plays with nerf guns and wears Ninjago underwear. He’s eight. Interacting with older kids within society? Great. The not-very-supervised, full-of-kids-who-are-bored-out-of-their-mind jungle that is junior high? Not so much, at least not for an eight-year-old.
2. Keep on keepin’ on. At the moment I have decided that we will, for now, plan to continue homeschooling for the next few years as we work towards early “graduation” (completion of K-12 curriculum).
The curriculum provider we use (Time4Learning) actually just expanded their offerings (as in, this happened within the last week!) and now have a high school curriculum available, including four years of English, Math, Science, and Social Studies. Hooray!
This was such a relief to hear of this news, as I have spent quite a bit of time plotting out where on earth to buy textbooks, online courses, or in-person classes to cover high school level material, and it was looking so overwhelming (and expensive). Such a huge load has been taken off my back and this now seems doable.
3. High school after high school. In all of this pondering I had this funny thought that even if by the time he is old enough to go to high school he has already completed the entire basic curriculum, that doesn’t mean he can’t still attend.
Many states and school districts allow homeschoolers to enroll in public school classes part time, taking only a few classes (such as art and choir) without taking the traditional full course load.
He could certainly, as a fourteen-year-old, simply take some free classes such as foreign languages, computer classes, physical education, woodworking, photography, all of those classes that the rest of the world would have to pay big bucks for if they wanted to, he can access for free, simply because of his age.
This is something that could also be possible to do for part of the day while he goes to community or online college for the remainder of the day, pursues his interests, or more.
Of course, I’m not exactly sure where we will be living at that point, or what kind of school district we will be working with, or even if that is something that he will want to do.
But I guess the nice thing about homeschooling, and specifically accelerated homeschooling (finishing early), is that it opens the door to all kinds of possibilities and choices, so he will actually have the freedom to choose how he wants to spend his adolescent years, from an array of nearly endless options.
Hunter is currently 8 years, 4 months old