The High School Home School Adventure


I haven’t had time to write in a while…my son is graduating from high school.  Home educating high school is a lot of work.  A LOT of work!!  But I’ve found that it’s well worth the effort.  One of the greatest advantages I’ve found is that apart from the core subjects, you can really create a curriculum based on your child’s gifts and talents. The curriculum I use is called Tapestry of Grace.  It is a literature based unit study program that stresses what is known as a classical education.  I highly recommend it.

My oldest is entering his junior year in college.  His major is business and finance.  His education was the most “normal”.  We (he and I, together) identified that his interests were in business and finding different ways to make, save and invest money.  Therefore we set out a very rigorous program in the basics.  Math, literature, writing and history especially.  We also concentrated on prep work for his ACT.  He graduated a year early, got a very decent 26 on his ACT (even though he had a terrible head cold), and won a full ride scholarship with the Evans Scholarship program.

One down, two to go…

My second son is an artist.  His high school experience was completely different.  I gave him very basic courses with as many creative evaluation assignments as possible.  For instance, when we were studying the 1920’s, and Charlie Chaplin, I had him write, film and produce a short movie.  As soon as I recognized him as an art student, I did my homework and found that most art schools did not emphasize standardized testing.  Therefore, we didn’t do the ACT prep work that my first student did.  Instead, we concentrated on building his portfolio so that he would not only be accepted to the school of his choice, but so that he could apply for as many art based scholarships as he could.  He will be attending the Illinois Institute of Art in October.

Two down, one to go…

My daughter is a junior in high school.  She sings like an angel, albeit a very soulful sometimes rather rocky angel, writes like a poet and is all about literature and Shakespeare.  She thrives on being in a production.  The way she and I have plugged through the high school years has been to do the minimal amount of math and science, be in as many plays and productions as possible, write a fifty page literary analysis and allow her to lead worship in two bands and sing backup in another.  In addition, she carries a very full  literature, writing and history load as well as philosophy and art history.  Whew!

My journey as a high school, home school mother has led me down three different paths, for three different individuals.  I am blessed that my children have come to the realization at an early age what it is that they long to do.  Because of this, we have been able to tailor make their high school experience to be as beneficial as possible in order to help them on their path to the future God has for them.

I’m really not sure why I’m writing this post, except that maybe someone reading has wondered about the benefits of home schooling a high schooler.  Or perhaps you are a home school mom who gets bogged down with details and loses sight of the “main thing”.  What is the main thing?  My husband and I decided long ago, that the main thing for our household, was to use the high school years to prepare our children in the best way possible so that they are able to tackle the challenges ahead.  Have we done that?  NO!!  We’ve definitely made some mistakes, but I wouldn’t say that they were academic mistakes.  Academically, our children have been prepared for the plans God has for them and God gets the glory for that, because it was his mercy and grace that He revealed to our children His plans, and that He showed us how to guide them to their destination.

Now the scary part…what do I do when I’m done?  Yikes!  I have a whole year to think and pray about it…

53 thoughts on “The High School Home School Adventure

  1. Amazing Kimmie! What a gift to have the grace, patience and opportunity to do what you have done. Funny I was thinking of writing a post about this year of schooling regarding my children as well. It would be VERY different than yours. I am so proud of you and them. It was good to “hear” your voice – I have missed your posts. LOVE YOU!

  2. This is so great! 🙂 This is precisely the reason I believe so very much in home schooling (individualized education according to personality and needs), although the thought never crossed my mind until my little bitty arrived into the world. Right now she’s being home schooled privately by a real certified teacher who home schools her own children, but there will be a time when I may have to jump on board. And I will, if/when that time comes. 🙂 Thank you so much for sharing! 🙂

    • Good for you for finding a way to get the education you feel your daughter needs! I home schooled as a single mom for a short time. Whew! I’m glad that’s over…His grace is sufficient.

  3. kim, this is so encouraging to me as home school mom myself. Its easy to lose sight of the prize when your in the midst of it all. Good job, what a great motivator!

  4. Outstanding post! You’re to be commended for tackling such a challenge and for your obvious success. While I didn’t home-school my son, I know in my heart that’s what would have been best for him. Kids really blossom when they’re encouraged in their God-given talents! Best wishes for their continued growth and development!

  5. I regret never having homeschooled my kids. Although, I am not so sure I would have been as creative and done as well as you have. This was a great read. I applaud you and your family.

    • Don’t regret the path you’ve taken! I am sure that God has a plan for you and your children in the path you have already chosen. It’s a good plan too, according to Jeremiah 29:11!

    • I am so excited! I’ve never received a virtual pat on the back before! Thanks for the encouragement. I hope that my example can be inspiring to someone considering home schooling during high school. With the help of God it isn’t as daunting as you might expect!

  6. Hello Journey girl….thanks for coming by my art blog. I must say, that I’m really impressed with your home schooling endeavors…you zeroed in on their strong points and they have flourished because of it. Two down and one more to go…congrats on a job well done. 🙂

    • I love your nickname for me! I love your drawings! They are great. Home educating has been a good fit for our family. I am thankful to God for all of the wonderful mentors who have helped us in this endeavor.

  7. Thanks for sharing your experience. It sounds like a very creative and individualized process for each child. I think it’s great that you are able and willing to do that. Many public schools don’t deal with individual children very well. Congrats to the graduate.

    • In the defense of public school systems, there’s no way they could give the individualized attention a home schooled student receives. That’s one of the reasons I’ve been such an advocate for home schooling during high school. However, it’s definitely not a fit for everyone. It takes a lot of time and commitment. Thanks for stopping by and subscribing! I’m honored.

  8. Thanks for sharing your homeschool journey. My daughter (mother of six) homeschools, the oldest being a high school junior this year. It’s nice to read how the post-high school story plays out in your children’s lives.

  9. Congratulations on the success of your children. You’re not just an advocate but put it all into action…no small feat. Your story is important to share with many others so they may explore what can be a viable alternative for the success and well being of their children. I taught for 33 yrs on the high school level and now I’m at the community college where several homeschoolers enroll in my class. They are successful. I see Patti has been here…I’ll sign off with a scripture that I shared with her as well…Philippians 4:6-8

    • Thanks for the congrats! I really don’t feel like I can take much credit, because most of my journey has appeared to be “accidental”. I know better, because I know that He has directed our steps. Homeschoolers tend to do well in higher education. Thank you for all your years of service to your community in teaching our young people!

  10. I love this! I’m concerned with a one-size-fits-all approach to almost everything. (It doesn’t work with hats, so why should it work with anything more complex?) It’s inspiring to read about someone recognizing three different people with three very different sets of skills . . . and then to foster those skills!

    • You are so right about hats. My daughter just received a hat for her birthday. The tag states “one size fits all”. It sits ridiculously on top of her head. Thanks for the encouragement! God does make us all to be unique. One of my favorite things about home educating is the fact that the mom has the time to cater to the student’s individuality.

  11. Holy smokes, look at all these comments! Guess what? Your work as a home-schooler may be close at hand, but your vocation is a life time endeavor. Your husband and your kids will always need you.

    • oncealittlegirl:

      re: the comments, I know! It’s exciting! re: my lifetime commitment to parenthood and wifedom, I’m blessed that they will always have a place in their heart that only I can fill. The part I’m wondering about is the six hours a day it takes to school…maybe I could actually get my book finished?

  12. First I must give you KUDOS (all caps) for home schooling your 3 children, let alone all the way (or soon to be) through HS!! WOWZA!!

    Your kids are so fortunate to have you too. The individualized learning you’ve provided is a dream for most parents (let alone children) and I applaud you for being so in touch with them & their very differing needs.

    As for afterward?? Keep praying and all will fall into place. 🙂

  13. Congratulation on your schooling!! We home schooled both of our children through high school, and it was very rewarding. I don’t know what God holds for your future, but I know from experience that it will not be boring.

    P.S.- Thanks for the comment on my photoblog.

  14. I think this is quite an amazing journey. I loved to see how all the kids were able to plug into what they are most interested in and then see the fruit of their efforts.

    Would love to know where God is moving you next? Maybe a beach vacation?

  15. Clicking over from Jen’s.

    Oh, the next step is always exciting!

    Thanks for linking-up and sharing a small part of your world. Lately, I’ve been interested in reading more from those who homeschool.

  16. You have done a fabulous job of home schooling! Very impressive! I have thought about this option for my son as I begin the school journey at the other end with kindergarten coming up soon. Thank you for this post. It is a beautiful example of how hard work and guidance can make for great success! 🙂

  17. I love the name of the program you use, “Tapestry of Grace.” I admire you for what you’ve been able to do for your children. I’m friends with a couple of homeschooling families. I know that once they got to the high school years, they were afraid that they couldn’t do it – nerves set in. They worked through the bugs, did a lot of learning together, and came out all the better for it. Your children are lucky to have had an education so personally tailored to each of them.

    • Tapestry of Grace saved my homeschooling life. I remember trying to teach my three children three different levels in everything. (and they are all within four school years of each other). Getting my history, literature, geography, philosophy, church history, art history and government all on the same level helped TREMENDOUSLY!! I love unit studies…

  18. You are remarkable. I am a high school art teacher (now retired, all of 2 yrs., tuaght for 30) and also a gifted consultant. YOu have done all the things I have encouraged my students’ parents to do all the things you have done when they know that THEY have the reins in this journey with their children. You have become so close to your kids. No matter if you feel you didn’t give them this or give them that academically, you gave them the most important thing they could ever have – YOU. And when your taxi days are over, trust me, you will have another “job” with them too. They will always want to touch base when they are away. They need that. And I have the feeling you will always be there. You are the parent(s) I wish my students had, whether it was public schooling or home schooling. You deserve recognition at their graduation too! YOu did curriculum (I’ve written it, I know) – you did the homework, you pointed them in the right direction. Wow. I can’t say enough…you are extraordinary.
    Congratulations! Now go be a Mom…you’re really good at it.

    • Thank you so much. I am so humbled by your kind words. I think I’ll print your comment and hang it on my office wall, so that any time I get discouraged I can read it!!! Thanks for coming by!! I look forward to looking at your blog regularly too!

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