Yesterday I had the pleasure of speaking to and with a group of homeschoolers (children and parents) about writing and being a writer. Afterward, in an impromptu adult circle time, we talked about homeschooling for the high school years.

This particular homeschooling group is the one we participated in for many years, so being there felt like coming home. As I listened to the concerns and questions of some of the parents whose children are nearing the teen years, I also remembered many of the same feelings of uncertainty from that time.

866860_unknown_pathHow does one homeschool for high school? That was the main question. The hard part about the question is that there isn’t an answer. We homeschooled for high school by doing what we’d always done: following our son’s lead, allowing for plenty of unstructured time (more than you might imagine), being willing to stitch together a crazy quilt of outside activities, including some online and classroom classes, but always with our son’s input or instigation. No year or month or week was exactly like any other.

It’s an approach that was often messy. On paper or screen, it sounds much more “together” and planned than it actually was. It required at its core a trust in the process of learning. It worked for us in part because I am personally one of those Myers-Briggs “P” types, comfortable with more uncertainty than most, and in part because, whatever our worries about our son’s academic future, we saw every day how well homeschooling fit his learning needs and his personality. Different parents, different children, different educational goals, different priorities—all would require a different approach, a unique approach. The hard part, I found, was not in the actually homeschooling, but in making decisions based on one’s own child and family and having the trust and courage to tune out the critics, both real and imagined.

The answer to “How does one homeschool for high school” is neither multiple choice nor essay. It is choose your own adventure.

Anyone already homeschooling or thinking of homeschooling will want to be sure to read Rebecca McMillan’s “Unschooling and the Benefits of Unstructured Time – Part I” as well as the other posts from the Unschooling Blog Hop (sponsored by Gifted Homeschoolers Forum).