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I was talking to a friend the other day about homeschooling and mentioned that I think homeschooling high school is the easiest yet. I prefer it over preschool in many ways. Really?! Why? Because I have a high schooler who works almost entirely on his own with very little instruction or interference from me. How do you help your high school homeschooler develop independence? Well, let me tell you about it.
This post is sponsored by Sonlight. I received a free curriculum package this year in exchange for an honest review.
How to Help your High School Homeschooler Develop Independence
- Start Long Before High School. I have been fostering independence in my homeschoolers for as long as I have been homeschooling them. I think independence is a very important skill. I remember as a kid seeing friends who could not do any of their school work without their parents help (and often their parents doing half of it for them). These kids never learned how to do hard things for themselves. It made life a lot harder for them. I vowed that I would never “baby” my kids in that way, but would teach them from a young age how to do hard things. But, I was always there by their side to guide and teach as needed.
- Choose Curriculum That Is Not Too Mom/Teacher Focused. Of course young children need a LOT of one-on-one instruction. A preschooler or early elementary student will not be able to do much on their own without you there teaching and leading them. But, gradually as they become more skilled and are reading more, you can give them a little more independence in their schooling. Choose lessons that allow them to read instructions and work on their own. This year my high schooler is using Sonlight. It has been such a perfect fit for him and he does it entirely on his own. The Sonlight curriculum really helps prepare kids for advanced learning and studying. Of course, I am always checking his work, encouraging him or there to help when he does not understand something, but he really is all on his own this year. We both love it.
- Lead and Guide, But Do Not Hover. Kids all learn differently, and some kids are going to need more help than others. Be sensitive to their needs, but help them learn to believe in themselves. The best way to foster independence, is to teach them the tools of learning then allow them to work on their own to practice them. If you are always right there hovering, they will never gain the confidence to do it on their own. Be readily available to help and answer questions, but do not step in and do the work for them. I feel like the Sonlight curriculum does a perfect job of allowing that to happen!
- High Schoolers Can Do Hard Things! When kids are this age, they are preparing for college. They need to know that they can do hard things. They are old enough to be pushed and stretched a bit more than they were in middle school. They really need this push, too. Helping them recognize their abilities is really important during these years because it will give them greater confidence.
I honestly have had moments of panic that my son was not doing enough to prepare him for college and to really learn and grow, but using a curriculum like Sonlight really has given me confidence that he is learning enough and being prepared for his future. This curriculum is challenging, but not too hard to break him! The outline of the curriculum really allows him to work through all of it on his own. He is learning so much and I love talking with him about his new discoveries. Read more about Why I Chose to Use Sonlight with my high schooler this year. I am happy to have such amazing resources to teach my kids.