High School or Homeschool?

High School or Homeschool | Mama Papa Bubba

The number one question I’ve been asked over the last several months?  What’s Gracen’s school situation – high school or homeschool?

So here’s the update…

High School or Home School? | Mama.Papa.Bubba.

But first – a little catch up in case you’re new here or just not up-to-date on the situation…

Home learning has always on our radar – we’re talking since Grae was two years old!  We were living in the Middle East, teaching at a large American international school, and due to several factors (ridiculously early start times, a dangerous highway drive to get to and from, long days, school that started at 3 years old, and a very academically focused junior kindergarten to name a few), we knew that if we were still there when Grae was school aged, we’d choose the homeschool route. Well, the way it all shook out, she ended up going to brick and mortar public school in Canada from kindergarten to grade 4 and in fall of her grade 4 year, she decided that she wanted to give home learning a try.

School had always been something that came quite easily to her… She’s a super motivated learner, she follows direction well, and she wants to make good use of her time.  Which left her feeling that much of her time was wasted at school with classroom management, behaviour issues, transitions, etc.  She felt like her days were lonnnnnng and yet not much was accomplished.

High School or Home School? | Mama.Papa.Bubba.
When the pandemic hit, we all had no choice but to try home learning and we immediately knew it was an excellent longer term option for us.  Our days were great, the teaching part came very naturally to me, the kids were happy, and we got to spend more time than ever outdoors and on adventures.  So, for the remainder of grade 4 and all of grade 5, 6, and 7, Grae learned from home and really enjoyed it.

High School or Home School? | Mama.Papa.Bubba.

Okay, back to now… As most of you know, Grae started high school this year and decided to give going to our local brick and mortar school a chance. She figured that if there was a time to try high school, the beginning of grade 8 would be a good time to do it as everyone would be new and friendship groups naturally shuffle as kids from several elementary schools come together into one much larger school. (AND if I’m being completely honest, I think she felt outside pressure to at least give it a shot too.  It’s hard having a family full of public school teachers!)

Well, she went. And by the third day, she had determined that full time brick and mortar high school was not for her. Before school started, we had all sort of come together and decided that she’d give it at least the first week, and by the end of that, she had come up with her ideal school situation…

She would be able to keep her elective classes at our local high school AND she would switch back to home learning with our OL school for all of her core subjects.

High School or Homeschool? | Mama.Papa.Bubba.

This would allow her to keep the new friendships she had developing at school, it would allow her to be part of a school community and the social opportunities that come along with that, and it would allow her to have some scheduled time away from home solo – all things she actually really enjoyed about being back in school.  At the same time, it would allow her to complete her schoolwork at her own pace (distraction and interruption free), which meant she could be more productive – giving her more time to pour into Neon Daisy, the business she’d worked so hard on for the last year, as well as other things she loved.  It would also allow her to have more say in her learning, which she appreciates and enjoys.

The trouble was that while researching our options during her grade 7 year, we were specifically told (on multiple occasions) that this hybrid sort of situation was NOT allowed in our district, specifically in grade 8 and 9.  Oof.

As a parent, what do you do in this situation??  You have a very self-aware, self-motivated student who has always excelled at school telling you exactly what they think is best for them as a learner and you’re not going to at least try?

We couldn’t not.

(Especially as educators who know just how vital individualization and supporting student autonomy is.)

So we went for it.

High School or Home School? | Mama.Papa.Bubba.
Grae stayed in school full-time while we did (even though she really disliked it) and though we thought we were good to go on several occasions, things kept falling through, which meant she kept going full time.  It took a few weeks, several nos, and just one yes and ultimately Grae eventually got her ideal situation – which at that point felt like *such* a win!

 (My goodness – we were so, so grateful for that yes!!)

High School or Home School? | Mama.Papa.Bubba.

So that’s where we’re at… Grae is doing math, social studies, English, French, science, and PE from home and she’s doing her electives (things like art, drama, foods, power tech, careers, textiles, etc.) at our local school.  Neon Daisy is a huge part of her day-to-day also, and although it’s not technically part of school, I think there are so many very valuable lessons and learning opportunities that come from it. (Imagine if we had all learned the ins and outs of running a successful business as teenagers while the stakes were low and we were living at home?!)

The online courses offered through our OL are a shocking amount of work, knowing when you have to be at school requires really staying on top of your schedule, and it’s busy, but Grae’s got it. It’s not the typical way of doing things, it’s not the best option for all kids, but right now, it’s what’s best for Grae and it’s working really well.

As always, we’ll take it one year at a time and so we shall we what next year brings!

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