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Older Students Need Attention, Too

Homeschool seasons change, too

Homeschool seasons change, too

Our homeschools go through seasons. Sometimes we can predict them, but once in a while we are surprised.  My surprise this year is that I need to spend more time on homeschooling than I did last year, even though the girls are (obviously) older.

You see, this year each of the girls is being stretched. Grade 7 is a giant step beyond grade 6; the first year of high school also brings many changes; and the last year of high school is a huge deal.

That means I really need to stay on top of everyone’s studies, reminding the girls to focus even when things seem difficult. Some years this is easy, but when the work load and study intensity increase as they did this year, everyone needs help adjusting.  Therefore I have been assisting the girls in practical matters such as scheduling, breaking difficult subjects into small daily projects, tackling each subject each day, and staying on task.

Also, I’m doing much more hands-on work than before, going through essays, discussing grammar, helping with biology memorization, doing three French lessons a day, talking through math problems, adjusting curriculum, and so on.  That is on the good days.  On the disorganized days we just muddle along with hopes that the next day will be better.  Sigh!

I had not anticipated these changes in our homeschool, but am thankful we made them early in the year. And that brings me to an important point:

Just as the paths of space ships are constantly adjusted to keep them on course, our homeschools need constant attention and frequent corrections to keep them on track. I did not always realize that.  In fact, at times the autopilot method seemed to work quite well, and it often does in a pinch.  It would not have worked for us this year, though.

I’ve heard homeschoolers say children need less and less educational attention as they get older. In the past I accepted that point of view but it is, in some senses, a silly one. Every student needs attention and as much quality input into their education as possible. After all, why did the rich hire knowledgeable tutors for their children?  It was, of course, to give them the best possible individualized, often classical, education.

With the excellent curricula available today we moms can fake being knowledgeable to some extent, but we still need to equip ourselves well.  And there is no substitute for constant evaluation of what we’re doing.  Although we will never match a top quality tutor, the onus is on us to do the best we can, always trusting that God will use our efforts to his glory.

Of course, ‘the best we can’ depends hugely on little ones, health issues, time constraints, and so much more. This is not a call to beat ourselves up about what is not possible in our lives, but it is an encouragement to pay attention to our homeschooling and how it is working out, to tweak as necessary, and to equip ourselves as much as we can.

So here’s my suggestion to all of us this fall:

Let us keep our eyes open, watch our teens, and think about the education and training we want to give them. You might be as surprised as I was at what needs to be changed.  But don’t despair. The good thing is that we still have all year to adjust what we’re doing to meet our children’s needs and goals more successfully.

May God bless us all as we continue to learn what homeschooling each of our unique children really means, each year, month, week, morning, and minute.

This post is linked to Finishing Strong , Trivium Tuesdays, Works for Me Wednesday, Raising Homemakers.


  1. Linda says:

    Your post is so timely for me! My daughter officially started high school this year (we use Time4Learning High school) and despite the fact that we have been homeschooling since the middle of 1st grade, I am feeling some of the anxieties I felt when I was a new homeschooler. High school is so important, what if I miss teaching something vital? I find that I am spending more time than I did the last two years, and don’t feel like we have hit our stride yet this school year. It is nice to know that I am not alone in this “change of homeschooling seasons”! I especially appreciate your last line…each minute…indeed!

  2. Amy says:

    I love getting a glimpse into what life might be like 10 years from now =) Thanks for always sharing the things that you are learning! They are encouraging and helpful to the rest of us!

  3. Annie Kate says:

    No, Linda, you are not alone! Every year is different, and some years the difference is huge. Blessings as you do high school with your daughter!

    You’re welcome, Amy, and thank you for your encouragement. Hopefully you will be able to avoid some of the mistakes I’ve made.

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