One of the questions we’ve had to ask, and talk about with our highschool students is what do you do if you aren’t finished with learning at the end of year 12? Do you do a year 13? Do you move on? I actually answered such a question on a forum once and share my answer with you here. But since this was written some time ago, I will also update our journey with all four of our kids.
What if you are not finished homeschooling at the end of year 12?
Question: Has anyone had their child do a “year 13” because they didn’t have all the skills that you wanted them to, or hadn’t covered what you considered to be highly important topics by the time they had finished their 12th year?
My answer: Yes and No
Joshua knew he wanted to go to university and was probably ready for that level of academic stimulation around year 10 but as a family we were not in a place to sort that out and get our heads around what needed to be done. Neither was he able to do it on his own. So he continued to learn with our homeschool plans. Looking back, I actually think this was for the best in the long run as it gave him a few years to consolidate his Christian worldview in the subjects he was planning to study (Humanities).
He chose to do university via distance option. He signed up for a BA – Ancient History / Politics. Initially we intended for him to continue with his homeschool studies as well – particularly Math, Reading and Bible study. But soon study and working part time took all his time. So by end of his second term of studying at university he was no longer doing any of his former homeschool subjects (even though he was ‘behind’) Though he intended to continue he found his head was just too full of the uni work.
So in summary – though he wasn’t finished all subjects, he was ready to go onto University with the subjects he was strong in so he left homeschooling incomplete.
Update for Josh: Josh has finished his BA, had a year off which included a 5 month internship, and now is working on a Masters of Education (Highschool teaching). He is tutoring after school and as such brushing up his math and science though he prefers to tutor in English and Humanities.
Coming to the end of Jessica’s year 12 was a on again off again time as we considered year 13. She was also behind in her math and science but if she was in school she wouldn’t have chosen math/science subjects in year 11/12. She would have done business and hospitality and in these things she excels.
She wasn’t clear on a particular direction – though she knew she did not want to go to university. She was interested in graphic art/publishing, professional organizing and business. She considered continuing her year 12 because there was more she wanted to learn, especially in history and writing, but I wasn’t sure. I have sensed in my kids that regardless of where they are at intellectually (normally assessed by finishing year 12) they are ready to move on with a different season of life emotionally and socially. Though Jess had decided to do a ‘year 13’ with her own delight subjects it wasn’t long (about a month) before she realized she wanted something else. So she stopped homeschooling, signed up for a Professional Organising online course and was offered a job tutoring homeschool kids.
Summary: Though there was still plenty more to do with homeschooling Jess was ready to move on.
Update for Jess: Later on, Jess applied for a Traineeship with a local business and gained her Cert 4 in Business. During this time she has found her math skills improve – to the point that she has considered doing Book-Keeping.
We didn’t get the chance to actually consider year 13 or not for Naomi as she had an opportunity to do a TAFE course – this unique opportunity was set up by our Education Department Moderator (of all people!) and it was just the right thing for her to move on into. Once again there was plenty of subject matter not covered in her highschool years, but she was ready emotionally to graduate from homeschool highschool.
Currently (2016) Naomi has completed both a Cert 2 and Cert 3 in Visual Arts. She did this externally though had one week for each certificate of hands on, face to face workshop time with her lecturer. Naomi has supplemented her TAFE studies with personal studies in subjects consistent with her TAFE studies, which has actually been included as Recognition of Prior Learning which has fast tracked her completion.
Summary: Naomi had a clear passion and found TAFE studies that extended the work she was doing in her homeschool. There was no reason to continue even though she did not complete at year 12 level in terms of content.
Daniel is just coming to the end of his year 12 level (2016) and will be continuing homeschooling next year (year 13.) He doesn’t know what he wants to do after school and he is still enjoying his studies. He is not ready for full-time adult learning either academically, emotionally or socially so it makes sense to continue. We will not assume though that he will complete year 13 – he may well be ready to run with a different opportunity mid-year next year – we’ll see.
When do you finish Homeschool Highschool?
In our homeschool we have approached education from a whole of life perspective – therefore we need to look at their whole of life before we make a decision to finish homeschool or do more. This decision is about them being ready emotionally, socially, morally and intellectually to move into the adult world.
[Tweet “Kids should graduate from homeschool when they are ready to move into the next season of their life.”]
For those parents considering repeating year 12 – or doing a year 13 – we really need to think through our reasons. Is it really about us and our ‘results’ as a homeschool family? Or do they really need more skills before they can do anything else?
The real question is – Can I help them move on to the next phase of their life, acknowledging they still have things to learn? Can I let go my homeschool pride? Is homeschooling the best structure for them to learn the things they still need to learn?
To be honest, the training of our children doesn’t stop at year 12 – but it does change – and maybe homeschooling is one of those things that needs to change. Maybe and maybe not – we need to think it through.
Further Reading that may help you:
- 5 Basic Skills to graduate from Homeschool Highschool
- Learning Doesn’t Stop after Graduating from Highschool
- Running out of Time: Homeschooling Highschool
Over to you:
What has helped you decide to stick with homeschooling for a 13th year or to move on?
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Excellent encouraging post. Thank you for sharing.
Hi there, I am interested in this post……I have two kids entering into this phase……we have had a tricky and unorthodox (even for Homeschoolers) three years leading up to my oldest’s yr 11/ 12. We went over 3 years to Russia/UK/Scotland/Manila and performed in Tattoos and Missionary trips for over 6 months in total school time. So he was “behind” academically, although in life skills and experience I believe advanced……..
I was fortunate to find an Open Access College here in SA, whose beliefs academically and in personal growth) were so similar to mine I could not help but be HAPPY! They were excited and pleased to accommodate my families diff learning style and personal “bents” and they even allowed Josh to use his experiences towards his Yr 11 and 12 points. It was a great personal joy to see the “system” actually acknowledging his learning curves and experiences, it has surely changed from my Yr 12 with 5 huge subjects that seemed to have little to do with my real life……..
So Josh has actually extended Year 11, 12 and will complete it in Yr 13, he will be 19……….yes he is older, but then when he goes to university (He wants to do Engineering) he will be a bit more mature and hopefully ready for his Uni days, spiritually as well…….as well as school he is now Music leading in church and his spiritual life is being developed too……that is important to us!
I believe that the school system must must must be a slave not a master, even if you mainstream educate…….it should not assume all kids are cookie cutter learners and need to embrace individual learning styles and family experiences…….I think we as parents (schooled or homeschooled) can get hooked on ages, but I think even schools are gradually acknowledging that things must change in order to get our kids prepared for REAL life……
Age is a moot point in my family…………readiness for LIFE and helping them face the garbage and evil that will cascade over them when they go to uni is vital…..no point in sheltering them so much they will buckle and be ripped apart in Uni………what is also really great nowadays too is that Uni contact is now optional using internet etc………that can only be an advantage!!!
In the end we have to do what we feel is right for our kids and family! But it so good to read other’s experiences and how they reach the decisions they do…..
Hi Cathy – wow what wonderful experiences. It is good to read how Aussie homeschoolers are getting through highschool and into further education and employment.