The Secret to Preparing Your Homeschooler for the Future

Homeschool Secret

Warning- This blog post will save you hundreds of dollars on curriculum and years of stress if you read it all the way through and follow my advice.  I guarantee it! 

In just a few short months, my younger son, Ricky, will be finishing high school.  I almost can’t believe it.  When my oldest son graduated, it didn’t seem so strange.  Brian was born, it seemed, ready for college.  Ricky is my baby boy.  He’s my happy, smiling little boy.  I don’t care if he’s reaching for 6′ tall, has a job, a bank account, and is getting his license.  All I see are those chubby cheeks I used to kiss like crazy when he was a baby (he’s going to love it when he reads this).  For that boy to be heading toward college is amazing to me.

He is graduating early by conventional standards.  Ricky will be 16 in September and graduate high school in November if all goes as planned.  Brian graduated in a similar fashion.  He turned 16 in February and graduated in March, so he has Ricky by about a month.  Briana, if she graduates according to plan, will graduate at 15, just a few days before she turns 16.  She just wants to beat her brothers and be the quickest graduate.

In case you were wondering, Brian has done well in college.  We expected him to.  He was a National Merit Scholar Commended Student.  His score was so high that he was invitations to apply to Ivy League universities with the promise of scholarships.  It was flattering, but we had priorities for his education that were more important than the name on the college door.  We wanted Brian to remain at home, at least until he was 18 and take as many online classes as possible.  My son is intelligent and trustworthy, but we felt that, as parents, we needed to be nearby until he was mature enough to handle every aspect of the college experience.  We also wanted him to complete his college degree without debt.  Brian completed his associate’s degree in 3 semesters, thanks to heavy course loads and CLEP exams.  Then, he moved on to a four-year institution where he is studying Business Administration with a concentration in Entrepreneurship.  He is on track to graduate Summer 2016.  Brian has been able to get grants and scholarship to cover all of his college expenses so far.  We praise the Lord for His provision.

Before you start thinking that I am some super homeschooler, let me assure you that I am not.  Brian’s story makes me look really good.  The truth is that his success up to this point has had nothing to do with me other than the fact that I gave birth to him and happened to be his teacher.  Any other teacher would have had just as much success with him.  He loves to study.  He is that homeschooled child who always did his work on his own.  The Lord made him that way, and it is just who he is.

Ricky is SO very different from Brian.  I mean, like complete opposites.  They don’t even look alike.  You can see from their pictures with their sister how different they are.

Brian is blonde, blue-eyed, and fair-skinned.  Everything about him says “scholar.” He’s 5’8″ and slender, though all muscle with The Fundamental Homea swimmer’s physique (broad shoulders, slim legs).  He has never met anyone who can do more push-ups than he can.  He is successful because he is a hard task master, harder on himself than anyone else.  He observes the character of others and has high standards for his friends.  That could be why he has few.  My boy is intensely loyal to those whom he does consider to be a friend. Underneath the tough exterior, Brian is a softy.  He will bend over backwards to take care of the people he loves.  He is Briana’s protector, but she calls him her “bae” and her “bestie.”  Brian plays piano and sings tenor beautifully.  He is Darcy.

Ricky is dark-haired, green-eyed (he will tell you that he has sunburst eyes), and tan.  He’s tall and thickly muscled.  Ricky has a runner’s physique with narrow shoulders and strong legs that has make him faster than anyone who races against him.  Everyone likes Ricky, and Ricky likes everyone.  He is kind and gracious to everyone he meets.  His smile will light up the room.  He is quick to lend a helping hand and laughs all the time.  Don’t let the laughter fool you, though.  This boy has a strong sense of ideals.  He is actually the tougher of the two boys to impressThe Fundamental Home.  There is a long list of requirements in his mind for a future wife.  Ricky is loyal, hard-working, and determined.  He plays guitar and has a deep, strong singing voice.  His sister is just another one of his pals.  Ricky is Bingley.

As I said, the boys are different, so homeschooling them was a very different experience.  Where Brian would do all of his schooling independently, Ricky required my presence.  He is a people person and does not like being alone.  It actually affects his ability to concentrate.  It took me a long time to understand this about him.  I thought I had to teach him to work independently.  Over time, though, I began to see that working with others would support his ability to learn.  We tried a bunch of different options to keep him on his toes including homeschool co-op classes, team sports, and schooling with another family.  They were all helpful in their own way.  Now, that he is older, he handles the independent work a bit better, and I am glad that I supported his learning style when he needed it.

The one similarity I see between the boys is their determination to master whatever they are interested in.  Brian attacked his books with vigor because he loves to increase knowledge.  There is only one subject that Ricky has attacked in the same way: art.  Ricky will draw for HOURS.  I mean HOURS!  It would drive me insane, but he is determined to master artistry.  He loves manga and anime.  After attending a writer’s conference with me this year, Ricky wants to create a children’s book and illustrate it.  He has talent and drive, so I know he will succeed if that is what the Lord has for him.  If not, his art will be a blessing for him in the same way playing the piano after a hard day soothes the pianist.  Ricky will probably not be a National Merit Scholar.  He will probably take college more slowly, and he will most likely have to work very hard to graduate without debt.  Still, I know he will complete his degree.  He plans to study (you guessed it) art.  Ricky is also considering becoming a pastor.  We shall see where the Lord leads him.

If you saw the things that Ricky can draw, you would think I was the best homeschool art teacher.  Not so, my friends.  As with Brian, Ricky’s skills come from the Lord.  I just happen to be his mother.

The way we plan high school is by sitting down with our children prior to starting 9th grade and mapping out a plan.  We attempt to figure out what direction they are headed in, and base our curriculum around that.  In both cases, our boys direction changed before they ended high school.

Brian wanted to go to medical school for years, so we planned his high school curriculum in a way that would prepare him to head in that direction, including volunteer time at a local hospital.  That volunteer time was crucial.  He discovered that the medical profession is truly tied to the will of insurance companies.  He had wanted to be in medicine to help people.  What he found was that people were shoved aside in the interest of financial gain.  Seeing it for himself showed Brian that medical school was not for him.  He did not want to be involved in the medical profession if it meant sacrificing his ideals and supporting a horribly broken system.  (I should add here that we do know excellent people in the medical profession, but the overwhelming majority were slaves shackled to the insurance company “best practices”-best for their pocket book and practically nothing for patients.)  Brian left the decision for his future up to the Lord.  When he was awarded a full scholarship to study business, he took that as the Lord’s leading.  Now, he is considering getting his MBA and heading to law school.  Maybe he can help to change the broken system altogether.

Ricky has always loved animals and wanted to have his own zoo one day.  He sort of saw himself as an American, Creationist Steve Irwin.  Because of his interests, Ricky signed up to volunteer at a local nature center.  He spent hours with the animals, seeing first hand what it took to run the exhibits.  In addition, he spent time with the public, teaching them about the animals.  It was not his experience with the nature center that changed his direction.  It was his prolonged illness.  Ricky spent hours, unable to do much, sitting in the house.  He had always enjoyed art, but had never pursued it because he was focused on something else.  When he was forced to sit, he started watching videos, trying to improve his art to keep his mind busy.  He discovered more talent and love for the subject than he ever realized he had.  Now, it is all he does.  He has to drag himself away.  I should also mention that Ricky taught a Bible Study for teens at a local coffee shop, which he loved.  I think this is why pastoring is on the table.

Either way, it was the experiences of my boys that have shaped their future.  Those experiences were shaped by the Lord who has a plan for each of them.  It was not a certain curriculum.  I am not some master homeschooler.  They each have God given gifts.  My role as the homeschool mom simply has to uncover a child’s gifts according to their interests and support them.  It’s that simple.

Don’t sit them down and make them follow some prescribed curriculum that follows the order of public schools.  Yes, make sure they get their requirements, but that should not be the focus of your child’s education.  Your focus should be on who they are as individuals.  They were made for a purpose.  You will know your child- what excites them and where they excel.  Find avenues to explore that as a potential life’s work.  I told you what we did for out boys.  With Briana, we are allowing her to have a Youtube channel and study video production.  This is also an opportunity for her to learn about running a business.  At the same time, Briana helps in our church’s nursery because she has an interest in early childhood education.  If I had a child who was interested in construction, I would have him work with someone I trusted in the field or I would buy him a gazebo kit and have at it.  If I had one who was interested in being a pilot, I would see about flying lessons or join an air club.  If I had one who wanted to be a mechanic, I would buy an old wreck, join auto clubs, and help them restore it.  You get the picture.  Even if you have no understanding whatsoever about their choice, find someone who does.  If they love Calculus and you can’t teach it, get a tutor.  Better yet, it sounds like they have completed high school level math.  They are probably ready to take some college classes.

The secret to preparing your homeschooler for the future is just letting them be who God made them to be.

Children are people.  They aren’t built in a factory.  They are nurtured in a home.  Just love them.  Help them discover what the Lord made them to do, and help them do it.  If they change their minds, go with it, and help them achieve their new dream.  Your children will be amazingly successful if they are given the tools they need to succeed.  The tools aren’t books and other materials.  The tools are time and attention to develop their God-given talents.  When they are doing what they were made to do, you can just be thankful you were able to be a part of the wonderful miracle that is their life.

Homeschool mom, this summer, as you think about your homeschooler’s future, take some time and pray for them.  Ask the Lord to help you to support each child’s special gifts.  Pay attention to your child’s interests.  What is on their hearts and minds?  Pursue those things, sit back, and prepare to be amazed.  Stop worrying about what they are missing and struggling in.  The truth is, they may always struggle in those areas.  Focus on their strengths.  Focus on their hearts.  Those are the things that will lift them up.  Stop being critical of your own abilities as a homeschool parent.  You will never have “enough” time, money, or talent, but the Lord has given you everything you need according to His will.  You are enough, what you have is enough, and your child is enough because God is enough.

The Fundamental Home

 

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7 thoughts on “The Secret to Preparing Your Homeschooler for the Future

  • June 10, 2015 at 1:25 pm
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    I LOVE this blog post! It really helps calm my heart! It’s easy to focus on the curriculum and subjects… I am trying very hard to get away from that mindset. Thanks for your words of wisdom!

    Reply
    • June 10, 2015 at 2:36 pm
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      Thanks, Amber! I hear from moms all the time who are worried to death about choosing the right curriculum. It doesn’t really matter in the long run. Let me ask you, do you remember any of your school books? I don’t. It’s the lessons, the people, and their impact that I remember and value. No worries! You’ve got this, Mama!

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      • June 10, 2015 at 3:04 pm
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        LOL… I’m one of those moms! Ha!! That’s one reason for friends like you… to give words of wisdom and calm our hearts. Thanks so much for your friendship and advice! You are right… I don’t remember any of my school books… at all! 🙂

        Reply
  • June 18, 2015 at 1:28 pm
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    All of this is spot on – and one of the reasons that I love homeschooling so much! You can really cater to each child’s personality and strengths (and even weaknesses). Thanks for sharing & for linking up to Favorite Things Friday with Simply Rachel & Hip Homeschooling! Please consider linking back next time to be considered for a Feature! Hope to see you again next week! =)

    Reply
    • June 18, 2015 at 3:20 pm
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      I think the ability to cater to our children is one of the biggest blessings of homeschooling that parents often miss. Thanks for commenting! I hope I can be featured soon!

      Reply
    • January 5, 2016 at 8:29 pm
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      Thank you so much for stopping by! I hope you will visit us at The Fundamental Home again real soon!

      Reply

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