© Beverley Paine, January 2009
"How does homeschooling look for other 15 year olds? What happens if my son doesn't want to go to TAFE, and wants to go to University? Can he still homeschool?"
Homeschooling can be anything you want it to be, and for that reason it can look really different from one teen to another. A lot depends on the personality and ambition of the individual student. One young person may be working part time and studying at home, another may be focussing on performance and tailoring an individual curriculum towards getting into an arts academy, a third might still be 'playing'...
Because your son is starting year 9 this year, my advice is to work on his basic skills this year, especially study skills.
Don't worry about TER scores or anything like that until 2010, which is when he can pick a more specialised pathway. My experience is that most children going through school have weak basic skills in English and maths and poor study habits. A student needs these to be successful (and to enjoy) university.
There are some great 'test your child' work books you can use as a guide to see how you son is managing with basic skills.
In addition to improving basic skills I suggest you plan a general 'liberal arts' style education that covers local and Australian history, geography (where things are in the world, and how people use the world's resources), take him to performances, read and discuss books, movies, and games together, make sure he keeps a personal journey and writes in it every day, maybe a 'natural history' journal (where he observes what is happening in nature around him - basic biology, geology, etc - science skills). Go on lots of outings, especially to places of employment. This doesn't have to be formal excursions all the time - simply get out and watch how people work and what they do and talk about it.
It is worth researching what 'study skills' are: I found a great tutorial in the World Book encyclopedia years ago. They don't come naturally and are worth practicing, especially if you son is keen to go to university.
Use 2009 to consolidate and build on basic skills and by the time 2010 comes around your son will be in an excellent position to select the course he wants to do. Getting into TAFE at that age will be easy if he is competent in reading, writing and arithmetic and has good general knowledge and displays excellent study habits.
Keep a record of his homeschooling activities and write a report at the end of the year that summarises those activities and his progress in each subject throughout the year.
Recently someone asked about teenagers and curriculums.
I once wrote this in an official letter regarding Roger's learning program - he is, as most of you know, learning naturally, with no overt structure, or structure applied without his full cooperation and motivated from interests of his own.
"Since 1991 Roger has been studying at home full time instead of attending school. Roger is undertaking a full time study load, with studies in the following areas totally, over 30 hours each week:
Roger's level of commitment to his studies and his results are outstanding. As a result of his enthusiasm and dedication to his studies Roger is already receiving recognition in the community through work experience of
It isn't too difficult to build a recording regime around a natural learning unschooling approach to home education.
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We began educating our three children in 1985, when our eldest was aged five years. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn as they grew and explored and discovered this amazing world since the moment they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. I hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was!
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