What Are My Teens Missing Out On?

Opportunities Missed by My Teens Because of Homeschooling

I was reading another woman’s blog about the things her teens had missed out on because of homeschooling “Opportunities My Teens are Missing Because We Homeschool High School” . I know Annie’s point was that what originally seemed like missed opportunities haven’t really mattered in the long run for her kids, but as I looked at her list, I compared her list to my own children’s experiences.

First she mentions sports, but in Florida, home educated students have the right to participate in public school sports teams (assuming they meet the required qualifications). My teens have enjoyed a wide variety of not-so-competitive sports (soccer, archery, basketball, tennis, and golf) through our homeschool support group and that’s been enough for us, but I’ve known that the public school option was there for us if we were interested.

As for performance opportunities, my homeschool support group has been putting on an annual Talent Show for the past nine years. In the past, before high school, my kids were involved in a variety of plays; I know we could organize something like that again if they wanted it. Plus, in our area, there are a variety of local options designed just for homeschoolers such as Jody’s Fusion Enrichment Classes and I know I’ve seen listings for a homeschool choir and a community student orchestra. I’ve know of homeschooled kids who have much more time available to participate in activities such as sports, or ballet and other dancing, or art, etc. Of course, paying a private studio could be expensive, but organizing volunteers to figure out a way for volunteers to run a program is our usual do-it-yourself way of operating. Along the way we’ve found talents we didn’t suspect but we’ve also discovered a number of homeschool parents with professional experience who are willing to help organize something. On the other hand, given all the fundraisers and the pitifully small amount our public schools put in their budgets for the arts, public school parents don’t exactly get those public school classes for their children free of charge, and I’ve seen grant-funded programs available in our county which offer free classes that seem to be mostly used by homeschoolers as the schooled kids have little free time for such wonderful programs.

One opportunity that Annie didn’t mention–but other parents often do–is the prom. My daughter wants a chance to wear a fancy dress to an event with her friends, so she joined forces with some other teens in our homeschool support group. Together, they are planning a prom for this coming school year. They’ve scouted out a location (and have a back up), chosen a design theme and colors, and are putting together a budget. I know they’ll have a great time and will learn a lot of organizational skills in the process. I like those sorts of lessons learned, rather than having them sit back and let someone else do all the planning, as I can see those lessons as being the most important aspect of the prom in the long run.

So what are my teens missing out on? What would I add to Annie’s list? Hallways with fights, actual fights with punches thrown, classes with teachers who have given up and don’t care or with students who really don’t want to be there and make it clear to everyone around them, dealings with administrators who like to hide incidents under the carpet and leave students feeling that there’s no justice, and other things that I’m glad they don’t have to face yet. As adults, if they face those at the workplace, they’ll have more power to do something about it rather than be held prisoner in the situation as many teens are.

I think my kids are doing just fine with what they are missing.

Cheryl

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