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Homeschooling: Think Outside the Home

Authored By: 
Maren Holmen, Director of The Tutoring School

For many homeschool parents, high school is the most difficult time to meet the educational needs of their children.  There are certain subjects that will seem easy to handle; many people are fairly conversant in topics related to English and history, but I’ve spoken with a number of parents who tell me they can’t help their teen with his math homework.  What do you do when you’re supposed to be the person who teaches that math?

Homeschool enrichment classes might be the solution.  In a growing number of communities (and most notably, in larger cities), retired teachers, freelance tutors, and other homeschool parents offer classes that are open to families in the homeschool community, from screenwriting to the French language to Calculus.  Not only is this an opportunity for homeschool students to follow their passions or discover new interests, it’s also a chance to meet other homeschool students (which is one of the biggest challenges of homeschooling—there’s no built-in social circle of schoolmates who aren’t siblings.)

A homeschool enrichment program can also serve another purpose—to furnish materials or dedicated spaces that are hard to come by in one’s home.  Take Chemistry: what parent wants to store lots of chemicals in their home or turn their kitchen into a laboratory hours before dinner?  Partnering with a local school or university can enable your child with the opportunity to take a standard high school course that requires specialized equipment in safety.

Parents (and students) might seek homeschool enrichment for a variety of reasons—social, educational, or extracurricular.  Don’t be afraid to think outside the box!  Find community service opportunities that could lead to internships, take courses at your local community college, or get involved in the local theater scene; the high school years are a time of exploration and there are lots of options in your own backyard, if you just do some looking.