Homeschooling without Glitter

homeschooling older children

Those of you with older kids may have noticed: there’s no glamor in homeschooling them.  No sizzle.  No rapturous internet community.  Look around Pintrest, Flickr, the message boards:  hardly any beautiful photo moments, no charming lesson plans, no gloriously slick packaging, few anecdotes.

Take Pintrest, for example.  Here’s a search for homeschooling.  Charming links for Letters of The Week lesson plans, lots of sensory activities like water play, and many, many rounded cheeks in soft-focus photos.

All of which would have been great 10 years ago, back when the internet was younger and so were my children.  We’re not playing word games on Popsicle sticks anymore.  The quick, snap-and-share cute moments aren’t as…cute.  Or as frequent.  Things are going on inside their heads.  Thoughtful discussion isn’t such a photo opportunity.

I would like to see older homeschoolers represented online with the same enthusiasm. Why?  Well, because I’d like to have my reality reflected, too. I’d like to be inspired.  I’d like to be reassured.  And if it was a slightly more glamorous image than reality, my heart would welcome that, too.  A little salesmanship of the day-to-day.  Calgon, take me away…

Lets do better.  I’m busy.  So are you.  It’s harder to find the anecdote, perhaps, or to remember to pass it along.  But we owe it to ourselves to memorialize this homeschooling stage as well as we did in the cuter years, and we owe it to each other.

Glowing photos of slightly pimply teens blogging, perhaps, or lesson plans on World Changers of the Week.  Slick articles about those charming moments, not filled with ooo, sweetness  but with the utterly hilarious and cutting criticism kids outside the system can generate.

27 thoughts on “Homeschooling without Glitter

  1. hopewellmomschoolagain says:

    When I had my son home in 9th grade I noticed the same thing. I decided it was party their age and respecting their privacy. Barb at Harmony Art Mom has great posts for this age, but yes many people have thrown in the towel by the high school years and that IS sad. I think of your post from last year (year before?) your daughter working thru “What Color is my Parachute” (or similar book) and think how many cool things ARE going on with that age group at home.

    Here it tends to be the two extremes that “stay the course.” Folks like my high school classmate whose kids compete in national robotics courses, help ewes deliver lambs and explore the world OR the uber-sheltering “set apart” far right Christian homeschoolers who have largely given up on real education and are going thru the motions while their kids keep house or work in the family business. That, too, may contribute to the dearth–the kids themselves are busy so too are the Moms with kids in that age range.

    I know there is interest out there though–I still get emails about the10th Grade Geography plans I posted. Other parents ARE searching for people doing what they’re doing regardless of politics. They want to make sure people really DO go to REAL colleges or develop REAL careers.

    Just my $2.00 worth today! (way past a mere two cents)

  2. Stephanie says:

    Hmmm…maybe I should use this as inspiration to get back to blogging? Personally I am loving homeschooling the teen years (mine are 15 and 12). And I guess I am lucky to have a great homeschool community with great teens.

    Now just to find the time to write.

  3. Sandra says:

    I agree totally. Even though My two oldest are finished with homeschooling (Mr 19 is a postgrad chemistry student, Miss 17 is in her first year of a BA majoring in psychology) I’m still looking for inspiration to keep me enthused for the two I still have at home – Mr 14 and Miss 11. I can never be sure whether people give up homeschooling, give up blogging about it because of wanting to protect kid’s privacy, give up blogging about it because transcripts and credits and textbooks just aren’t exciting (so glad I didn’t need to worry about that where we are_, or for some other reason. If anybody has any inspirational sites or other resources I’d like to know.

  4. Karen @ Folk Haven says:

    As one preparing to enter the world of homeschooling with the preschool years fast approaching I’ve been thrilled by the plentiful and diverse blogs I’ve found that will be a great resource to me. But now that you mention it I have seen very little for the older homeschoolers. I hope you find or develop your homeschool on line community as we all need that support. And I hope it still is around for me to access when we are where you are now 10 years from now.

  5. Sherry says:

    Well, I can’t offer a photo of my (occasionally pimply) teen blogging, but I can offer a link to his car blog Also, I just finished writing up an interview of a veteran, fellow homeschooler for my local homeschool newsletter. Her sage advice was to know that homeschooling in the high school years means learning to roll with uncertainty. Sometimes it’s hard to see the forest from the trees.

  6. Madcap says:

    Here, the kids don’t want me talking about them and their activities much anymore, and certainly they don’t want pictures. I’m trying not to feel it as a loss, but sometimes I do.

  7. moominmamma says:

    Yes, as a parent to two and sometimes three homeschooled teenagers (they’ve all chosen to sometimes include bits of school enrolment in their plans) and a long-time blogger, I’ve definitely agree with comments above about the kids wanting their privacy. I still blog, but at my older kids’ request I don’t write very much about them any more. I try to make general updates about their doings, but they definitely don’t want to feel like their mom is chronicling their day-to-day lives.

  8. My Tropical Home says:

    I did notice this “void” in the Internet. I agree with Karen/Folk Haven, I hope there’ll be more homeschoolers sharing about the last leg of the race by the time my kids reach that age (they’re still in pre-school and an incoming 1st grader). I would like my family to finish high school through homeschooling.

    An idea I’ve been playing around with is to let my children write their own blogs, or posts, about homeschooling, when my children are older and can write of course. I don’t know if that will help.

  9. 3kinder says:

    1) is that your painting in the wall?? Looks like a Sarah sketch!!
    2) I hear you & I just started wading through the posts at Harmony Art Mom.
    I haven’t blogged too much about high school, this year has been so busy I haven’t blogged much period. I do see a need though, you’re right. I cannot believe I only have two more years with Grace. This journey, climbing up one side & tumbling down the other adventure of schooling, nearing a completion? Impossible. Unimaginable. Perhaps that’s why moms/dads don’t blog about it… too “in the midst” and raw?
    3) random question ~ didn’t you use bravewritter? Would you be interested in giving a review (or pointing me to your already-written post?)? And have you done any of the online classes?

    • Sarah says:

      Yes, that is my painting. I did it from a sketch in Rainer’s hometown for a Christmas present this year.

      And Yes, we did use Bravewriter, although not as much as I’d hoped. I think the philosophy trickled into my brain but we struggle to find time to write around here. In fact, talk to me after next year – we’re doing a writing-focused year. I want both kids to become comfortable writing their thoughts down and writing for assignments. This vision therapy, delayed skills thing is taking longer to recover from than I might have expected. I want to do one of the online classes, probably Shakespeare, the year after that.

  10. dre achilleus says:

    The most reassuring content on the web that I’ve found regarding homeschooling teens has come from the teens themselves—whether film projects or blogs or essays written. Mine are not too keen on me chasing them around with a camera anymore, but they are more than happy to film their own projects or write about them.

    And when it gets really hard, sometimes I have to re-read Alison McKee’s Homeschooling Our Children, Unschooling Ourselves and breath deeply into a bag. It’s all going to be ok. But at this age, it is rarely tidy or picturesque.

  11. Erin says:

    Have you checked out Heather’s blog “beauty that moves”? She is homeschooling a teenage daughter and has definitely inspired me.

  12. tani and tallulah says:

    Ahhh, this explains why I couldn’t find a lot for even my 9 year old. Though I am stumbling across more and more as I dig. I am blogging and finding that already at times she is unwilling to be photographed, we are still using glitter on art projects, and barbies for Shakespeare, but it will be good to find info for teens. I see it as the juicy part, the part where they hide in their rooms creating their wonders and formulating their ideals and reading their developing hearts out (well, that is what I did at 15 anyway).

  13. Angela says:

    I agree that it seems that cute inspiration gets less and less the older your kids get. Most of what I see in the realm of the arts which is good for me as my older is quite arts focused. But then again I find the cutesy picture of angelic looking four yo doing letter of the week activity frustrating because I so do not have the four yo son who does that. So I must say I find blogs where people who are very real about their children’s challenge due to a disability or delay very helpful and inspiring. Sometimes, I forget that most blogs are just snapshots of someone’s day and no one’s days are consistently glittery.

  14. rcj176 says:

    I think as a community of older homeschooled kids we can change this step by step.
    I keep up with a lot of folks on my homeschool blog if anyone would like to check it out. Occasionally I will post my “extras” books on there too! Stop by and hit “like” Trying to get to 100 by the end of the week!!

  15. sarah says:

    I came here via facebook, where the discussion continues, especially on the matter of privacy. I personally don’t feel it’s my right to expose my child’s life or learning too much on the internet, even when she gives me permission. I share some things, but I’m always aware that I don’t only have to consider privacy and respect for now, but also for her future.

    I think the most helpful thing would be to read more weblogs from homeschooled teens themselves who are willing to share their work and the resources they enjoy.

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