Homeschooling through high school can really be a challenge especially because of the complexity of subjects that need to be completed at this time. As well, this season of life is meant to prepare a student for the study skills that university life will require. Moreover, college applications in the horizon mean the undertaking of standardised testing to objectively validate learning that, all this time, has occurred in the confines of home.
This time of the year is definitely exhausting for my 10th and 11th graders. SATs (scholastic aptitude test) and AP (Advanced Placement) testing are offered in May and June. Also, finals and completion of requirements are due both for classes at home and online courses as the end of the school year looms ahead.
Here’s what my 11th grader has to share in this regard in her “The Cracked Pot” (May edition) article:
Death by May
It’s about this time of year that students contemplate digging their own graves; it flashes before their eyes rather like the dagger before Macbeth: death by standardized testing, death by finals, death by APs, ad infinitum. Of course, students ultimately survive the bitter trials of education (though for some, only barely) and they then regret all their morbid work and their readied grave. They decide to postpone their funeral till the end of the summer holidays. At that point, they will readily climb into the crypts. But we have gotten ahead of ourselves. We still have May to plod through. Perhaps, now is a fitting opportunity to remind ourselves of things we should strive to hold dear through both busy days and the oncoming leisurely ones of the summer holidays.
We may start with the most fundamental: our relationship with our Lord. Yes, I am aware that exam season brings about much earnest prayer, but I hope that He will hear more from us besides about our SATs, ACTs, APs, and finals. After all, we don’t bring all that to our aforementioned graves. For many of us, grades, exams, and college applications may appear to be defining our lives. We worry about getting into college, about what we’re going to do when we get there, and about what we’re going to do after. But let us remember that our calling in this life is not about what we do. It’s about what we are becoming. And hopefully, we are becoming more like Him.
Just as we ought not forget our Lord, we ought not forget the people He loves. This season of school presents wonderful excuses. “I can’t help. Sorry. I have to study.” “I can’t play with you right now, kiddo. I have a quiz to submit.” Yes, let us take responsibility of our studies. But let us not forget mothers who need help in the kitchen, little brothers who need to be loved and played with, and friends who need our encouragement and fellowship as much as we need theirs.
Next, we must remember that we are not merely test-takers, book-eaters, homework submitters. We are people who must breathe, think, play, create, sing, and run. Quintilian, that ancient Roman rhetorician, said of the student:
But every pupil needs some kind of relaxation, because no one can stand the strain of continuous effort…So, fresh after a break he will be sharper and more energetic in his studies.
Therefore, make music, read what you wish, draw what you see, run and play, explore the world. If you are clever enough, you will see how your studies and your passions will ultimately intertwine. You will see what you have been studying in your passion, and you will see your passion in what you have been studying.
It’s crunch time, people. But let us remember who are: we are CHRISTians, we are brothers and sisters, and we are human. In that order.
Wondering why we homeschool through high school? I’ve responded to that somewhere else: “To University and Beyond“.