Nurturing Independence

     The latest topic for the Homeschool High School Carnival is Nurturing Independence in our High School Homeschoolers.

There are just as many thoughts on this as there many differences in families, in methods of homeschooling,          in our individual highschoolers. This makes it an exciting carnival to host! Grab some time, a favourite drink, some happy music and savour your reading…

My own personal thoughts? Independence for my teen sons has begun, not in the teenage years, but in the toddler years. When they want to sit on a “big chair” and not in their high chair or on mummy’s lap for meals…I let them. When they push the chair to the toaster to try to make their own toast for breakfast…I encourage them and show them how. When they want to play with the TV remote and the DVD player…I show them how to use it and give them free rein. When they  say “me do it” and dress themselves and choose their own, imaginative selection of clothes…I’m okay. When they are mad about drawing or want to learn more about money ( yes, one of mine did at age six!)..we go with the flow in our homeschool. 

This philosophy of encouraging, following  their lead, allowing free reign within the safety net of family support continues in the high school years. My sons are fiercely independent and opinionated ( I wonder where they get that From?) and yet the bonds of nurturing, of knowing home is a safe pace and a haven, continue from their early childhood years.  

Chareen of Every bed of Roses agrees that this nurturing of independence is a fine balancing act…a bit forward, a bit of a rest….

Homeschool survivor and recent graduate, Andrew Jones, shares his thoughts on why high school is a good time to “loosen the reins” a bit on your teens.

Kacky encourages her teens to have choice in their curriculum: We have set  courses, but within those set topics, English, history, etc…our high schoolers are allowed to choose their own specific studies.  Electives are chosen each year by them as well.  The choices have even led to my senior planning and executing her own book club with friends that requires no parental help this year. (Beginning With the Assumption)

I think Sue of Stories of an Unschooling Family would agree, for Sue shares how her high schoolers have the reins of education firmly in their own hands. Independence has been encouraged by giving her unschoolers the freedom to direct their own learning, and then trusting they will learn what they need to know, to get where they want to go.

Erin, too, is keen to support her children in being full collaborators in directing their education; she has found that  discussion is the key in the planning and direction of studies

And Barb writes of self education and modelling, believing that self education is something that needs to be modeled. If all your children have ever known is a more regimented textbook, workbook, fill in the blanks sort of learning style, the more foreign it will be for them to shift over to a more question based, discussion based style of learning.We have gradually and naturally shifted to our current way of homeschooling.

Reminds me of some of my favourite high school homeschooling books:The Day I Became An Autodidact; The Teenage Liberation Handbook; Real Lives: Eleven teenagers Who Don’t Go To School.


7 thoughts on “Nurturing Independence”

  1. Leonie,

    I read your post as soon as it was published but have been slow stopping to comment. I want to add my thanks for hosting this month’s carnival.

    I enjoyed your thoughts on nurturing independence. Your words reminded of my own experience of children and toasters. I remember three year old Gemma-Rose making her own breakfast. She used to toast the bread under the oven griller which she could reach easily. That is a happy memory. Thank you! Nowadays Gemma-Rose still thinks she can do everything her older siblings do, and usually she is right. Children just need the opportunity to try.

    God bless!

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