I used to review curriculum, now I create it

The High School “Gap”

The High School Gap

When asked what some of the “problems” or “issues” are that I see in the homeschool world, I cannot help but consider high school. Having three kids in this category, I sometimes find myself struggling to meet their individual needs—which, as it turns out, there are a lot of. Truly, I don’t know if anything could have prepared me for these years. In the same way that motherhood was a crash course for me, parenting teens is like a pop quiz that I had no idea was coming (and which I didn’t study for) every day of my life. Sometimes I feel like I go from one in-depth counseling session to the next, often wishing that there was more than one of me (or at least that I was more well-rested and had extra capacity).

The truth is, once our kids reach the high school years, they start to need more than just us. They have emotional needs, spiritual needs, and social needs. Their faith is beginning to become their own, and that means separating from us a little bit in order to figure stuff out. They are developing into their own people, which means that they sometimes need to push back on things in order to learn why certain rules matter. They also need other voices to speak into their lives, as they stop viewing us on the pedestals they made and become more aware of our humanity and failings.

In the homeschool world, this can be especially difficult because for so long, our kids’ whole world has been us. Now that we are feeling pushed back on, we can take it personally even though it is a normal part of the process. Where “socialization” (as the world understands it) was never a problem before and we could create funny memes about how ridiculous the concept was, the issue now begins to present itself more and more. Whether we have extroverted kids or not, we feel the need to nudge them out of their comfort zones and to provide them with more opportunities as we sense the impending “push out of the nest” drawing nigh. Things change seemingly overnight, and all of a sudden we find ourselves facing gaps that we are ill-equipped to fill.

High School Gaps

What Now?

As someone who is smack-dab in the middle of this reality, I’m not sure I have the answers. I’m still figuring things out myself. The situation can be complicated even further the more children you have, each requiring their own individual “prescription” of needs. How can you be all things to each of your kids? You can’t. You saw the village, and you didn’t want it raising your children, but God also said that it is not good for man to be alone. He designed us to live in family and community, and this is where a village can work together.

For me, in a very practical sense, the solution I’ve come to is that I’m going to have to create a village. Truthfully, I don’t have one. We have moved to a new country and are starting back at square one in a new church, trying to make new friends—not ideal when my kids need more than just me. Living in a college town means that there are minimal resources for teens, and an easy solution is not available. Sometimes we have to Field-of-Dreams-it-up and build it so they will come. I feel like I’m seeing a gap and building a bridge across the chasm, which is an exhausting concept. But if I can’t meet the need, I am determined to find a way to address it as best I can. Whether that means starting a hybrid school or youth group, there is a need to be met and time is of the essence. What will this year look like? Good question! All I know is that I need to leap into the unknown and see what God has.

Can you relate? Maybe the high school years feel like a distant speck (in which case, congratulations for making it this far in the post). But if your kids are approaching this stage and you’re feeling the strain . . . you are not alone! How are you meeting the need? Are you well established in your community and able to reach out to a network of resources? Or like me are you feeling as if you have to start something yourself in order to make it happen? Whether it’s a youth group, discipleship class, or hybrid school/co-op—if God has asked you to do it, don’t delay! Do all that God has released you to do. No matter how daunting or impossible it seems, bridge the gap. The battle for our children is at its very climax during these sensitive years. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Even if we fail, may our kids see that we are trying. And may the Lord establish new networks, resources, and opportunities that equip our young men and women to rise up and stand.

Want More?

Join us for our 2024 Gathered in His Name retreat here in our hometown of Athens, GA. With worship, prayer, and ministry time, it is geared toward the whole family. We even have a teen night led by my own teenagers! Our theme for this year is Restore, and we are believing that God wants to restore relationships, hope, and life in our families.

Gathered in His Name 2024

I used to review curriculum, now I create it!