View Full Version : 15 yr old outgrown homeschool ?

Stella M
09-26-2012, 12:00 AM
It feels to me like she has. Not academically - there's always more stuff to learn, kwim ?

Except for my field of interest, we are really co-learners. And the girl knows how to learn!
She's a reader and a thinker - she'll always be learning.

She needs to keep on with math, in case she decides on psychology and to polish up the expressive skills a little more but other than that she seems 'done'. - it sort of seems silly to school her another 3 years!

She could start an open uni course, but that seems a bit young! Too much pressure to decide on a path.

What do you think of a gap year ? A pt job or travel or an intern job or something ?

Idk. I feel like we need something really different. Madness ? Suggestions ?

09-26-2012, 12:11 AM
Not madness at all, more like an opportunity. I've always felt that a basic education just doesn't take 12+ years. You can start around 7 or 8, and quite easily be done all the "basics" by 15 or 16. It's a tricky age, though, because there are so many things that they're too young for. My nephew spent about two years just watching Discovery Channel and playing video games until he was old enough to join an apprenticeship program. He knew what he wanted to do, he just wasn't old enough, so he waited around doing nothing.

I think a part-time job, volunteer work, some kind of long-term project, and travel would all be fantastic things to do in the late teen years. Much better than video games.

Stella M
09-26-2012, 12:20 AM
Maybe I should just ask her ? If there is anything you could spend the next year or two doing, what would it be ?

Then around 17 she can go on to uni, which seems a better age.

The boring thing is I have to register her till she's 17, but I expect we could get around that...

Thanks Avalon!

09-26-2012, 12:44 AM
Can you set up some part time internships for her in fields she would like to explore?

I think the idea of a gap year is fantastic and I hope to be able to encourage my kids to take one but I am thinking when they are 17-19 so that they can travel more freely.

Are there non-traditional learning opportunities she can access? A while ago we did a search of opportunities near us and found things like being a page with the legislature, shorter term (week or two) university programs for high school students, working on tall ships or with science or artist organizations etc. My BIL is a guidance counsellor here and is a great resource for these sorts of programs so perhaps youcould start there?

Good luck!

Stella M
09-26-2012, 02:11 AM
I think psychology might be tricky re internships, but she is most interested in developmental/educational psych which gives more scope. She's also keen on peace studies.

I have no idea what's available here. Not as much as over there, I bet !

It's funny. I love her to bits and we get on incredibly well, but I have this urge to shoo her out of the nest and get her flying, at least part-time :-)

09-26-2012, 06:32 AM
I can offer no advice, Stella, but it sounds very exciting! Keep us updated on what you/she decide. It sounds like she has an incredible opportunity. :)

09-26-2012, 09:44 AM
i saw someone on the 'other' board saying that, around 15, all of her kids wanted something more . . . college classes (cant she just take one or two? or some on line like coursera?), apprenticeship, start a small business, something. I sent my daughter to community college full time just before her 16th birthday and she LOVED it. She did have to drop a semester due to health problems, then took a year off job-hunting, did some part-time semesters, and then transfered in to university as a junior, right on schedule.

i wish Orion was ready for more . . i mean he is, somewhat. He is finally doing a lot of independent work and being able to go to outside activities without me. but not like most kids at 16, who really are ready to start going out in to the world

studying history, 200 year ago boys at 16 were going to see and girls were getting married. we have artificially made childhood longer for everyone, even tho not everyone needs it

09-26-2012, 09:59 AM
I've always thought gap years should be for travel. Of course, sometimes finances don't make that possible. It certainly wasn't for me at that age.

09-26-2012, 10:29 AM
I think time off is a great idea -- I was done with high school quite young and was pushed into college (I had scholarships and no-one told my family that I could delay them, we thought if I didn't go right away I'd lose them). I ended up leaving after a few years, took a couple years off to refocus myself and when I went back it was a whole different experience. 1000x better.

If I could do it over again, I would absolutely have stayed away from college until I was much more sure of myself and knew what I wanted*. Travel would have been great but was out of the question -- when I took my break I worked -- luckily I managed to work in a few places that helped me narrow down what I want to do. Internships would be fantastic if she doesn't have to earn money.

The only thing I don't regret is going to community college and knocking off some of the basic courses I would have had to take no matter what my major was. I probably should have done that longer!

*editing to add -- and was older! For a lot of reasons.

09-26-2012, 10:37 AM
What about a foreign exchange student program?

09-27-2012, 01:05 PM
I think psychology might be tricky re internships, but she is most interested in developmental/educational psych which gives more scope. )

This sounds like a great place to start. I know a student who volunteers in a early childhood program for students with disabilities and another who works as a volunteer tutor in an adult literacy program. While it may not be realistic to volunteer with a psychologist, there should be quite a range of human service programs that would welcome volunteers. In addition to encouraging her to talk to friends in your community, she might find some good options on Volunteer Match. VolunteerMatch - Where Volunteering Begins (http://www.volunteermatch.org/)

Teens can benefit so much from activities that get them engaged with adults who are good models of people who are engaged and involved in their communities. This can happen through volunteering, internships, involvement in community groups, dual enrollment, or working with mentors. The age where this is appropriate will vary from kid to kid, but there is a huge value for a lot of kids. Being respected as a person who is making a valuable contribution is huge.

Stella M
09-28-2012, 05:09 PM
I agree Barbara. We're going to do some brainstorming together after the holidays.

I guess I am looking at the next few years as an opportunity to ease into adult life. I don't want to send an 18 yr old 'school girl' out there, kwim ?

09-29-2012, 07:42 AM
I think she's at a great age to start looking beyond hearth and home. Kudos for you for being willing to share her with the world.

Other people have covered volunteering so I'll tout the value of the starter job. I don't know about work laws in your neck of the woods but even a 5 to 10 hour/wk job at whatever she can find could be invaluable. Learning how to fill out the forms, how to interview all those things. If she's interested in psychology how about working as a babysitter? My big kids and I think everybody should work in food service at some point (and they really think it's a shame that being a waiter/waitress isn't considered a valid career) because we all eat and it tells you so much about personality.

Stella M
09-29-2012, 05:46 PM
Yep, resume writing is on the schedule first week back after our holidays :-) She's pretty employable - lots of previous work experience, referees, availability. I'm hopeful she'll pick up a summer job.

An opportunity to create a major work for exhibition at a local uni next year just came up as well, so that should keep her busy for a few months.

09-29-2012, 10:43 PM
Have you read any of David Albert's books? My oldest is just entering the teen years, but I loved reading about Albert's daughters and how he "educated" them as teens. I think his experiences would resonate with you. His kids just started going out in the world and doing the things they wanted to do, and their education came as a result of that. Their parents were there to support them, but not to teach them.

Do you think your daughter is ready to go out and do something? Could she find a mentor to work with? An apprenticeship? It sounds like it's time for her to start deciding what she wants, even if what she wants now isn't what she wants in 6 months. I agree that lots of kids aren't ready for early college -- these days there are so many other options.

Good luck,

Stella M
09-30-2012, 02:24 AM
Thanks Suki, I've read Skylark, that is one amazing family!

And yes, agreed, she doesn't need to be planning for the whole three years up front - shorter projects would be fine as well.

Callie Williams
10-02-2012, 11:25 AM
I sort of feel we're in the same boat. We opted to wrap up some on-line classes and then "unschool" for the rest of the semester. I thought my son was going to go to the junior college in Jan when he turns 16, but we both feel like it's too soon.

Not sure what we're going to do in the meantime. Volunteering at the natural history museum is an option. That train keeps moving though and we haven't jumped on it yet.

My son has already applied for jobs, but NO ONE is hiring teens right now. A job would be ideal.

It feels to me like she has. Not academically - there's always more stuff to learn, kwim ?

Except for my field of interest, we are really co-learners. And the girl knows how to learn!
She's a reader and a thinker - she'll always be learning.

She needs to keep on with math, in case she decides on psychology and to polish up the expressive skills a little more but other than that she seems 'done'. - it sort of seems silly to school her another 3 years!

She could start an open uni course, but that seems a bit young! Too much pressure to decide on a path.

What do you think of a gap year ? A pt job or travel or an intern job or something ?

Idk. I feel like we need something really different. Madness ? Suggestions ?

Stella M
10-04-2012, 05:04 PM
Hope something comes up for your son. We're in a whole different economy! Teens still seem to be getting hired here.

Glad to hear it's not just me feeling this way.

11-08-2012, 11:38 PM
I just came across this thread after a long discussion with my own daughter about "cool things to do in the next few years". One of the things we are going to look into is one of those Semester at Sea programs. A number of colleges have them and I know some offer programs for high school age kids. I imagine they are very costly, but I've also heard there is often financial aid available. It can't hurt to apply I always say. The programs sound so amazing to me. To spend a few months traveling around on a cruise ship, visiting many different countries, and learning hands on about oceanography and environmental issues would just be such an awesome opportunity! Just another idea for you.

11-09-2012, 07:32 AM
Agree - ask her, and see what she says! The travel ideas are wonderful, especially for her age. And there are internships in other countries that might work. I wonder about programs specifically designed for advanced students that would let her check out universities outside the US?

11-09-2012, 07:34 AM
Stella, my oldest got her undergrad degree in women's studies. Her internships were at the YWCA for the crisis line, CASA to help in the office and for SASS which is a local sexual assault support service organization. She did study one semester abroad during college. She went to Australia to the Edith Cowan Uni near or in Perth. All of these experiences were wonderful to help her decide what it is she wanted to do in the field of psychology and to work with women--I should say there were a lot of things she discovered that she DIDN'T want to do this way. :) After graduating she went on to work and found a nice job at a group home and has had several promotions. Now she's back for her grad degree in counseling at age 26. She really needed all of this growing time to figure it out. So there's no rush!

My oldest son as a homeschooler did take classes at the CC during his last 2 years of high school. Especially for the sciences that would be directly related to engineering. (I think engineers are simply born--it's not so much a decision for them--they just ARE) So college classes and lots of working fit the bill for him. I did not teach him out of the "usual" college prep high school plan. We followed his interests. I think that was one of the best things we did.

At 16 or so he was done with our theater group, book group and other social things he'd been in. He felt too old for them. He had already sort of been a leader at least in book group and he felt like there was no where else to go. KWIM? He was "getting too old". I encouraged him to strike up his own group and that became Dungeons and Dragons. He had to learn to organize people and schedules and solve all those problems that come up in groups so it was a very valuable experience which has served him well so far. I stayed hands off as much as possible and only coached him from the sidelines about how to do this.
He did work and that was excellent for him too; to experience a bit of the minimum-wage adult world. He worked at a local farm. I even toyed with sending him out as a Woofer (WWOOF) for a while too. That was when he was thinking of farming as a career. We knew of a farmer in southern France who would have taken him on if he wanted to go.

There are many peace focused organizations but for my step-daughter most of them seemed too risky, expensive or disorganized to really jump in there. She instead got interested in the political rallies and volunteered during elections to satisfy her need to express her peace ideology. Those experiences were wonderful too. She got to see lots of people who live sort of on the fringes and decided that wasn't really for her. Too judgmental.

Academically I discovered that my teen needed a mix of something traditional (driver's ed or French classes) something challenging (like commuting an hour away for physics at the CC), something adult (like part time work) and something really teenage - the D&D so that he could learn from all of those experiences.

My analogy for this age of 15 is when family would ask what to buy for a 15 year old for a present. 15 is like having a 10-12 year old one minute and then a 20 year old the next. They really fluctuate wildly between holding on to the comforts of youth and trying out the faces of their future. Get them a toy they love AND something for the hope chest. :) That's what education was like for my high schooler anyhow. Addressing both of those needs and more.

Stella M
11-09-2012, 02:32 PM
Sounds awesome but we are not in the US...hopefully someone else might discover it through the link though!

11-28-2012, 07:59 AM
Thanks for so much for posing this question Stella M, it causes me to realize that I have been completely brainwashed into the 12 year school program. I have a 12 year old (8th) who is finished with curriculums and really needs to be able to do more unschooling so she has time to research what she is most interested in for a change. Of course I can't allow math to be put on the back shelf.

12-10-2012, 03:31 AM
What do you think of a gap year ? A pt job or travel or an intern job or something ?

Idk. I feel like we need something really different. Madness ? Suggestions ?

What about looking at an exchange year, something like this? Benefits and eligibility for Student Exchange Australia New Zealand Ltd programs. Student Exchange Australia New Zealand (http://studentexchange.org.au/programs/benefits/#1) (I'm sure there are others - CIEE, for example, sends students to Australia, so they must also take students from Australia: High School Study Abroad | CIEE High School Abroad Programs (http://www.ciee.org/high-school-study-abroad/))

Your daughter would have to go to school in the exchange country, but school as an exchange student is quite different than school-as-life-choice, since you are mostly there to learn language and culture, rather than to slog through the curriculum. As an added bonus, many of these programs are active in the US and Canada, and are therefore used to dealing with a) homeschooled teens and b) people who have not had a million years of formal instruction in the target language before departure. Not all of them require direct exchange, but if you do go that route, most will require you to send the hosted student to the local state school, and can help you arrange that. (En familie, the only one that seems happy to exchange homeschoolers to other homeschoolers, appears not to operate in Australia. Welcome to En Famille - En Famille (http://www.enfamille.eu/))

It might be worth contacting a few exchange programs to explain your interests and see what's available and what's required in the way of documentation. The Aussie one I linked above lists all sorts of school-focused requirements, but so do all of the American ones, which all take homeschoolers and even somethmes advertise looking for them.

Stella M
12-10-2012, 03:59 PM
Thanks! Great links for people who come upon this thread :-)

I know for sure dd isn't interested in a school exchange. Right now it looks like her year will be a combo of online lectures, a couple of outside classes, her work as a student dance teacher and hopefully working with refugee children in a weekly homework program - she's up to the second stage of applying for this.

12-23-2012, 04:51 AM
I am thinking that my son (aged 13) will probably do well at doing something other than straight academics once out of his high school learning. Or perhaps do a technical college course in computer game design, or some form of performing arts, before going all-out in a degree course.

I would also be fine with him working for a year once he is 17 in something to do with whatever career path upon which he decides, so he can (a) find out about the REAL world hehe, (b) earn money towards college should he go that path, (c) decide if that industry is in fact what he enjoys, and (d) mature much faster than if he was going straight into tertiary academia.

I would say your DD could look at some part-time courses at a local TAFE, if they're available to her at age 15, and part-time work as well. I am not sure where in Oz you are, but here in Victoria, there is ANIBT - the Australian National Institute of Business and Technology - and as far as I know they accept homeschooling students from age 13 into some of their short courses, such as Business Studies, Cookery...those types of courses. You could look at that if she is keen to keep studying but wants a more "real world" feel.

12-23-2012, 05:20 AM
Stella- what is she up to these days?

Stella M
12-23-2012, 06:37 PM
Part way through training to work weekly with refugee and migrant kids in our outer suburbs. She'll be helping them with English and homework. She's always had a heart for refugee issues, so this is a good fit :-)

She's also enrolled in a few Coursera courses...