Next year my oldest daughter reaches high school. That's the beginning of a really big, momentous, grown-up phase in a person's life.
As long time home-schoolers, the question we inevitably get is will our daughter go to public high school. And our answer is that it is up to her. And it is. I've been talking to her about the various pros and cons between her three options: full-time public school, public school independent study (which can include taking classes on campus), or full-time home-school where we choose the program.
The pro to public school: she can participate in a group learning environment, hang out with friends, be taught by people who spend a lot of time teaching in their area of expertise. The con - sometimes the student environment is not good. There can be wasted class time, and there can be subjects being covered that we consider inappropriate.
Pro to independent study: can still participate in extra curricular activities, electives, etc., while having freedom to study at home in her own way. Cons: sometimes it's harder to grasp topics as you are essentially teaching yourself and have no one to discuss with.
Pro to homeschool: choose your own curriculum, work at your own pace, spend more time with the family, better environment (no swearing, making out, etc).
Cons: miss out on the extra-curricular and elective options, friend time - have to teach yourself. Some subjects either not an option, or are harder to do as a home-schooler.
It's been really hard for me to think through what I would even want her to choose. High School is kind of an iconic experience, still, although it's getting to be less so as more and more kids homeschool. But in our small town, if you want friends you pretty much have to be showing up at school every day. There are no alternatives.
I don't think it bothers me that she's going to spend less time with our family. I don't like it, but it's part of growing up and I have to learn to accept that I'm going to be seeing less of her. She's mine for a time, and then I have to let her go. It's my job to get her ready to fly.
Because of the impending high school decision, I've been reflecting on what I might still need to teach her in the next four years before she's an adult. Four years is a long time....but it's going to go by so quickly.
And you know, that means that technically there are only six year left of my second child before she flies the coop.
This is all going by much to fast.
I'm tempted to keep having children so that I never have to say good-bye and face an empty nest.