by Dinah Whitton

It’s been a few years since our family started homeschooling and the journey has been eventful, to say the least. Now our homeschool adventure continues as we embark on another academic year at home. Our oldest student is blazing the trail for her siblings, and we’re all taking notes from the lessons learned from our resident homeschool highschooler.

After Ebony’s first year of middle school, it became abundantly clear that home education was a better choice for our family. Fast forward a few years and she’s about to enter grade 10 and we’ve both learned a lot. Recently we sat down and had a little chat about her first year of high school as she gets ready for grade 10.

What did you think high school was going to be like?

Fun and exciting! I was looking forward to meeting new friends and learning new things. I actually thought school work would be easier with online courses. 

What was it really like?

A punch in the gut! At first it was hard and not fun, even though I learned new things. 

What did you like and dislike about your first year of high school?

I really liked that my friends supported me by encouraging me to finish the year strong. I have a really great homeschool study group that helped. Math and history were the hardest subjects to learn in the beginning.

What was the most important lesson you learned?

Don’t lag behind. I missed out on hanging out with my friends in the summer because I was trying to catch up from when I lagged behind earlier in the school year.

Do you think there is more pressure for homeschool high school students?

There is still some kind of pressure when you’re homeschooled because you have to stay self-motivated and you can’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s not like in public school where you’re one of many students and teachers can’t always get to you when you need them. 

What are you looking forward to in Grade 10?

I’m looking forward to trying a new online program where I have to attend virtual classes at a specific time. I got used to a set school schedule before high school, so when I switched to a more flexible program I moved at a slower pace because I thought I had lots of time to catch up. I’m hoping this new schedule will help me to stay on track and work toward my goal of going to college.

What advice do you have for homeschool students starting grade 9?

Don’t underestimate high school. Be ready, be prepared, get up and just do the work. It’s worth it to keep pushing forward. Even though you can work at your own pace, pick up the pace to stay ahead.

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