High Schoolers as Persons

My friend Sandy and I have been having a discussion about high school students.  Her oldest is just entering this stage while two of mine have already passed through.  We've witnessed an interesting phenomena among homeschoolers when it comes to these years.  That is, a certain detachment between teacher and student, parent and child.  It appears their goal is to get their student to be so self-contained that they (the parent) are free to tend to other students or things.  Here are some of the things we've heard:

-I want them to be self-reliant
-I want them to be self-motivated
-I want them to do everything independently

While we want them to become more mature and to branch out into other areas of interest without hovering over them, why would we stop having that wonderful relationship between teacher and student, parent and older child?   Is this confusion over what "self-education" means?  Haven't we raised them so that we can have that mature relationship that includes discussing the Great Ideas?

"Just because they are in high school, doesn't mean you stop treating them as persons." 

Mason's foundational principles are just as important during high school as they were in elementary school.  Is getting them a computer for their room and having them do all their work in a separate location treating them as persons?  Is having them do independent course work without any involvement from you treating them as persons?  How about scheduling their free time to the hilt?

"But it is because we are importing into modern education hurry, worry, and anxiety, selfishness, competition, and feverish desire for success, prize-winning, place-winning, and mark-winning, all tending year by year to grow in intensity and to become more powerful agents, that I see and foresee injury to health, degradation of intellect, and a departure from a true ideal of education." - Dr. Pridgin Teale, Parents' Review, 1892

 I believe that we have to go back to Mason's first principle, "Children are born persons" and continue to apply it to our children, young or old.  I believe that because I think it makes a marked difference. What do you think?


  1. Yes, agreed! I love to have my oldest(14) so much apart of our study-time.. can't imagine it any other way.. she contributes so much to our discussions, and the rest of the kids are learning from her.

  2. My husband and I also love the close relationship we have with our 25 yr.old son, 23 yr. old daughter, 20 yr. old (this one lives here at home), and so on. There is no detachment; however distance and their work does keep them quite busy. Growing up in a family that is not close has made me long for one that is. It is a blessing.

  3. I think this detachment happened more with teen son than teen daughter. Hopefully we will re-attach in the near future but these are difficult years for my 16 yo son. Thanks for bringing this up. I need to be sure to keep that conversation going with my older children.
    Preparing them to leave does not mean you have to cut all your ties.
    Perhaps we are too eager to make them independent thinking this is how to get them ready for college.

  4. This was a tough one for us. Our son really wanted to try high school, so is doing his last two years in a public high school. Even so, we still have a close relationship. While we may not be actively teaching him in his core academics, we are guiding him through life transitions:

    * He is going on a mission trip to Haiti, so we guided him through the process of building a spreadsheet with addresses, writing formal letters, mail merge, accounting for all the donations, reconciling to make sure it all added up, etc.

    * He put in an application to the Citadel and we reviewed it and gave him input before he submitted it online.

    * He just got his driver's permit and we are spending a lot of time with him in the car, talking through how to handle certain situations.

    * He wanted to read some good books during the summer on the topic of totalitarianism, so we have been discussing Animal Farm and are about to start 1984.

  5. I can't speak by experience, but I believe you made a great point there. I once heard that something great about homeschooling them it's the fact that when they are in high school we can discuss those great ideas with them exactly as you say.
    I'm with you, there seems to be confusion between true independence and getting someone 'out of your way'. That balance is still a parenting responsibility to find, but it's good to know that you are up for closeness no matter their age. Ah, and I like that you say that sometimes we over schedule their free time, ...it seems that the same 'ghosts' affect us in the early and later years ;)
    It's a privilege to have people like you to hear about these things to come.

  6. Hi! I found your blog through this week's Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival!
    I absolutely agree with this! God created us in His image for relationship with Him and others, and that is one reason I have always loved Charlotte Mason's methods.