I am really feeling torn here. I've been sensing this coming for a long time. My 12 year old has been learning without school, following his own lead, from the beginning. There have been times when we did some structured academic stuff, but always at his own asking and with his full cooperation. He has taken a lot of classes that he has enjoyed and loved, but it's always been his own choosing, on things that he was currently interested in.
For the past, I would say almost two years, I have been sensing that he has wanted something more. Something more structured and academic. This has correlated with becoming closer friends with kids in public school and having less and less friends his age who homeschool. We used to have so many friends who homeschooled also, and now, he has ONE friend that he sees regularly that is his age and is homeschooled. He has a lot of friends, and he is very active in activities, but they ALL go to school. He has said in the past things like, maybe I'd like to try high school so that I will be prepared for college. But every time I ask him if he wants to keep homeschooling, or if like homeschooling, he has always said yet. Recently, he has been spending a lot of time with some of his public school friends, and I think seeing more of the social stuff and seeing things that they do, and I think he feels like he is missing out. And they have said to him that he should come to public school (the power of peers). And so now he says that he would like to go to school next year to see what it's like. I honestly don't think, well I know, that he really can't comprehend how different his life would be, and how he really gets to do so many things that he loves to do now, and have a pretty relaxed, enjoyable time doing all of it. So I am really torn. I want to continue to let him follow his lead but at the same time I feel like he needs something more, and has been asking for something more structured.
So he has set up a schedule where he will do certain subjects for a certain amount of time every day, starting at 9 am until 2 pm, with an hour for lunch. And now all of a sudden I feel like I am going from unschooling to Well-Trained Mind in one weekend. He wants to start on Monday and he has all the subjects lined up. I really want to give him what he needs, but I am feeling so unsure all over again. It's like I had such great confidence in homeschooling up to now, at the amazing process of learning, at how he knows everything and more that his friends do, and yet, he's never been to school, it has all been through a process that he was in control of all along. And now, I feel like I am treading in uncharted waters like a brand new homeschooler, unsure what to do with my child at 9:00 on Monday morning.
What I want to be sure that I don't do is to spend this time trying to convince him how great homeschooling is and why he shouldn't go to school. But of course, that's what I really want to do! So I will need to hold myself back in that regard.
Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading!