Transition to Adolescence: What to do when your child wants to go to high school
© Beverley Paine July 2001
The following question came up on the Learning Naturally online support group:
"I'm really struggling with the idea of getting my eleven year old ready for high school. She has made the decision to start year 7 with her school friends the year after next. Her Dad says she should go for the last year of Primary school to get back into the swing of things..."
It's not unusual for children starting to go through puberty to have transition issues. Transition issues beset us throughout life and can cause a great deal of anxiety, especially if they go unrecognised. You might recognise them as that unsettled feeling you get as one project winds up and you are keen to get started on the next. The old project often sits around unfinished because you have lost enthusiasm, having learned the major lessons. You might berate yourself for not getting on with it, and curse it for holding you back.
There's a good chance this eleven year old is experiencing similar emotions as her body sends her clear signals she's moving on and needs to leave old ways of being behind.
After five decades of living I've discovered I'm safer sitting still and not making any decisions while I'm in a transition state. The answers will come in their own time. It's like waiting for the baby's new teeth to erupt. Waiting is unpleasant and uncomfortable but all will be well eventually. We can't hurry the process. The best we can do is accept that this is a transition stage - somewhere between two places in our lives - and that when the time comes we'll know what it is we're supposed to do. In this way we are the ones that find our answers - they aren't centred elsewhere.
In this cae, it's my experience, gleaned both personally and from the stories of other homeschoolers that have combined school and homeschooling, or who have had children go back to school, that it is unnecessary to prepare for high school by sending a child to year 7. I can't see any benefit at all deriving from this - except perhaps to put the child off from her intended course of action!
The mother would be better off encouraging the child to concentrate on her writing and any other areas she feels she is 'behind' in at home. Natural learning experience has convinced me that many children really start to put the 'academics' together during their early teens - often not until age 14. This is when they begin to focus on whatever it is they want to do in early adult life and have developed sufficient self-motivation to knuckle under and do things they don't necessarily want to do but feel the need to do...
If the child is already a competent writer (or in any other subject area), there is a good chance the year of preparation in year 7 will only hamper her natural progress, or worse still, set her back as she dumbs herself down to be acceptable socially with her peers. The freedom to explore her natural talents could well disappear. Freedom is essential to creativity! And creativity is essential to writers... and mathematicians, scientists, artists. Our children need the freedom we can provide in the home to fully explore their talents and abilities.
To appease the child's worries (and those of others) it may be a good idea to put together some strategies for concentrating on areas of academic need. A few hours a week studying something like spelling or grammar or maths, or oral presentation, report writing, etc will soon see her advance beyond her same aged peers. In fact, intensive study in any one area like this will put her ahead of most high school students, if she really wants and needs to accomplish these skills...
If she's still keen on going to school in ay year or two, help her to research what subjects year 8 students cover. This might involve trekking off to a high school book supplier. Having a look at what she will be doing is a great way to build confidence, or identify areas that need work. It's silly worrying about things you don't need to...
Once again I urge the practice of record keeping (see the article index for a host of articles on record keeping). It's the only way to 'see' the learning that is occuring in every day life without resorting to overt teaching. Translating everyday life into subject headings, concepts, skills, etc may alleviate the need to go to school at all.
My eldest went to high school and in hindsight wrote that it would have been better had she become involved more in the community - in any way at all - to satisfy her social needs. School was a huge disappointment in that regard. It is best to find more natural solutions for a child's social life during adolescence.
I think it would help both the child and the parents if they stopped comparing school and home school. Just forget about what is going to happen in the future and focus more on what they each want to get out of each day as it happens now!
As home educators we often fall into the trap of worrying what others will think of us - we're frightened we'll be judged as failures or negligent. I constantly seek reassurance from my now adult homeschoolers on this issue. We need to be aware of our need but not let it drive us when making important decisions.
Our children are the only ones we need to be answerable to, now and in the future. Our job is to identify and meet their needs as they arise, not their perceived future ones because the future isn't written yet!
Was this article helpful? Was it worth $1.00 to you?
Your gift of $1 or more helps to keep this site operating
and reassurance to families
better outcomes for their children.
Beverley Paine with her children, and their home educated children, relaxing at home.
Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active support of national, state, regional and local home education groups.
"You've been an inspiration to me, I love the way
you really listen to people." Vanessa
"Whenever I read your writing I always come away
with increased confidence in my ability to provide and
share a wonderful learning journey with my family!" Davina
"Your guidance, understanding, support and words of
wisdom changed our lives. We now offer support and
organise many homeschooling events for others." Lesley
"Thank you once again for your prompt and friendly service.
I am convinced that your books are going to add
quality and peace of mind to my journey of teaching my kids
at home! Just from studying your website, until almost
in the morning, I 've been encouraged!" Louisa
"Thank you for all your many,many reassuring words
over many, many years. You probably don't know exactly how
valuable you are to the Australian Home Education community.
I've been reading your stuff for maybe 8 years or more now.
And I'm very grateful." Gythaa
I am currently giving this site a much needed facelift!
If you experience difficultiess accessing any page can you
please email me the link? Thank you.
Welcome to the
World of Home Education and
Learning without School!
We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine
The information on this website is of
a general nature only and is not intended
as personal or professional advice.
This site merges and incorporates 'Homeschool Australia' and 'Unschool Australia'.
Advertise with The Educating Parent
||DIY Getting Started with Home Schooling Pack
Beverley Paine's best selling comprehensive common sense manual detailing how to write your own curriculum tailored to your children's educational needs
PLUS 9 of Beverley's popular practical home educating series booklets!
Great value $60
and Unschooling Pack
Each Pack contains a copy of the following:
Natural Learning Answers
A5 or A4
Learning Naturally Diary
Learning Maths Naturally
A Sample Approved Natural Learning Program and Review
Only $29 or $33
Home education is a legal alternative
to school education in Australia.
State and Territory governments are responsible
for regulating home education and have different
requirements, however home educating families
are able to develop curriculum and learning programs
to suit the individual needs of their children.
Without revenue from advertising
by educational suppliers and Google Ads
we could not continue to provide information
to home educators. Please support us by letting
our advertisers know that you found them on
The Educating Parent. Thanks!