Here is a question I answered from the Aussie Homeschool Forum – thought I’d re-post my thoughts here too.
Question: Has anyone had their child do a “year 13″ because they didn’t have all the skills that you wanted them to, or hadn’t covered what you considered to be highly important topics by the time they had finished their 12th year?
Answer: Yes and No.
Our eldest, Joshua, – now 18yo – he has ‘finished’ homeschooling as far as the education department goes. He is studying externally doing a BA – History/Politics. He is doing well with that. He is doing two units per semester (recommended load as per the OUA) but he is also doing a ‘unit’ directed by us. He is ‘behind’ in his math so he is continuing with that. He was ‘behind’ in his science but considering he isn’t doing science type of study we’ve let him drop that. We also want him to continue with reading books from a Christian perspective on the topics he is studying at Uni so we have assigned him a reading list. He wanted to continue with his Rosetta Stone Latin and has started shorthand since he started his uni studies. We have also given him a bible study to continue with. We expect him to write one blog post a week (not happening consistently yet) and join us with Character studies and family devotions. He sets goals with these subjects and reports to me weekly on his progress. So even though he has graduated from homeschooling we are still involved in his further education both academically and skills wise.
Our daughter, Jessica, who is currently in ‘year 12′ as far as the system goes – is also behind in her math and science. But if she was in school she wouldn’t have chosen math/science subjects in year 11/12 – she would do home ec, business and in these things she excels. She has considered continuing her year 12 next year (because there is more she wants to learn in History especially) but I think it would be better for her (and her moving into adult life) to continue studies but not year 12 repeat. She doesn’t want to go to university but is interested in graphic arts, professional organising and business. I have a few home study courses on these things that she could do or she could go to TAFE (on location or online). She will also continue with her Bible study, math and reading regardless of whether she studies with these other courses or even gets a job.
We have taken the angle that yes, there are still things for them to learn – academic and skills wise but considering learning happens in our whole life, we can be involved and help them learn these things regardless of what else they do. I personally think repeating year 12 would be detrimental to their social integration into the adult world unless there was obvious reasons to do so. I think we really need to think through our reasons for thinking about getting them to repeat at this age – is it really about us and our ‘results’ as a homeschool family? Or do they really need these academic skills before they can do anything else? The real question is – Can I help them move on to the next phase of their life, acknowledging they still have things to learn? Can we continue to work together? The training of our children doesn’t stop at the end of year 12 but it will look different.