Year 13? To graduate or to repeat

by Belinda Letchford


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.

3 Comments to “Year 13? To graduate or to repeat”

  1. Excellent encouraging post. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Hi there, I am interested in this post……I have two kids entering into this phase……we have had a tricky and unorthodox (even for Homeschoolers) three years leading up to my oldest’s yr 11/ 12. We went over 3 years to Russia/UK/Scotland/Manila and performed in Tattoos and Missionary trips for over 6 months in total school time. So he was “behind” academically, although in life skills and experience I believe advanced……..

    I was fortunate to find an Open Access College here in SA, whose beliefs academically and in personal growth) were so similar to mine I could not help but be HAPPY! They were excited and pleased to accommodate my families diff learning style and personal “bents” and they even allowed Josh to use his experiences towards his Yr 11 and 12 points. It was a great personal joy to see the “system” actually acknowledging his learning curves and experiences, it has surely changed from my Yr 12 with 5 huge subjects that seemed to have little to do with my real life……..

    So Josh has actually extended Year 11, 12 and will complete it in Yr 13, he will be 19……….yes he is older, but then when he goes to university (He wants to do Engineering) he will be a bit more mature and hopefully ready for his Uni days, spiritually as well…….as well as school he is now Music leading in church and his spiritual life is being developed too……that is important to us!

    I believe that the school system must must must be a slave not a master, even if you mainstream educate…….it should not assume all kids are cookie cutter learners and need to embrace individual learning styles and family experiences…….I think we as parents (schooled or homeschooled) can get hooked on ages, but I think even schools are gradually acknowledging that things must change in order to get our kids prepared for REAL life……

    Age is a moot point in my family…………readiness for LIFE and helping them face the garbage and evil that will cascade over them when they go to uni is vital… point in sheltering them so much they will buckle and be ripped apart in Uni………what is also really great nowadays too is that Uni contact is now optional using internet etc………that can only be an advantage!!!

    In the end we have to do what we feel is right for our kids and family! But it so good to read other’s experiences and how they reach the decisions they do…..


    • Hi Cathy – wow what wonderful experiences. It is good to read how Aussie homeschoolers are getting through highschool and into further education and employment.

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