Educating kids during pandemic restrictions was challenging for many families. Closures and mandates created some missed opportunities. My son has just completed his senior year but feels he did not meet all of his academic goals. Instead of graduating, he is continuing to homeschool as a super senior.
An average student attends four years of high school instruction and graduates at the age of 17-18 years old. A super senior delays graduation for a fifth year of high school.
I first heard of the idea of a super senior when reviewing The HomeScholar. During a training video, Lee Binz offered some helpful considerations in deciding to homeschool a super senior and how to record the year on transcripts.
Most students look forward to that final year of school. They are ready to graduate and take the next step toward individual independence. If they feel held back, they are not going to be cooperative during a fifth high school year. I took a lot of time prayerfully considering if my son should move toward college, take a gap year, or be a super senior. He has been fully involved in the decision.
I often describe Sam as my left-brain introvert. He is crazy smart and can be absolutely hysterical without even trying. He’s pretty quiet around new people and places, so it can take a while for an acquaintance to see his fun personality.
When the pandemic began in 2020 the world felt like it had shut down. Our home state is one that experienced a lot of restrictions and government mandates. We were directed to “shelter at home.” While that might seem like an introvert’s dream or the stereotype of homeschooling, we were affected. We struggled with pandemic schooling, just like everyone else.
In our state, school attendance and graduation requirements changed for public school students. There were no changes for homeschoolers. We had to meet our yearly hours of instruction and administer yearly testing. Although we were able to do this with our established curriculum, and testing services of Family Learning Organization, we lost community resources and activities.
Government mandates felt like an emotional roller coaster at times. A yo-yo of changes. Kids and adults alike experienced social challenges from mask mandates, social distancing, and vaccination directives. Public schools and colleges were either closed or operating online. A plan for Sam to attend Running Start, a dual credit enrollment program, had to be abandoned.
The last two years have felt full of missed opportunities for Sam. Both academically and socially. Although he wants to graduate, he recognizes the benefits of a super senior year. He cannot get back every missed opportunity, but together we can set goals and make a new plan. With mandates lifted, he’s pursuing fall enrollment into Running Start.
A super senior year is not for every student. I’m thankful Sam is willing to delay graduation to meet his goals and be better prepared for advanced education.