As a teenager, the whole world is opening up to you, there are so many new experiences and the last thing you want to do is school! How do you motivate your child, be there for them and yet trust them and give them some freedom, and keep them from falling away? As I am still in the elementary school years, I reached out to my mom, a veteran homeschooler who has successfully homeschooled all 5 of her kids! Check out this list of the 5 main things you need to know to get through the home stretch of homeschooling teens!
1. Choose strong curriculum
Most parents worry about homeschooling their students through middle and high school because they aren’t confident they can teach the higher grades. This is a valid concern but there are many options for you if you are in this boat.
- Online School: many schools offer online courses or classes to make sure your child is being taught from a knowledgeable source. Check out this online school option if you want more info.
- Co-ops: We did a number of co-ops for grade 10-12 (even when we were much younger than that). If you are connected with a homeschool group, ask around if anyone has a degree in anything or has skills they can pass on. We had one of the homeschool moms with her Bachelor of Science teach a bunch of us high school science and it was fantastic!
- Choose Strong Curriculum: If you are weak in LA or math, make sure you choose a strong curriculum that will help compensate and built your confidence. Take a look at the Master Homeschool List or take the free Curriculum Course to find some great suggestions for your family.
2. Master the fine art of letting go
Although most teenagers want space and independence, to break away from mom and dad… it is a fine art. You want to let go of the reigns a bit, give them some space and freedom and most of all, your trust. But you also want to be there for them, unobtrusive, a listening ear, a helping hand as they step out into adulthood.
How do you do this? Get involved! Get involved in their youth group, go skiing with them, take them out shopping or to movies. Find out what they enjoy and meet them where they are at!
Have their friends over! This is a big one but not always easy. At times you may just want your house to yourself, feel like you are getting eaten out of house and home, but it is so worth it! It is the best way to stay involved, know your kids’ friends, stay in the loop and keep the lines of communication open.
3. Help them stay motivated
Easier said than done, but there are a few techniques to help you along the way. You are transitioning from doing everything with and for your child to giving them the tools to do it themselves. Being able to set realistic goals and follow through with them is a skill that will serve them so well through college and adulthood!
The key is to sit down with them at the beginning of the week, help them figure out what they need to do and fill in a planner for them (definitely worth investing in a planner or join the Planner Circle here!). Then figure out if those goals are realistic with all the other activities you have happening and what they want to fit in that week and come up with some natural consequences if they don’t finish that work.
Don’t sweat the day-to-day accomplishments, this is where some of that trust comes in to play. Give them the space to figure it out and discover the consequences if they leave it until the last minute or don’t get it done at all. Sit down at the end of the week to see if the goals were met, and if not the consequence can come into play (no weekend activity, take away the phone or TV time, etc.).
4. Buy or borrow these three books:
These are amazing books and a resource you will turn to over and over. If you have a kindle or ipad, you can get them on your reader as ebooks as well.
5. Keep them busy!
“Idle hands are the devils workshop” Proverbs 16:27
My brother worked almost full time through most of his high school and school took a backseat. He needed to be busy not sitting at a desk! In a few years he was ready to just get what he needed to get done, done and finished grade 11 and 12 in 1 year. Sometimes, especially with boys, they just need to work!
If working isn’t an option for your family or just too much of a stretch, look into some extracurricular activities, youth group events,volunteer work, etc. to keep them busy. Volunteering and giving back boosts their self confidence and helps to take the focus off them and onto someone else. They have something to offer, they are of worth and value to others!
Run the Good Race!
If you are walking this path, homeschooling a teen… be encouraged! I was homeschooled, I made it through! I wouldn’t trade it for the world and I think it helped prepare me for life after school in a way that the bubble of public school never could. I am so close with my family, I had confidence not just in dealing and communicating with my peers, but with any age range. I was stable in my faith and my values and I knew what I wanted (even when I didn’t). You can do this and the reward will be great!
If you have tips and tricks or thoughts for the journey, I’d love to hear about them!
*Thanks to my mom, a homeschool superstar, for homeschooling me and my 5 siblings. For putting up with me, even as a teenager, for believing in me, and for letting me pick her brain for this post!