Homeschooling Teens for Success
Homeschooling teens is different from homeschooling younger students. They are becoming adults and crave more control and independence, yet they still need accountability. Following are some tips for homeschooling teens that have worked well for many parents.
1. give them control of their environment
It can be tempting to insist that students do all their work from a desk or from the dining room table or some other designated “school” spot. In most cases, though, it doesn’t matter where they work, as long as the work gets done.
Let your teen have some control over their learning environment. The couch, the dining room, their bedroom, or the swing – let them work wherever they’re comfortable as long as the work is completed and acceptable. (Sometimes a table is more conducive to neat written work.)
If they like to listen to music while they work, let them as long as it isn’t a distraction. That being said, do draw the line at watching TV while doing schoolwork. No one can really concentrate on school and watch TV at the same time.
2. give them a voice in their curriculum
If you haven’t already been doing it, the teen years are an excellent time to begin handing curriculum choices over to your students. Allow them to choose their elective topics of study.
Sure, you may need to have some guidelines in place, particularly if you don’t have an especially motivated student or one who has a certain university with specific requirements in mind, but there is usually some wiggle room even within those guidelines.
3. allow them to manage their time
Whether your teens will be entering university, or the workforce after graduation, good time management is a skill they will need throughout life. High school is an excellent opportunity to learn those skills without such high stakes as might be encountered after graduation.
If they prefer it, you can still give your kids an assignment sheet each week. Just make sure they know that, for the most part, the order in which the assignments arranged are just a suggestion. As long as all of their work is completed by the end of the week, it shouldn’t be a big deal how they choose to complete it.
4. don’t expect them to start school at 8am
Studies have shown that a teenager’s circadian rhythm is different from a younger kid’s. Their bodies shift from needing to go to sleep around 8 or 9 pm to needing to go to sleep around 10 or 11 pm instead. This also means that their wake times need to shift.
One of the best benefits of homeschooling is being able to adjust schedules to meet your families’ needs. Many families may choose not to start school at 8 am. Perhaps starting at 11 am is better for your family, allowing for more time to wake up and get organised in the morning. Perhaps they even choose to work on school at night, after the house is quiet and distractions are few. It’s about finding the time that works best for them.
5. don’t expect them to go at it alone all of the time
From the time they’re young, families are working toward developing their student’s ability to work independently. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should expect them to go it alone all the time as soon as they reach high school. Most teens need the accountability of daily or weekly check-ins to ensure that their work is being completed and that they’re understanding it.
You may need to fill the role editor for writing assignments, marking misspelled words or grammar errors for corrections or making suggestions for improvements. It’s all part of the learning process.
6. embrace their passions
Use the high school years to allow teens to explore their passions and give them elective credit for doing so. Provide your teen with opportunities to explore their interests. Look for opportunities in the form of local sports and classes, homeschool groups and co-ops, online courses, and of course Euka’s range of electives.
Your kids may try an activity for a while and decide it’s not for them. In other cases, it could turn into a lifelong hobby or career. Either way, each experience allows for growth, opportunity and a better self-awareness for your teen.
7. help them find opportunities to serve in their community
Help your teen discover volunteer opportunities that mesh with their interests and abilities. The teen years are a prime time for young people to begin becoming actively involved in their local community in meaningful ways. Consider:
- Volunteering at a nursing home, kids’ program, homeless shelter, or animal shelter
- Interning or volunteering opportunities at a local business
- Becoming involved in local or state politics
- Using their talents to serve others (such as painting sets for a community theatre, or taking back-to-school photos for your homeschool group)
Teens may grumble about service opportunities at first, but most of them find that they enjoy helping others and giving back to their community more than they thought they would.
These tips can help you prepare your teens for life after high school and help them discover who they are as individuals.
Bales, Kris. “7 Tips for Homeschooling Teens.” ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, thoughtco.com/tips-for-homeschooling-teens-4111420.