As the homeschool movement grows and matures, more and more teenagers are learning in a homeschool setting. They’re doing work through online charter schools, correspondence courses, or working through a homeschooling curriculum, or simply learning at home by whatever works for them and their family. There is an amazing variety of ways to homeschool your teen. Homeschooling younger children isn’t easy, and then teens bring their own, different challenges. Here are a few issues that you might find while homeschooling teens, and hopefully a few helpful suggestions.
Problem: Your Teen Has School Induced Issues
If you’ve extracted your child from the clutches of a dysfunctional public school system, it’s likely that they have all sorts of emotions and habits and mental blocks concerning learning. Even though they’re older, they still need that “detox” time when they leave public school. This can make everyone frantic, because if your kid wants to finish up coursework and apply for a diploma on the public school dictated schedule, it often feels like there’s no time to waste goofing off.
Solution: You Have The Time You Need
My best advice is to take a deep breath and think calmly about what will happen if your teen doesn’t completely finish all of her or his high school diploma at exactly the schedule dictated by public school. Even public schools often allow kids to take an extra year if needed. And many colleges accept homeschooled students who don’t even have state issued high school diplomas. Research the options and you may find that the situation is not as panic-inducing as it first appears.
Solution: Homeschool is Flexible
But what if you really, absolutely have to have it done on time? Homeschooling is flexible. After your teen gets some detox time, they can double up on work, have some longer school days, work on Saturday mornings or whenever is best for them. You’ll probably find that they’re moving through their material faster at home than they would at public school, simply because they’re not shuffling from classroom to classroom or spending time at assemblies, rallies, or spending the first 15 minutes of every class listening to roll call and announcements.
Problem: Your Teen Feels Socially Isolated
The longer you homeschool, the smaller the number of kids of similar age at homeschool support groups, park days, and etc. This can make even a veteran homeschooler feel isolated and as if they’re missing out on important teen experiences.
Solution: Do Things in the Community
Now more than ever is a good time in your child’s life to make sure they’re participating in activities in their interest areas. 4-H (not just farming!), Civil Air Patrol, Young Marines, Sierra Club, Scouting, Anime club, etc., there’s probably something out there for your kid to do. Make sure they get there!
Solution: Make your Own Things to Do
If you really live somewhere dismal, it might be the time now to start your own support group or club. It doesn’t have to be all homeschooling kids. Start a teen reading group at your local library. Work with an established organization that doesn’t yet have a teen presence and get them to be more inclusive of younger people. Finally, there’s the Internet. There are myriad ways for your kids to socialize on the Internet that can be fun and safe with proper parental oversight.
Problem: She Can’t Do This Work, and Neither Can I
If your teen is struggling in a subject and you don’t feel up to tutoring it.
Solution: Tutoring and Homework Help
Check around for tutoring services. While some can be quite expensive, there are often college students or advanced high school students lurking around who might be able to help you out. Maybe someone you know is a retired teacher and knows one. And don’t forget to check YouTube. There are many educational and tutorial videos on almost any subject you can dream of there.
Problem: Family Drama
Close quarters with even the most laid back of teens can bring drama to even peaceful households.
Solution: Family Meetings
Try holding regular family meetings, where everyone can make their feelings and concerns heard. Keep the tone positive, make sure to mention the good along with the bad, and resist the urge to minimize your teens’ concerns. Let them talk. You’ll be amazed at how awesome and thoughtful they really are. It may take some time for them to open up. It takes patience, but it’s well worth it in terms of your relationship with your kids and helping to promote the general family welfare.
Don’t hesitate to seek help with a homeschool friendly family counselor, pastor, or other social services provider if you feel you have issues that are too much to handle alone. Teen years can be tricky to navigate, even for the most attentive parents. You don’t have to do it alone.
I hope you’ve found this helpful. Bon voyage in your teen homeschooling adventures, and feel free to ask me questions about how we do things here at Rebel Homeschool. I’m totally full of suggestions waiting to be unleashed on the world.