Results of a recent reader survey indicated that folks are interested in hearing more from other homeschoolers, specifically those who are homeschooling tweens and teens. As a result, I am working on a series called Homeschool Voices: A Series of Personal Stories. This is the first post in the series.
Today, I would like to welcome Jen from Practical, By Default and thank her for joining us. Jen has been homeschooling for over ten years. Her site is loaded with practical information about homeschooling, working from home, recipes, and health and fitness. Today, Jen is talking about how homeschooling tweens and teens isn’t as scary as it sounds!
Fear Not: Homeschooling Tweens and Teens
It’s early morning and I am sitting here drinking my cup of coffee. As I watch my children drag out their books, check schedules, and head toward the computer or books for school, I must admit I am a little sad.
I miss the younger ages, when “school” was cuddling on the couch during reading out loud for history, science was racing outside exploring bugs, leaves, nature, and getting dirty, and I was needed.
When homeschooling tweens and teenagers seemed so far away and absolutely terrifying.
However, I made a mistake somewhere along the way and “so far away” turned into “right now.”
Homeschooling teenagers isn’t as bad as I expected it to be. My mind likes to blow molehills to mountains. While there have been many bad days as in every age, learning to enjoy each stage has been a blessing.
For those looking ahead and only seeing dark clouds, doom and gloom, I want to send some sunshine your way. Homeschooling older children isn’t as bad as you fear.
Here are 5 benefits of homeschooling tweens and teens:
1. You can have real conversations.
Now the children are older, they are able to hold onto and focus on one conversation and make the hop to a new one just like adults.
When they were little they asked question after question which was great except when you were trying to answer them you had to be short and to the point, otherwise they were off on the next bright shiny thing that had their attention. For this momma, it was hard to keep up.
I love using these conversations as a way to reinforce what they are learning. I know if they can explain it to me, they understand what they are learning.
2. Student-Led Learning is wonderful.
My children are able to talk about, discuss, and research their own curriculum choices with less guidance from me.
After stating what they are interested in learning, I find 4-5 different choices that suit not only fit our budget but also works with my working schedule, our family values, and their learning styles. At this point, I turn it back over to them. They can either chose something or veto them all and we begin again.
It is wonderful for them to have so much control over what they are learning, taking responsibility, and doing some of the research as well. Now they have a sincere interest in what they are learning and no longer just checking off boxes.
3. They are Self-Motivated and Responsible.
It is nice to see all those years of trying to teach the children to step up and take responsibility for their school work paying off.
For example, I don’t tell them when to start their school day or end it. They have a list of things to complete by the end of the week. When they complete it is up to them. This allows them to learn time management, be responsible, not procrastinate and more!
When they were younger this was all on me. However, as they have gotten older we have slowly added “good habits” and “training” to teach them these skills.
It is nice to see our hard work paying off. (No, this doesn’t mean the training is over, sigh! They are still kids!)
4. They really help around the house!
I have always believed in teaching the children life skills from a young age. Mostly because I hate cleaning and have no desire to do their house when they move out. Oh also because they are going to be adults one day and I want them to know how to cook, clean, pay bills, manage money and their lives. You know… all that fun adult stuff.
When they were little and washing dishes was “fun”you praised them like crazy then quickly re-washed the dishes when they weren’t looking because you actually wanted to eat off them. Those days are over! Yay!
Now when they are helping, it actually helps. You can eat the food they make (most times) and they can teach you new recipes. It is much more fun to hit the cookbooks with someone who won’t inadvertently try to burn the house down.
5. They still need you.
So don’t fret momma, yes they are getting older and wiser. Yes, they have an opinion on EVERYTHING and are happy to tell you. Asked or not.
I’ve made an effort to still include myself in their school day.
My daughter and I are learning ASL and are doing Art together.
My son and I do Language Arts together.
The three of us do history together even though it is a subject they don’t really need me there for.
In the mornings we meet at the table to discuss our plans for the day based on my work schedule, library trips, and other outings.
Sometimes, at the end of the day, they still need you. To listen. To help. To advise. To laugh or to play. And that is a great feeling after all.
Enjoy your little ones.
Enjoy your little ones, enjoy the “clean” dishes, the cuddles and even the dirt. Blink and it turns into laundry mess, dishes in the bedrooms and rolled eyes. It also turns into fun discussions, being led into amazing new adventures and watching all your hard work pay off!
Don’t be afraid to change…You may lose something good, but you may gain something better.
~ Author unknown
More posts from Practical, By Default
If you enjoyed this article, be sure to check out some of Jen’s other posts:
- How to Guard Your Homeschool Time as a Working Homeschool Mom
- How to Make Homeschooling & Working Outside the Home, Work for YOU!
- How to Make Reading Fun For Your Teenager
- How STEAM KIDS Sparked Learning Fun in My Kids
- How You Can Homeschool While Working- Finding Balance
- Jen’s Homeschooling Day in the Life (With 12, and 13 yr old)
- Returning to the Workforce as a Homeschool Mom