“Standing in the Wings”
It is such a lovely view of a homeschool parent of young adults and teens, that I thought about my own shifts and changes from this new perspective …
No longer stand centre stage
When I started homeschooling my toddler, I enthusiastically led our homeschooling with dynamic activities and creative ideas . I was very involved, very focussed, and very much in the spotlight. My children, although the stars of the show, moved according to my directions, followed the scenes I laid out and progressed according to my timing and planning. It took a few meltdowns, both theirs and mine, to learn to relax and follow their lead and let them learn at their pace and in their own way.
By the time they started primary or middle school I learnt to ask my children what they wanted to learn and how they wanted to present their learning — to tailor-make their learning. I moved out of the spotlight and enjoyed seeing them make their learning experiences their own.
This is vital when raising teens. They want their parents to fade into the background and not be centre stage. It is a humbling experience to realise that our best efforts are sometimes intrusive and offensive to emerging adults.
Back off gracefully and yet be present and available. For me, this is a humbling and sometimes uncertain role.
Stand in the wings
As we move off centre stage we find ourselves standing in the wings. I realized that much of what makes a play a success is due to the people and their roles out of sight, behind the curtains. How does this apply in homeschooling young adults?
Lighting …nothing on stage can be seen without good lighting, and lighting often adds to the mood and tone of a scene. The Word of God is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. We should share the Word with our children. As parents we have a better overview and can guide our teens through their turbulent changes and decisions. We can be effective sounding boards and encourage our teens to hear from the Lord themselves. I have learnt to answer their deep and probing questions with, “What does your own heart tell you?”
Prompt … Someone who knows the script is standing ready to whisper the forgotten lines or cues to an actor who may flounder on stage. We back up our teens with prompts to prepare for exams, take the time to help them practice skills needed such as driving lessons, or preparing for job interviews. We back them up and champion them in their endeavours. They should always know that we are there for them unconditionally.
Props … all those items needed to set a scene or provide reality to the acting. We should provide the opportunity for teens to shine in their own abilities, to discover their talents and passions. Give teens real life skills and provide the necessary materials, lessons, experiences, and opportunities. Give teens the tools to learn to bake or build a computer, start an online business or venture into an entrepreneur projects, learn to drive a car or sew with a overlocker … these are valuable skills and experiences that can open options for a job or a career.
Our children are the stars of their own lives. Homeschooling teens is sometimes challenging, yet absolutely amazing! I stand in awe of who my young adults are becoming! They are emerging and developing into beautiful young women!
I am so grateful for the mentorship of fellow veteran homeschoolers, dear personal friends, as well as wisdom gained from those who share with others via the Internet. What advice can you give parents of teens and young adults as move towards independence?
In Grace, Nadene