My confidence as a homeschool mom has been challenged by each high schooler as we navigate their choices, attitudes, approaches and decisions for their final three years of their education. May I share some of my experiences as I transition through this phase again with my youngest child?
Most teenagers automatically want to work more independently. The shift may be gradual, or sudden. Prepare for this change by gradually handing over subjects, work space and time schedules to your junior highschooler.
- prefers working alone in their room.
- works sitting cross-legged on a bed or lying down(!) rather than sitting at a desk.
- prefers to work late mornings or afternoons rather than starting early.
- seeks out peer support rather than turning to mom or dad when facing struggles.
- choses to work through the curriculum subject-by-subject rather than lessons across all the subjects.
- needs to have music playing while doing schoolwork or chores.
- is reluctant to pretend to be interested in some subjects and may refuse to do certain subjects.
- wants their schoolwork to be relevant and real, rather than purely academic. They still enjoy hands-on work, be it practical activities or Science experiments.
- stays up later at night.
- wants to work without help, advice or mom’s presence, even if they are uncertain or confused.
- needs tutoring rather than teaching; coming for specific help with a topic or method rather than having the whole lesson explained. I confess that I frustrate my daughters in covering and teaching too much! They just need a little help and then want go back to working independently. Obviously, if they are really stuck, then I insist on going through the work thoroughly.
- As your child approaches high school, you and your teen need to collaborate on what they want to study and how they prefer to study.
- While some children know what their future hopes or career may be, others may need to do online aptitude tests to help determine their best options for career and purpose. This is a stressful and uncertain period in a young teenager’s life. These test results can help your child chose the best subjects and courses to graduate highschool with the credits needed to study further.
- Depending on your child, you may need daily or weekly checks where you check their work, and assign new work, or sign off work.
- Use a Google calendar where your teenager can sign in to their account to view their schedule, or use Homeschool Tracker or some other program where they can upload their assignments and log their work. A good old-fashioned timetable or printed out schedule works just fine too!
- Give your teenager time to work through different options, trying each out to find what works best for them. My daughters all prefered to work with ring binders, but some subjects work best in hardcover books instead. Some prefer to type and print their work on the computer, others prefer to work online. Give them time to try and maybe change their minds in the first few weeks. Then stick to the best option and make it work.
- Set the standards and encourage your teen to raise their standard to meet the requirements for high school.
- Be firm about how their work is presented or how detailed their notes should be. Phase this in as they start their new work. Encourage them to improve as they master the basics.
- Prepare a school work and storage space in their chosen study spot. You may need to find a storage box or basket, bookshelf and stylish table or desk that suits their style and their room.
- Encourage your teen to make the work their own. They should put their best into their work.
- Add relevant extra subjects and skills to prepare them for life. Cooking, learning to drive, washing & ironing, mending and sewing, fixing and repairing, accounting and budgets, volunteering, and working part-time jobs are all vital experiences at this stage.
- Stay out of the way! It is a time to learn to stand in the wings. This has been hard for me and I have struggled feeling that I am not effective in my homeschooling and I not in control at times.
Our study/schoolroom is now a craft and creative space. Our notice boards and educational posters are packed away and I hung up a pretty, decorative mobile instead of our educational ones. Our current art is up and the relevant books are still on our bookshelves, but the room has “grown up”!
Moms, at this stage, you will have more time on your hands. This is a perfect time to develop and grow yourself too! You can include some creative hobbies, private work and new interests and goals to your days. All too soon your teen will be independent and may leave the nest. This is the season for you to prepare to be complete without your “homeschool mom” role. As my last child enters this final stage of her homeschooling, I am aware of my days expanding to include things other than homeschool. It is a new shift and change and it is good.
All in grace, Nadene