Looking for balance while homeschooling your teen through high school?
A balanced view would be to find subjects, skills and activities that inspire, feed and grow your child in Head, Hands and Heart.
“He who works with his hands is a laborer. He who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman. He who works with his hands and his head and his heart is an artist.”
-Attributed to St. Francis of Assisi
We should look for ways that encourage our teens to grow in every area instead of simply focusing on academics. But since academics are what most parents consider most important, let’s start here ~ Head.
Here are some questions you and your teen should consider:
- What does your state/ country require for highschool graduation?
- What further study/ career does your teen intend to follow after school?
- What are their aptitudes? (Do online tests to find out.)
- What curriculums/ courses/ credits are available for your teen?
- What are their learning styles?
- Do they prefer online studies/ tutors/ peer study groups/ working alone?
Once you have answered most of these questions, you will then need to fine-tune your teen’s high school course, and select the subjects, course material and accreditation methods that best meet your child’s preferences, as well as your state’s/ country’s requirements.
May I suggest that school academics should not overshadow your homeschooling approach. Please leave large margins around your teen’s schedule and give them space, options and encouragement to also follow their own interests and passions, such as investigating other career options, to read a wide variety of books, or delve into interest-led subjects besides those the state or country may emphasise. Aim to provide living books that feed their mind and soul, in Charlotte Mason style, instead of sticking to “safe”, but dry, fact-based textbooks.
Now, let’s discuss Hands ~
We should aim to educate our teens in lifestyle and life skills. All teens should manage to work with their hands, make things, create art, fix and repair things, work safely and effectively with tools and equipment. Give them opportunities to learn and master life skills from simple chores, to running a household. Teach them how to do their own washing, ironing, plan and cook meals, as well as baking, sewing, mending, also cover basic car mechanics, etc. Teach them how to use power tools such as drills, saws, etc. Include your teens in DIY projects. Include charities and missions or service to others in some of these hands-on skills, such as mowing lawns, washing windows or servicing cars for neighbours, single moms or the elderly. Many teens can earn extra pocket-money with these skills. And who knows, they may even build an entrepreneur business out of this skill-set!
Allow them creatively experiment with arts and crafts, use new mediums, use different materials, copy masters. Encourage your children to build things, from Lego robotics, to building a treehouse for a sibling. Again, offer your teen a variety of opportunities to grow and develop themselves outside of “head-stuff” in books, tests and exam results.
Lastly, let’s talk about Hearts ~
Homeschooling your teen is a ministry to their whole person; body, soul and spirit. Many schools and parents focus heavily on “thinking” and “doing”, but don’t concentrate on who the teenager is “becoming.” Engage in your teen’s heart. Build their faith, encourage their prayer life, secure their knowledge of their basic doctrines and allow them to discover and develop their unique calling, gifting and ministry in life. Again, provide a margin of time in their schedule to attend youth groups,go on church camps, outings, join ministries, support missionaries, go on outreaches, be involved in worship teams, lead children’s groups, and so on, if possible. Encourage your teen to watch faith-building movies and read inspiring books. Inspire a relationship with them that allows you to hear their spiritual views, thoughts and hopes.
Homeschooling allows you to tailor-make your child’s education, and I suggest that you and your teen collaborate when planning their high school journey. And after early years of delight-directed, happy homeschooling, don’t choose a path that is dull, dry or dead just to “graduate”. Aim for balance.
What aspects do you recommend? How do you manage to include a balanced, wholesome approach to your highschool homeschooling? Please share with us in the comments.
In Grace, Nadene