Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Homeschooling Teens

In an effort to be honest and transparent, I have to say that homeschooling teens is....challenging. I have a 14 y.o. girl and 18 y.o boy still at home, and have graduated two older ones who are off on their own. I love all my kids to pieces, and am convinced that learning at home is a much better environment than the p.s. alternative. But it takes a strong dose of courage and fortitude to navigate the teen years.

Academics isn't really the difficult part of homeschooling a high schooler. I take full advantage of opportunities for group learning within the homeschool community and at our community colleges. History, writing, literature, geography, art - these are all things that I am comfortable handling at home. We have been blessed to find once a week classes or small co-ops for high school sciences, math, and foreign language. One son did an online computer programming course. My daughter took a challenging Christian worldview and logic class with a local homeschool dad. The 3 older kids all took several classes at the community college under the dual enrollment program, which allows high schoolers age 16 and up to take college courses for simultaneous high school and college credit.

The tricky part is navigating the parent/child relationship as your children move from childhood to young adulthood. This is probably a universal challenge for all parents, but I think it might be magnified for homeschoolers because we spend so much time with our kids! I have found that my boys, in particular, become a bit intolerant of mother's requests and expectations, whether for academic assignments or help around the house. There is a constant awareness that I must choose my battles carefully, and let my children earn increasing independence, while at the same time protect them as best I can from their own immaturity and impulsiveness. The gray hairs are multiplying rapidly.

It is often tiring and frustrating to deal with young people who are convinced they know much more than you do. But I wouldn't trade this opportunity I have to plant seeds and give direction ( which is heard, if not always heeded ), to be a strong presence and voice in their lives, to be an encourager and advocate, to speak the truth in love and continually point them to the Savior as they make decisions and spread their wings. Homeschooling has given my teens much freedom, allowing them to balance academics with interests such as sports, music, computers, etc. They can refresh themselves with afternoon naps , take a break from studying by cooking or going for a run, listen to music or eat while doing school work, and spend time with siblings whom they would rarely see if they were in traditional schools. When I list the pros and cons of homeschooling my teens all the way through high school, the list of pros still outweighs the cons. I firmly believe it is the best choice for my family. I can always color my hair.


Lea said...

Yep, been coloring mine for years!!! hs teens is not for the faint at heart!!

Anonymous said...

Always a pleasure to read your blog. Dad

LisaWA said...

Were you looking in our window?? lol Just kidding..

I remember when my oldest (now 18) entering 9th grade. It was a very difficult year for us both. Not just academically, but the parent child relationship.

It was his first experience in a class setting and we constantly argued over biology. He seemed to think, because I wasn’t teaching it I had little to say how he accomplished his work! Ha!

He went through some growing pains... as did I. Its still been worth it... but like lea here said... its not for the faint at heart. It is a serious commitment for sure!

Thanks for stopping by my blog! *Ü*


Peter said...

Great blog! You're very right about the difficulties of homeschooling teens. I was homeschooling K-12, and now greatly appreciate all the guidance and attention my parents gave me during those years, even if it sometimes made me uncomfortable at the moment! Effort is so important; if kids know you care about them, words are always going to make an impact, even if it seems like they don't sometimes.