Whether you’re new to homeschooling a teen or going into your tenth year, these tips will help you prepare for an excellent year ahead.
Heading back to high school in the fall as a homeschooled high schooler definitely has its perks. You get to be in charge of your own education in many ways. Some of those perks include getting to take the classes you want, enjoying a little down time, having the extra time to ‘get’ the things you struggle with and maybe even getting ahead academically. No matter what your reasons are for staying home to get your education, these tips will help you prepare just a little better.
1. A Consistent Schedule Is Key
You maybe have a mindset that your teen can do school work whenever they want. Following a regular schedule is something you may want to think about. The schedule can still be flexible, but you do want to get in the mindset of having your teen do schoolwork at specific times. In our home it’s first thing in the morning – after breakfast we do school work. If for some reason the boys don’t feel that they can operate (oh the joys of autism!) that’s OK. One of the reasons we embarked on our homeschool journey was to ensure our boys could work in a way that was productive for them. However, any work not done must be caught up on!
2. Get Involved
Every high schooler should be involved in their education in some way. Allow your teen to have a say in what they are learning. If he/she is interested in writing, then let them take a writing course. Perhaps Spanish is on the list of languages they would like to learn. You can also suggest courses your teen wouldn’t usually think of. When J started home school, he was not at all confident in his academic abilities. When we suggested taking Geography he thought he’d never manage it, but he agreed to give it a try and has been very successful. This has given him confidence in other areas. The key here though is to suggest and support!
3. Don’t Stop Reading
Reading is something that must not ever be forfeited, even as a teenager. One of the best tips for homeschooling a high schooler is to keep them reading. Books are available at libraries (and most libraries even offer an eBook library). Make frequent trips to the library or check out books that are on sale at your favorite book shop. Reading for fun and for school should be of equal value. Don’t forget that you are a role model – if your kids see you reading, they are more likely to do so themselves. Now that they are 15 & 18 we encourage the boys to read our books – this has the added benefit of fostering relationships as we chat about the books we have shared.
4. Switch it Up
One of the best things about homeschooling as a teenager is that they get to learn in a variety of ways. Have your teen take an online class at one point, work with a tutor for a particular class if they need it, or even take a community college course. The beauty of being home schooled is that nothing is off limits and you have the opportunity and time to try many different things. Help your teen find what works for them and for you! Our boys do very well with online learning. However, I make a point of printing materials to ensure they are using their handwriting!
5. Keep Records
While this may not be on your number one list, it’s so important to keep a record of everything you do. It could be difficult to remember what type of math class was taken for freshman year or what was exactly learned during that year. Don’t be afraid to have an official record book kept in place for your own records. This is especially important when you are looking at further education. One of our boys wants to apply to the Royal Military College of Canada and join the Air Force. We have details of all of the learning evidence they require and keep records to reflect this.
6. Get Adventurous
No homeschooled high schooler has to spend their days pinned to a chair. The freedom to explore is at your fingertips. Don’t be afraid to get your teen out into the world to explore. Take local trips, long road trips, nature hikes, visit museums, and meet others who aren’t like you. The possibilities are endless for those who choose to take the homeschooled road.
7. Lessons That Aren’t Lessons
Not every lesson has to come from an activity that was chosen for its educational value. There are plenty of activities that would be considered “extra-curricular” if your teen was in school, that can become part of your homeschooling experience. For example Josh in heavily involved in Air Cadets. He has qualified as a flight simulator instructor, he has flown a plane, he teaches younger cadets, and he is going away for the summer on a ‘Survival Skills Instructor’ course. He has developed lots of knowledge and many skills – and none of it through ‘educational’ activities.
8. Follow your Personality Type
Something that the parents of many homeschoolers worry about is socialisation. The fear that their teen will become an insular person who is unable to relate to other people. In our experience, nothing could be further from the truth. Through homeschooling, our teens have met a wider range of people in a broader range of settings and situations and have become confident, out going, young men. On the flip side of this – don’t force your introvert to become a social butterfly. I am very introverted and consider myself a happy, well-rounded person – forcing me into gregarious social situations makes me uncomfortable & unhappy. You’d never stop your extrovert socialising – don’t force a happy introvert too!
What tips would you add to this list?