An Inside Look at Our Relaxed Homeschool- The Teens

an-inside-look-at-our-relaxed-homeschool-the-teens

I’ve been covering our relaxed homeschool methods for the past two weeks, and although I’ve already written about the littles and the middles, my teens give the best description of what relaxed homeschooling is actually all about.

This year I have three teens- 14, 16, and 17 years old- and they couldn’t be more different from one another. Because of this, I don’t group them together for their learning. They each have their own individual learning style, and I’ve found that our homeschool is the most efficient when we can support them in the way that fits each of them the best. 

You will also not find an array of photos in this post because at this stage of their lives, my teens just aren’t comfortable having their picture taken. (Unless, of course, it is a selfie. Apparently, they are okay…) 

What you are going to get, however, is a glimpse into a recent homeschool day at our house. Keep in mind that this is only a sampling, and each day truly is different from the next.

Devin- Age 17- My Traditional Homeschooler

My oldest daughter, Devin, is my artsy, creative child who would honestly make the ideal unschooler because of her variety of interests. However, along with those qualities, she is also an academic and much prefers the “schoolish” way of doing things. 

This may be because she spent the most amount of time in public school out of her younger siblings, and she grew accustomed to it. Regardless, this is the path she’s chosen, and she’s content with it, which makes me content.

Devin wakes up at 8:30 am to get ready for work. Around 9:30 she leaves and, after working a seven hour day, returns home around 5:30. Tired, she retreats to her room after grabbing a bite to eat to wind down and play her favorite video game “Kingdom Hearts.”

After an hour or two, she comes downstairs and makes some sushi with Arianna, my 14 year old. As soon as it’s done, she heads back upstairs and spends some time online researching various astronomy topics that she’s taken an interest in.

Once the younger kids are in bed, she heads downstairs for some help with her consumer math and chemistry. After spending about 30 minutes with me learning about mortgage interest rates and scientific notation, she goes back upstairs to finish the remainder of her work.

She spends about five minutes on her grammar lesson- Daily Grams are the best- and then reads several pages in her writing book and completes a notebooking page. She saves her two favorite subjects- psychology and Japanese– for last because once she’s finished with them, she tends to linger on them a bit longer and spend time googling anything else that catches her interest with these subjects.

Once she’s done, she spends some time sketching and then goes to bed since she’s got work early the next day.

 

Dillon- Age 16- My Eclectic Homeschooler

Dillon is one of those kids who just wasn’t cut out for the drill and kill learning methods. Having ADHD, he thrives on short lessons with lots of breaks for physical activity. He has an amazing affinity for nature and all the creatures you find in it and is constantly bringing little critters home to observe before taking them back (or losing them in our yard…). 

During the warmer months, most of his studies are spent outside doing field work at the creek and taking wildlife photographs. Unfortunately, now that it’s a bit colder, we’ve had to adjust his schedule to bring him indoors for his learning, which has taken a bit of tweaking, but seems to be working.🙂

Dillon wakes up around 8:30 am and enjoys some relaxation time while I homeschool the younger children. His ears perk up as he hears us doing our German lesson, so he comes into the living room to join in.

At lunch time, he decides to do his algebra because I’m taking a break with the kids. He watches the online video that coincides with his lesson and sets out to do the assigned problems. In order to keep his frustration level low, I only assign half the problems. If he gets them right, he can move on. If not, we’ll continue on the same page the next day.

After algebra, he decides to go skateboarding at a tennis court near our house. Afterwards, he meets up with his one of his public school friends and hangs out with him for a while.

A couple of hours later, he returns home and asks if he can go to Dorney Park because it’s the last night it’s open for the season. I tell him as long as he gets his work done first. He immediately begins working on his unit study on ants (he wants to be a wildlife photographer, so we tend to keep his lessons in that field). He watches a video on fire ants and researches different types of ants. He makes a chart including the ant’s name, a drawing of what they look like, a caricature drawing of what their name makes you think they should look like (example- a drawing of a carpenter ant wearing a hard hat and holding a hammer), where they’re found, and what they eat. Then he draws and labels all of the inner and outer parts of an ant.

Afterwards, he reads a chapter of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and completes a lesson in Daily Grams. Within an hour, he’s at Dorney Park.

 

Arianna- Age 14- My Charlotte Mason Homeschooler

Arianna has probably never heard of Charlotte Mason, but her learning style embodies much of what this philosophy is like. She hates textbooks and dislikes hands-on activities but is perfectly happy to spend all of her time reading, notebooking, and writing an occasional report. Of all my kids, Arianna is, by far, my most inexpensive child to homeschool. Shh…don’t tell her that!

As long as we can get to the library, her learning resources are pretty much covered!

Since Arianna is a late sleeper, the kids wake her up around 11 am because it’s her week to be the homeschool helper. While I work with the middles, she keeps the littles fed, happy, and entertained.

As soon as I’m done schooling the younger kids, she heads upstairs to read (but of course!) and relax after spending two hours keeping her active siblings occupied. I don’t see her for a while until she comes downstairs later to help Devin make the sushi.

She retreats back upstairs and begins reading the next chapter of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and completes a notebooking page for it. She comes downstairs to eat dinner and help with chores before setting out to read one of the books she got at the library on aquatic animals. She writes down vocabulary words, and then moves on to Life of Fred for language arts. Interestingly enough, she uses LOF for language arts and pre-algebra, and these books are literature-based, so they mesh perfectly with her Charlotte Mason-style learning.

After the kids have gone to bed, she comes downstairs to do math with me. She usually doesn’t even need my help, but this has become a nightly ritual that we’ve both grown accustomed to. Lastly, she goes on Duolingo for her Italian lessons.

She spends the rest of the night working with her theatrical makeup and hanging out with her sister before heading to bed long after I’m asleep.

 

While this day may not have been as fun to read about as my younger kids’ homeschool days, this is what homeschooling looks like with teens- lots of working around schedules and making time for friends and interests. When homeschooling kids this age, it is absolutely vital to take their learning styles and preferences into consideration if you want to have a peaceful learning atmosphere.

So now you’ve seen what our homeschool looks like with all three groups of kids. Does yours look similar? Leave a comment!

 

 

Author: Shelly Sangrey

I'm Shelly, a Christ-following, homeschooling Mom of eleven children ( okay, not ALL children. My oldest is 23.) I met my husband right after graduation, and we've been together ever since. Though my life can be hectic at times... okay, ALL the time, I wouldn't change it for anything.

35 thoughts on “An Inside Look at Our Relaxed Homeschool- The Teens”

  1. I’ve enjoyed reading about all your kids’ homeschool routines. As you know, I’m down to just my son now. He’s almost 14. He has three online classes in a row which he tries to watch live. Depending on the day, we spend time together either before or after these classes to read a book together and work on our early history unit. And that’s pretty much it, with a little poetry thrown in. He spends his free time on Mine Craft, reading or playing with his cat. I’m so thankful for the flexibility and freedom of homeschooling. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for detailing your day! Our kids are 5, 4, and 1 right now, so we’re just getting started on this. It’s especially nice to hear how each of the kids helps out with keeping the day moving for the family as a whole. I’ve been trying to keep myself centered on having the kids help out more, and become more integrated with the daily family operations. When I can remember to do it, they enjoy it, and our day goes more easily.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I loved this look into your day. I have a 12 year old and my husband believes he should be doing more schoolwork and filling in more hours of his day with book work but I know in my heart he isn’t a book-type of child. He loves to be outdoors and mostly still digs in the dirt and sets up job sites with trucks, excavators, roads, etc. It’s his passion and I love to encourage it but I always secretly fear that maybe I should push him to do more. But we do cover math, reading, spelling, and writing in small fits and spurts throughout the day with the occasional science and history thrown in. Somehow knowing I’m not the only one having my middle school kids piled up with books makes me feel better.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I think, based on what learning looks like in schools, we often forget or don’t realize that our kids are learning so much through play, exploring their passions, open discussions and family life in general. In school, all the emphasis on teacher lectures, dry textbook reading and seat work diminishes a child’s enjoyment for learning. And it doesn’t end up sticking because they are not personally invested. I think what you are doing now with your son by following your mom instincts is just right. 👏🏻

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I loved reading your teens’ day! I have just one 15-year-old left at home, and he is so different than his older brother and sister were. It’s so great to be able to tailor the schedule to meet each kid! What a gift!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I really enjoyed reading about your teens! I’m visiting today from the Literacy Musings Mondays Linky. I would have loved to have been one of your kids. My mom was very hands-off. She didn’t have any interest in teaching me to read in my home language while I was learning to read and write in German in Germany (from grade 1 – 3) and later I was teased by kids and verbally abused by the grade 1 teacher at a Christian school in the States when learning to read and write in English (around my grade 4 year). That was just part of my stress. I left high school hating math. My kids are all in public schools and one in university. I home-schooled the three oldest kids for about 2 years, but they decided to move back to public schools. It’s very interesting to hear how yours are doing. Take care and God bless! Tina from Amanda’s Books and More

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Loved reading this post! I usually read about preschoolers as that’s my specialty and my kids are almost 4 and 14 mo…but I hope this is a glimpse of our future! How lovely the way your kids are each following their own interests in their own unique ways.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. How do you do their transcripts? I live in VA and you have to keep records for high school. I like the idea of a more relaxed style, but, honestly, mine would not get anything done school wise if she didn’t have an assignment sheet to complete.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The only records we have to keep here are a list of resources and work samples. I plan on using narrative transcripts with my kids because I do not give grades. If you’d like more information on htose, here is the link I refer to- http://homeschooling.about.com/od/college/a/Prepare-A-Narrative-Homeschool-Transcript.htm. We used to have to keep more detailed records, so what I did was use write a brief description of everything they did each day and categorize it into the required subjects or electives. Here is a link to a post I wrote during our unschooling days- https://redheadmom8.wordpress.com/2014/01/26/navigating-the-red-tape-part-1-how-do-i-know-what-my-kids-are-learning/ and here’s another- https://redheadmom8.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/navigating-the-red-tape-how-do-i-comply/. Please ignore the horrible photos. These posts are old, but they do address how we kept records. I hope these help!

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