I’ve now reached the final week in this series- homeschooling during the teen years. In case you missed the previous posts, over the past few weeks I’ve written about how to simply homeschool:
Today I’ll be finishing up with how to accomplish a relaxed homeschooling atmosphere while homeschooling teenagers.
You might not often hear the words “relaxed” and “teens” in the same sentence with everything from hormones to anxiety about the future, but it is possible to homeschool in a more simple manner than most people may imagine.
A great many parents make the decision to send their kids to a brick-and-mortar school for high school, mainly because they assume they will not have the time nor resources in order to homeschool high school properly. Not only is this not the case, but I am a firm believer that of all times to homeschool, the high school years are the most crucial time to do it.
The picture that a majority of people form in their heads about what homeschooling high school is like usually entails stacks of textbooks, hours and hours of instruction, frustration and tutors, and, sometimes, defeat.
It doesn’t have to be that way.
The vast majority of the methods I suggested for homeschooling the middle years and even the early years still hold true with older children, such as:
- Unit studies
- Maintaining a learning-rich environment in the home
- Reading, reading and more reading
- Assigning age-appropriate chores
- Visual media
- Taking full advantage of the library
- Field trips
- Project-based learning
Since the teen years are the time to begin preparing for possible college attendance, trade work, or entrepreneurship, it is vital to have a more focused homeschool during this time, but it needn’t be rigid, overwhelming, and boring. Although the use of several of the suggestions I made above would be plenty of education for this age group, I have some additional ideas that I’ve either used in my own homeschool or have simply heard of and found to be inspiring to share with you today.
How to Homeschool Your Teenager Simply
– Use a textbook table of contents as a guide.
Just because conventional schools use textbooks as their primary teaching method doesn’t mean you have to. They’re often dry, redundant, and just plain boring. That does not mean, however, that they shouldn’t be be used as a resource. I’ve known several homeschooling families who have used the table of contents to give them a basic structure for what to pursue, and used that to develop hands-on activities and unit studies. This is a great idea for parents who know what subjects their kids want to study but aren’t sure what to include.
– Living books
Historical fiction, biographies, and trade books are not only much more interesting than textbooks, but they introduce material in a way that makes it easier to connect with the topic. Instead of simply presenting dull facts and timelines, they add life to the stories by presenting realistic characters who are easy to identify with. Combined with notebooking, living books can provide an excellent education in almost any subject area.
– Mentorships and/or job shadowing
This is the perfect time to begin looking for a trusted adult who will take your child under their wing and teach them skills you may not possess yourself but that your child shows an interest in. The teen years are also a great time to introduce a real-life job situation by job shadowing or seeking internship at a local company.
– Allow them to seek employment opportunities
There’s no greater training for the real world than by being out in it. What better way to do that than by getting a job in your community? They can hone their people skills, learn how to handle all sorts of people, and get a taste of what it’s like as an adult.
– Let them explore.
My teenage son loves to be in the outdoors so much that we actually made “field work” a large part of his science course this year. Now that they are older and more responsible, give your teens lots of time to explore their interests. Many people don’t find what they’re passionate about through school, but through learning what they like to do outside of school. Keep that in mind as you plan your homeschool routine.
In a nutshell:
Homeschooling the teen years doesn’t have to be long, tedious, complicated, or burdensome. Remember that the real world offers more lessons for kids this age than most curriculums ever will. While it certainly is important to make sure your teen is prepared for the future, doing it simply will better ensure that not only has your child learned, but that they have learned to love learning.
Here’s an example of what a typical day of a teen years simple homeschool might look like:
- Silent reading (30-60 minutes) (may include living book learning on top of other literature)
- Notebooking (20-30 minutes)
- Bookwork (30-75 minutes)
- Unit study activities or other hands-on activities (30-60 minutes)
- Part-time employment
- Pursuing interests
- Going to the library
- Watching interesting and educational movies and documentaries
- Spending time in the community and/or with friends
As always, keep in mind that this is only an example of what a typical day in a relaxed homeschool might look like. All kids are different. All families are different. The point of simple homeschooling is to find something that works for your family, and yet helps to maintain a peaceful and unhurried lifestyle. In that kind of atmosphere, your teen is bound to not only love learning, but to thrive.