Homeschooling through high school can seem like a pretty intimidating prospect. Add in a homeschooled teen with a job, and you’re opening a whole other can of worms.
I’m going to offer you a bit of advice today that goes against the grain of your typical homeschooling circles.
A common scenario for those parents homeschooling working teenagers is that after a while, they realize that their kids are beginning to have a tough time handling balancing their work with their homeschool assignments.
The typical response is an ultimatum for these teens:
You either need to get all of your work done, or you’re going to have to quit your job.
Well, I’m going to propose that parents should do the exact opposite:
Consider lightening the load.
The truth is, high schoolers can and do learn far more in the workforce than they will ever learn by staring at the pages of a textbook.
Think about it. How much do you remember from what you learned in high school? Be honest.
Since generations of people have been raised in the traditional school setting, we all have an awfully hard time realizing that what goes on in school is not education, but schooling. There is a difference.
When kids are granted the opportunity to engage in the community by holding down a job, they are gaining skills that can only be truly learned in a real-world environment, such as:
- learning how to navigate the chain of command
- learning how to handle all sorts of people
- time management
- making decisions on the spur of the moment
- managing money wisely
- being held responsible by someone outside the home environment
- being dependable
These are only a few skills that will be learned, and while you could argue that these lessons are covered in many curriculums, let’s admit that the effect just isn’t the same. It’s comparable to the difference between watching a powerpoint presentation on the life cycle of a frog or going to the creek, finding tadpoles, and raising them to watch the real thing happen right before their eyes!
So again, I’m going to say it:
If you have a working teenager, lighten their load.
Even if they’re planning on going to college, because the life experience they are gaining trumps memorizing trivial facts every. single. time.
I should probably point out here that I have learned this by experience.
I graduated my first homeschooler last year, and, believe me, when she started working and falling behind, I started freaking out. My daughter, on the other hand, was very calm about it and kept reassuring me that everything would be fine.
She was right.
In choosing to trust her, I gained so much wisdom about the reality of what education should be all about, and it certainly isn’t about worksheets.
As for her college placement exams? She rocked them – even after following a very, very relaxed homeschool style – indeed, I’d say almost unschooling – for almost all of her senior year.
In fact, her math scores were higher than her public schooled friends who had the heavy workload all year long – and math is her least favorite subject!
So, dear homeschooling parents, let your high schoolers work. Let them get a taste of what adulting is really like. After all, they’ll be in that phase of life sooner than you think.
Homeschooling and education are my passion. It is my fervent hope to one day devote more time to creating content for you. If you’re interested in helping to make this a reality, consider supporting me on Patreon.
Thank you so much. I appreciate each and every one of you!