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Homeschooling Teenagers: Choose Your Battles

There are challenges with homeschooling teenagers. A resistant 16-year-old can certainly have an attitude, at times, that makes you want to throw in the towel!  It's hard to be a Christian parent homeschooling a resistant teen who doesn't want to homeschool anymore.  It may seem like an uphill battle, but there are ways to find the right path for your family.

Resistant Teenagers




The biggest factor in success of homeschooling is when the child WANTS to homeschool, you and I both know that. But sometimes parents just know they are supposed to homeschool in high school, and perhaps they do not feel the Lord calling them to send him to public school at that time.

Only the parent can know what God is saying to them and I encourage parents to listen to God on this. Friends, family, and other experts can only guess. For me, the only time I question a parent's judgement on this is when someone in the home is in physical danger due to the out of control child. Otherwise, I think the parent's gut instinct truly is an encouragement from God.

Options

So let's talk about the options. First, you could choose public school. I have seen many homeschool parents in this situation choose to send their children to public school for various reasons. Sometimes it works out fine, other times it doesn't. What can happen, with some teens, is they become MORE defiant, more challenging (yes, they can get more challenging than this, believe me!) and the family situation actually worsens. They can fail at school, drop out, and experience challenges that will remain on their permanent record.

Second, you can stay the same, continue to homeschool, and muscle through these challenges. Even though homeschooling, it's still possible to fail classes, or not get great grades. It's possible your child could continue to challenge you every step of the way. In comparison to public school, though, it might be the better option. Again, prayer is the best way to play this out. Just remember, though, that prayer doesn't always mean you get a "red light" or "green light" answer from God.  God promises that love covers a multitude of sins, and your love for your son can make it work out right in the end, even though you may never be 100% sure what you are doing is the Lords will. It reminds me of when I was engaged to my husband, and our pastor said you can really only be 80% sure your spouse is the right choice, and you have to leave the rest up to God.

Resistant Teenagers



Adjustments

So then, if you are going to continue homeschooling, what next? There are some adjustments you can make. Remember, all young people long to be independent. Homeschooled young men, particularly, want to be the "boss" and leader of the pack. Consider these ideas to improve things.

Don't teach - facilitate. By the time you get into the high school years, it’s important to recognize that your role has changed. No longer the teacher, you become a project manager. Instead of teaching, facilitate learning.

Encourage independent learning. Here is what it might look like. I was completely a fish out of water when it came to physics and calculus. I didn’t recognize what the symbols meant, and I couldn’t even read the answer aloud because I didn’t know how to say the names of the symbols. So here is what I did. First, my children read the textbook and the teacher's manual. They would work through each lesson on their own. If they got stuck, they could look back at the solutions manual and compare their answers to work their way through the problems. When it was time for a test, I took away the solutions manual and gave them the test. The answers had to look exactly the way they looked in the solutions manual when I corrected each test. It didn’t matter if my children claimed their answer meant the same thing; the answer had to be formatted in exactly the same way. I never learned calculus or physics, but I was able to make sure they learned by facilitating and encouraging independent learning.

Watch the child's learning style. Many boys particularly may be kinesthetic learners, so watch how each of your children learn best. Your expectations may be off from what you think their learning style is. For a kinesthetic learner, reading books with very active main characters can help. Moving while learning can help - even if that means listening to audiotapes while biking.

Encourage strenuous physical activity, especially for boys or kinesthetic learners. Often boys can manage their hormones and emotions when they are near exhaustion. Sports, Tai Kwon Do, distance running, or biking - anything to get close to exhaustion will help.

It's really important to be sure you are monitoring your teen's social media and technology intake, as well. Technology can play an important role in the attitudes our teenagers take on, and it's often the last thing we think to bring into check. Not only can too much technology and social media affect attitude, it can also aggrevate depression and anxiety if your child deals with those areas of mental health. If you need help in this area, consider getting my book, Technologic: How to Set Logical Technology Boundaries and Stop the Zombie Apocalypse.

Resources

Focus on delight directed learning as a huge benefit of homeschooling. These articles may help: Maximize the Fun Factor and Delight Directed Learning and Use Your Annoy-O-Meter Skillfully

In addition to the articles above, these Coffee Break Books may be helpful, too.

Creating Homeschool Balance: Find Harmony Between Type A and Type Zzz

Homeschool Curriculum That's Effective and Fun: Avoid the Crummy Curriculum Hall of Shame!

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Do You Need a High Priced College Counselor?
Homeschool No-No List
 

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Saturday, 08 May 2021

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    Lee has three core beliefs about homeschooling: homeschooling provides the best possible learning environment; every child deserves a college-prep education whether or not they choose to go to college, and parents are capable of providing a superior education to their children. Lee does not judge your homeschool or evaluate your children. Instead, she comes alongside to help and encourage parents homeschooling high school.

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