You are in the home stretch of your child’s time at home. Should you homeschool your teen? Here’s what you should consider when thinking through homeschooling a teenager.
Homeschooling today defies the traditional stereotypes. Homeschoolers are not socially isolated bubble-dwellers. They are often motivated, involved, multi-talented students who excel in life. They can play on sports teams, participate in theater and art, hold down jobs, and have a strong social network. If you decide to homeschool your teen, know that you aren’t depriving them of anything. They will emerge well-rounded and well-adjusted.
Should I Homeschool My Teenager?
That being said, homeschooling is not an easy road because you are ultimately responsible for your student’s education. Although there are a ton of supports for homeschooling parents, you will likely need to be more involved in your student’s education than you were when you sent them to school.
You should therefore consider your margins. Some students are very independent and can manage themselves and their assignments and deadlines well. Others need more oversight. Although you do not need to clear your schedule to homeschool your teen, you do need to find time to be available to them. Do you have that time?
You should also consider your support system. Do you have friends or family who homeschool? Are there homeschooling groups or co-ops nearby that you can join? If you have a partner, is he/she supportive of the choice to homeschool? One secret to homeschooling: you can’t do it alone. You will need a support network.
Reasons to Homeschool High School
There are many reasons homeschooling a teenager may be the right decision for your family. You need to decide what is most important. With every decision, there is give and take. No one decision is going to tick every box and have no drawbacks. Here are some advantages to homeschooling.
Be a Primary Influence
For better or worse, you will be around your child more if you homeschool. That means you will influence her. When you homeschool, you can trust that your child’s main influence (you) has his or her best interests at heart.
Many homeschooled teens are committed athletes or artists, or they work jobs or internships. Homeschooling offers flexibility in that you can do your school morning, afternoon, or evening (as it fits your schedule).
Be in Tune with Your Child
Teens are stereotypically private and often respond to the question, “How was your day?” with a simple “Fine.” When you homeschool, you are around your student and can be more involved and in tune with him or her.
Earn College Credits
Homeschoolers have the flexibility to earn college credits in high school if they so choose. Many homeschoolers take the CLEP exams after completing a course in order to earn college credit, or they take classes online or at their local community college. Some homeschoolers earn their AA degrees by the time they graduate high school.
Be College and Career Ready
As a homeschool student, you have to learn how to manage your time and also how best you learn. Self-disciple and study skills are key components to success in both college and career. Rather than learning these the hard way when they leave the house, homeschoolers master these things early and can smoothly transition to what’s next in their future.
Homeschooling a Difficult Teenager
There is no doubt that parenting a teen can be challenging, and this is compounded when you have a difficult teenager. While homeschooling a difficult teen is never easy, it does fall under the umbrella of parenting. Here are some things to consider:
Work on What Matters
Homeschooling is not creating conflict with your teen; that conflict would be there whether you homeschool or not. Homeschooling does give you ample opportunity to get to the root of the conflict and resolve it. There may be days when schoolwork takes a back seat to address character. It also may be that this time together uncovers what is really going on with your child.
Get the Necessary Help
Sometimes teens struggle (academically, socially, and emotionally) because of learning challenges. When you homeschool, you can move at the student’s pace and tailor the learning style to how she learns best. If your student needs access to therapy or accommodations, you have the flexibility to do what’s needed.
Layers of Accountability
If you have a difficult relationship with your teen, you should consider having layers of accountability. This means seeking some outside sources of accountability for your teen (for example, another parent, online teacher, therapist, or boss/coach). You do not always need to “be the heavy” for your student. Yes, they are accountable to you, but they should also be accountable to themselves and others. That’s life.
Homeschooling a teenager can be wonderfully rewarding. These are likely your last years with your child at home, and you can strengthen your bond by learning and growing together.