Success by Nick Youngson CC BY-SA 3.0 Alpha Stock Images via The Blue Diamond Gallery
Raising teenagers is no walk in the park for most parents, and it can be especially difficult if you’re in charge of schooling them at home, as well. Many homeschool parents have a hard time ensuring their teens are prepared to graduate from high school and feel like it’s futile to try and help their teens through the process. But it’s definitely not impossible, and here are a few tips you can use to ensure your teenager is set up for success.
1. Studying What They Love
One of the best things about homeschooling is that your teen has the ability to focus more time on what they’re passionate about, instead of being stuck in a rigid curriculum. Sure, they need to get the necessary credits in order to graduate, but it’s possible at this stage to give them more control over what they’re studying and how the curriculum is shaped. You might be used to using a specific curriculum, but giving your teen the ability to sit with you and make the decision together is going to help them feel more empowered about their school work.
If your teenager has a specific career path in mind, such as going to a four-year university, looking into the best gap year programs, or going to trade school, you can help them shape their school work to better prepare them for that future. At the end of the day, giving up total control over your teen’s school day is going to yield much better results as far as their motivation and cooperation are concerned.
2. Learning Time Management
Most college students are kids who went to a public or private high school and had their entire schedule laid out for them every day, right down to extra-curricular activities. This means that most freshmen in college are learning time management for the first time, and it can be a steep learning curve. While your teen is still at home, give them the opportunity to learn time management as they complete high school. As long as they complete their assigned work, they’re free to work when they want to. If their work suffers from procrastination, it’s better for them to learn that early on, when the stakes are lower and their parents are there to offer advice. Learning good time management techniques now will set them up for success later.
3. Getting More Sleep
After so many studies have been released about the importance of good sleep for teenagers, it’s amazing how many parents still require their teens to wake up incredibly early for school each morning after staying up late to study, do extra-curricular activities, and have some time for relaxation. Since your homeschooled teen has the ability to have a more flexible schedule, why not make time for more sleep every day?
A 7 AM wakeup time is often too early for teens whose circadian rhythm dictates that they fall asleep around 10 PM and need over ten hours of sleep for proper brain development. It might feel like you’re totally letting go of civilized behavior to let your teenager start school closer to noon every day, but it can be a total game-changer, especially if they prefer to do their school work in the evenings. You might notice your teen being less crabby and more energetic if they’re able to get good sleep and start their day when they’re ready to.
4. Maintaining Accountability
When most teenagers start high school, they’re generally expected to operate independently. Homeschooled teens often take courses online or at a local community college, meaning their parent is no longer their primary teacher. But it’s still important for you to maintain regular check-ins about their progress and be there to offer help when needed. Make sure you know what your teen is studying in school so you’re in the loop about upcoming projects and exams, and offer your tutoring skills for paper revisions. Being an active participant who knows when to take your hands off the wheel can go a long way towards having a homeschooled teen who is well-prepared for the challenges of life after high school. Then you can breathe easy, knowing that you have helped set them up for success.