Homeschooling a teenager is drastically different from homeschooling a younger child. As young adults, they are more independent and seek to control more of their lives rather than depend on a parent all the time. They think they know what’s best but still need accountability and guidance to succeed, which can make homeschooling an extra challenge.
Here are some tips other parents have used to make homeschooling their teens easier and less stressful.
Don’t assume they’ll do it alone
As independent as teens want to be, the reality is that they still need help from time to time. While it’s a good idea to let them manage their time as they see fit, you should check in at least once a week to see how they’re doing and offer help if they need it.
Online high school tutoring may be the best answer if your teen is struggling with one or two subjects. Just because they’re learning from home doesn’t mean you must be their only source of support when they need help.
Let teens work where they’re most comfortable
You may have a designated desk, table, or room you’d prefer your teen to work from, but if they’re more comfortable working from the couch or their bedroom, let them. Providing they’re getting the work done correctly and on time, and giving them autonomy over their workspace can be incredibly helpful.
Expanding on the comfort factor further, you may wish to allow your teen to listen to music while they work. So long as there aren’t distracting lyrics, music can help students concentrate. Draw the line at watching TV while he does his schoolwork, though, as television shows offer too much distraction.
Let your teen have a say
Let your teen decide what electives they want to take. Of course, you need to ensure their curriculum includes all the required courses for graduation, but if your high schooler would rather take Astronomy instead of Biology, let them. They’ll enjoy the class more, which is often all it takes to get better grades. Colleges like to see diversity in a student’s curriculum, but the most critical factors are stellar test scores and the completion of specific courses.
Be flexible about the daily start time
Just because traditional school starts at 8 AM doesn’t mean your homeschooled teen must begin each day at the same time. Teens are notoriously late sleepers, and this isn’t pure laziness. Instead, it relates to the growth and changes they’re going through.
One of the biggest perks of homeschooling is being able to choose when you do the work. Decide what works best for your teen and your family. This may mean sleep-ins all around and an 11am start time. Some teens may even prefer to do lessons at night after everyone else is asleep and the house is quiet. So long as the work gets done, it doesn’t matter what time it happens.
Encourage their passions
For homeschooled children, extracurricular activities aren’t as readily available as they are for traditional students. If your teen expresses an interest in sports, music, or some other passion, encourage it. Enrol them in night classes, register them for a community team, or consider dual enrollment that will allow them to participate in the local school’s activities – whatever it takes to facilitate these beneficial interests.
As teens explore their independence and mature into young adults, homeschooling can be challenging. However, if you follow the tips above, you should be able to make homeschooling your teen easier and less stressful.
Adam Mulligan did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health and well-being.