Day 19: Guiding Older Children
Day 20: Lesson Plan or Lesson Journal?
Day 21: Time Tested Teaching Tips
Teaching teens can be a joy. I know there are many nightmare stories about teens and I too have experienced my sons’ surges of emotions, but I have breathed in every minute of enjoying their company.
However, I have also learned in helping other new homeschoolers that teaching teens whom you have homeschooled from the beginning is quite a different story than teaching a teen that has just been pulled out of public school. Academics have to be put on auto pilot if your relationship has suffered or is suffering. This is true whether you homeschool from the beginning or are just starting out. It is possible to restore and repair any strained relationships if you are willing to work on relationships at the same time as refining their school subjects.
Also, teaching older children requires a bit more of diplomacy over discipline at certain times so I hope in sharing these tips from the trenches, you will benefit.
Preparing for Adulthood = Teen Giving Input Now. When your children are young, you are making almost all the decisions on curriculum. It is not that way as they grow older. Give up some of the control without giving up the God given authority as a parent to include your child in some of the research, scheduling and selection of curriculum. It will be hard for them to learn how to weigh a heavy decision when they are an adult like choosing a job or marriage mate when they are not allowed to make a decision on books, science experiments and teacher’s manuals. Learning to make decisions and accepting consequences for decisions made are best learned under your roof and while they are still living with you.
Relationship Over the 3 R’s. If your teen seems to be behind in every subject now that you are a full time homeschooler, don’t be discouraged, but take time to work through the lower grades. You’d be surprised at how fast a teen can get caught up when he is inspired and has your support. This is one time in their life when a relationship means more than the 3 R’s. A Godly heart will be of far more lasting value than not learning how to do math on their fingers. Besides I know a lot of brilliant people who still do math on their fingers.
Capture his heart for the doing of good and all education will be used for that. We want to teach our children to be self-less, not self-serving when it comes to helping others. We don’t want to lose that goal in the academic road that lies ahead. I do believe this bit of wisdom has sustained me: 1 Timothy 5:1 “Whereas the object and purpose of our instruction and charge is love, which springs from a pure heart and a good clear conscience and sincere faith.”
Your teen may not look like they need you now and even to other people may look like an adult, but now is the time they your solid and consistent principles are needed more than ever. Toddlers require a lot of physical work and it can be exhausting. Teens require a lot of meaningful conversations that seem to drain me at times faster than any physical activity. Then I remember I have a few short years left now and don’t want to waste any opportunities and discuss all that is on their mind.
My household has changed now and I find it weird and strange to ask things like did you remember to shave before we leave for a field trip.
Relationship with Others a Must. Teens need a network of true friends outside their family. Having friends adds to the joy of living and many homeschoolers do not want their children to be loners. A lot of homeschool teens enjoy their life and it is natural to want friends. I read one article that said learning how to make friends is like riding a bicycle and neither one can be learned from a book. We encourage our sons to make friends with persons of all ages. Long lasting friendships are priceless treasures. While they are with you and are honing in on how to size up a man by his character, you can guide them about social relationships. Do their friends have the same values? Do their friends like them for who they are and not what they can get from them?
Even though their life in the next few years will have plenty of demands of adulthood, don’t close the gap on the care free days of being a young man or young woman too soon. They will pass through this stage and enter adult hood which has it own weighty responsibilities soon enough.
One day I will exhale, but for now I’m savoring every moment of guiding my teens.