If a totally perfect guide on how to homeschool older kids existed, it could instantly become obsolete because of the changing body and mind of an older kid. Unlike the younger years where kids are more compliant, older kids are ready to flex their decision making muscles.
Whether tweens or teens, homeschooling older kids can be like navigating new homeschool waters each year.
There are some tried and true tips I’ve learned that will help you to keep older kids passionate about learning all the way through to and including high school. It’s not easy, but grab these 3 tips for your arsenal.
One/Plan monthly field trips targeted especially for older kids. This one time don’t think about your younger kids. (Okay, maybe just a little.)
Reject the thinking that field trips are just for younger learners. Until Mr. Senior 2013 did part of his Kindergarten in public school, I didn’t know that field trips are almost non-existent in any grade past Kindergarten.
From playmate to lifelong friend
Although field trips are important when kids are younger, they are vital as kids get older.
(Federal Reserve Bank field trip for older kids)
Look at these reasons why field trips are essential as your child grows.
- Kids need to learn how to make friends and have them outside of the family. I’ve always believed that as parents we are our kids foremost and best friend. However, kids can’t learn how to make lifelong friends unless they experience other personalities. A field trip with like-minded individuals sharpened my boys sense of self-worth and it also showed them how they didn’t want to be.
- Field trips with other families which have our same family values sharpened my sons’ values.
- Although as a parent I was glad we went to the field trip at the end of it, some moms felt like we really didn’t need it. Older kids are not like us. They need and want friends. Loneliness can run rampant among young people. Don’t forget that just because you have made your friends and are comfortable with your circle, that may not be the case for older kids.
- Nurturing a love for a new hobby, course or career happens at a field trip. If a kid spends his summer outside at the beach learning about science which he may love then that can feed his desire for a career or college track in biology.
Two/ Move away from the books!
To say as kids get older that they can be moody is an understatement. In the same day they can be relaxed and restless. With their bodies changing, it means that their brain is not always in gear for learning. When we had days like that we just put away the books.
Don’t worry about the stress of high school. There are many more days that your kids will have good than bad. So ease up on them and savor the days of homeschooling them while they’re older.
Unit studies are my way of giving my sons control over their learning.
When they could control very little in their day, it gave them a sense of empowerment to study something they chose. Not only did it break up the day, but it kept the joy for learning while they hit the lows and highs of hormones.
Look at just two of these hands-on middle school unit studies which a highschooler who needs a break would enjoy soaking up.
Zoology: Amazing Animals and Estuary Ecology are both great for hands-on learning and for getting older kids out of the house to learn.
Three/ They need to get physical. (And no, it doesn’t have to be an over the top class or activity.)
Getting past the younger ages, I just knew my boys energy level would settle down. In one way it did and in another way, they needed more physical exercise.
Although I don’t consider myself an exercise enthusiast, we do love to walk and stay active. We’ve always had some kind of exercise in our daily routine. But it was nowhere near what my boys needed.
One year my boys had asked to be around other young homeschooled teens more, I also knew they needed more movement, and we needed another one-half semester credit. I combined all three needs into one and chose ball room dance lessons as my teacher mandated elective (ha).
Moans could be heard far and wide because ball room dancing was not for macho men – right? Or at least that was their preconceived notion.
The Mr. backed me up on my new brainstorm and we gave our teens no choice. We were reasonable and told them that if they didn’t like it after the first month, we could do something different.
It took only one lesson and they were hooked. Did I mention to this day, they all love to dance?
They are not the shy boys at the party, but the ones soaking up fun times and dancing the whole time they are there.
Prior to that, I had to clear out the garage for a couple set of weights and benches. Sharing my garage with exercise equipment is a small price to pay for the boys to have a place to stay physically and mentally fit.
These are just three easy things that have worked with my boys through the years. I have a few more things to share in my arsenal.
What works for you?
You also may want to look at my tips at how Teach Your Homeschooled Teen the Art of Studying (without nagging), When Homeschooling is Not an Overnight Success (Is it Worth the Risk?) and When Homeschooled Kids Are Not Excited About Ordinary Days.
Hugs and love ya,
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