Sometimes it feels like our world is crashing in around us. Whether that’s from a pandemic, civil unrest, or personal family issues, there are times when homeschooling becomes just one more thing. One more thing that needs to be handled in a huge stack of other responsibilities that are weighing us down. And when our kids are old enough that they’re in middle school or high school, we don’t necessarily feel right about just taking a break whenever things get overwhelming. The older grades seem like they count more, don’t they?!?
Here’s How to Successfully Homeschool Teens During Difficult Seasons
No one takes the decision of whether or not to homeschool our children lightly. Their education is important to us! So it’s easy to get discouraged when we don’t have confidence that we can juggle everything. We want them to be successful even when homeschooling during a difficult season. We’re not sure we can do all that is required of us and still do a good job of educating our children.
If you are homeschooling teens and you have entered a difficult season in life, you do not have to throw your hands up and enroll them in school. People are always learning and that’s true for our children as well. Fortunately, there are many non-traditional ways that our older kids can continue their education when our plates are too full to provide the types of lessons we would like.
Here are 4 Ways to Homeschool Teens During Difficult Seasons:
1 – Real-Life Learning
There are plenty of ways our older kids can pitch in and help with whatever situations we are facing. Whether that’s helping to care for sick family members, doing major home repairs, running errands, helping to run the household by doing laundry, or mowing the lawn, etc. It’s good for our tweens and teens to regularly help out around the home. During difficult seasons, consider having your older kids pick up even more slack. This will give you the time you need to be able to tackle the other responsibilities you are needing to address.
2 – Talk About It
Whatever your family is facing, it’s good to sit your older kids down and talk things out with them. Be honest and share some of the struggles you are trying to process. I’m always pleasantly surprised when I have these types of conversations with my sons. They usually understand a lot more than I might have thought they would. They also often have valuable insights to share that help me to think things through more clearly and to come up with new solutions for our family to tackle together.
Discussing difficult situations in society also causes our kids to learn to look at the world around them and to realize that they aren’t the center of the universe.
It gives them more empathy for other people. And it often motivates them to dig into different news sources to learn even more about various topics that they might not have known about before. It’s important for all of us to stay abreast of what’s going on in our world so that we can pray about it and learn ways that we can get involved and make a difference.
3 – Independent Learning During Difficult Times
As our children get older, the way we homeschool them should change. We should be in the business of working ourselves out of a job. Each year, we should be intentional about handing over more and more responsibilities to our children. This is true with parenting as well as with homeschooling. At some point, our role should shift from teacher to mentor. Rather than us being the ones to present all of the information to our students, we should teach them how to learn without needing as much of our help.
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When we find ourselves going through difficult seasons, it’s the perfect time to start making this transition, if we haven’t started the process already. It’s important that our independent learners still have accountability, however. Don’t pass the baton fully without continuing to play a role. Most teens aren’t responsible enough to continue making progress without us checking in regularly to see how they’re doing. And they aren’t born with the knowledge of how to manage their time or map out their own lessons. Those are skills we need to teach them before we try a more hands-off approach.
4 – Online Classes Help to Successfully Homeschool Teens During Difficult Seasons
If a difficult season hits before you’ve had a chance to prepare your kids for a more independent way of learning, you may want to consider having them try some online classes. This will free up your schedule so that you can handle whatever difficult situations your family is facing but will continue to give your kids the continuity of having a teacher to lead them through the learning process.
Online classes are also wonderful if you have reached a season in homeschooling where you’re struggling to communicate with your teen or where there is a lot of strife. When my sons reached the teen years, I noticed pretty quickly that upper-level math became a source of contention between us on a daily basis. Neither of my sons appreciated how I was trying to present the material anymore. So, even though I had gone through calculus myself as a student, it became much easier for us to outsource math to someone else so that we didn’t have that regular painful interaction causing strife between us anymore.
No matter what kind of difficult season you are going through, there are always ways to navigate them successfully without giving up homeschooling.
In fact, the flexibility that homeschool families have can make the hard situations we all face in life just that much easier to handle. Embrace it and be willing to adapt your lessons to better fit your current circumstances. With a little bit of ingenuity, you may find that you actually enjoy this new approach even more and that your teens benefit from a more self-sufficient way of learning.
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Notgrass History provides American history, world history, geography, and government curriculum for elementary, middle school, and high school students. All Notgrass History curriculum is written from a Biblical worldview and combines narrative lessons, primary source documents, historical novels and biographies, and hands-on activities for a variety of learning styles.
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10 lucky winners will receive a subscription to Homeschool History! A web-based app that you can access from any device. It helps you find history-related videos, websites, games, and more. It doesn’t matter what curriculum you are using, how old your kids are, or where you live. Winners get a one-year subscription! (This giveaway is a subscription to an online membership site that requires Internet access to use.) Value $24 each.
30 DAYS OF THE BEST ENCOURAGEMENT FOR HOMESCHOOLING MOMS SERIES CONTRIBUTOR:
Michelle has been homeschooling her sons for 17 years and she just graduated her youngest son this spring. She loves to encourage other moms who are in the trenches and share tips and tricks for helping them to appreciate the blessings of motherhood as well as how to have fun along the way. You can find her blogging at Homeschool-Your-Boys.com.