Strategies for homeschooling teenagers differ a lot from homeschooling younger children. Teenagers need to feel a sense of identity and independence more than grade school–aged children do. Fostering an independent spirit can be beneficial for your child as they move on to college and beyond. Allowing them to have a role in their academic choices and in their community can also prepare them for the years ahead. Here are important tips for homeschooling teenagers.
Start the Day Later
Teenagers’ circadian rhythm is different from elementary school children. One of the perks of homeschooling is the ability to start the day later. Generally, a teenager’s circadian rhythm kicks in at 11 p.m. Beginning the school day later will allow them to get plenty of sleep and be awake enough to focus on their lessons.
Don’t be afraid to split the day up, too. Many older kids find that learning at night allows for better focus and motivation.
Give Them Freedom
Self-reliance and resilience are tools everyone needs in adulthood. Give your homeschooled teenager some freedom. Here are a few ways to encourage their independence:
- Environment – Don’t constrain them to only learning in one area of your home. If they feel more comfortable in their room or another area of the house, let them make that choice.
- Time Management – Time management is a skill that will help your homeschooled teen in college and the workplace. Feel free to use a worksheet to help them stay on track.
- Curriculum – Allow your older child to play a role in designing their curriculum, including their homeschool testing options. When they choose the topics they want to study, they can better explore their interests and passions.
- Volunteer Opportunities – Encourage your child to explore volunteer opportunities outside the home. Volunteering at a food bank, animal shelter, or polling place can help them narrow down their career interests when they’re deciding on a college major or entering the workplace.
- Extracurricular –Encourage them to discover what they love! Allow them to enroll in sports, art classes, dance, or music classes. Let them decide if they want to stick with it or move on to something else. Give them the freedom to find a hobby they love!
Even though it’s crucial to instill independence in your homeschooled child, always make yourself available to them. One of the most important tips for homeschooling teenagers is to offer guidance and support when they need it.