Whether you’ve been homeschooling for years or are just starting out, you will find the high school years challenging, but richly rewarding. In many ways homeschooling high school is easier than the early years – your teens have developed independent study habits and are taking responsibility for their own learning. So what is your role as a homeschooling parent during these teenage years?
1. Step into your new role as high school counselor
As a homeschooling parent, you wear many hats, and now as the parent of a homeschooling teenager, you can add guidance counselor to your list of supporting roles. Because your teen is now working toward an independent future and all that it entails, your job as counselor will be to help navigate the educational waters. As your teen’s parent and counselor, you will have a unique perspective into their educational goals, as well as your family’s financial limitations. This will help you work with your teen to develop a personalized educational plan.
2. Map Out a Four-Year Plan
No matter what your homeschooling style has been in the past, the high school years are a time for some advance planning to ensure that your teen is prepared for a career and an independent future. Many colleges and universities have definite requirements for admission, and a four-year plan will help you and your student work toward achievable goals without a lot of stress. This four-year high school planning template makes it easy to make an educational plan for your high school student.
3. Help Your Teen Choose a Career Path
As I mentioned above, you’ve got a unique perspective on your teen’s educational goals. You’ve watched them grow from babies and toddlers into independent young adults, and you’ve also seen their interests blossom, change, and grow through the years. Now is the time to work with them to develop a career path based on their interests and passions. The Bureau of Labor Statistics is a fabulous resource for researching careers along with their prospective growth, educational requirements, and potential salary.
4. Foster Independent Learning
Unlike the early years, you no longer have to teach every subject, nor do you have to spend your day watching over your child to make sure the work gets done. Education is its own reward, and with a little help from you, your teen will move toward independent learning. One way to achieve this is to include your teen in weekly planning. Once you’re on the same page, they can carry out the plan on their own. All you have to do is make time to discuss their progress, answer questions, and help them achieve their educational goals.
5. Stay Connected
Your role has changed from teacher to mentor, but it is even more important now to stay connected with your teen as they navigate these complex educational waters. Your teen is becoming more independent, but in many ways they need you more than ever. Be sure to make time to work and play together. Go on field trips, study electives together, and always make time for family dinners.
6. Guard Your Time with the Lord
As you know by now, parenting is no easy task. It is wonderful, and challenging, and full of surprises, but certainly not easy. It’s important to remember that our strength and wisdom come from God. You must continue to make time for Him in your life and to draw upon His wisdom and strength for the journey ahead. This is the only way to overcome the challenges you will face, and also the example you want to set for your teen, who will soon be embarking on a journey of their own.
7. Focus on Character as Well as Academics
As a parent, you’ve no doubt spent a long time helping your child build character and wholesome values, and continuing those teachings is just as important now as when they were little. All the brains in the world won’t make up for bad character.
8. Be A Good Role Model
The best way to encourage your teen to focus on good character traits is to be a positive role model. As Ghandi once said, you must “be the change you wish to see in the world.” These words are true for all parents, but especially parents of teenagers. Invest in yourself and in the lives of others – pursue your passions, expand your education, and work hard to make a difference in your community. You are your teen’s biggest influence!
9. Give Dual Credit a Try
Dual credit programs are a great way for your teen to earn college and high school credits at the same time. There are so many benefits to dual credit programs in high school, and your teen can fit dual credit studies into just about any schedule. Whether they decide to take on-campus or online classes, or work through our Dual Credit at Home Study Plans, dual credit studies will help them work independently toward their high school graduation requirements and their college degree.
10. Don’t Compare Your Family or Child to Anyone Else’s
Remember why you homeschool? Your teen is an individual, with unique interests, passions, and educational needs. Your homeschool plan may not look like anyone else’s on earth because it has been created for your child. This gives you and your student the flexibility to work within the parameters you set, and you should always remember that your teen’s educational path is not better or worse than someone else’s.
Never forget, you chose this journey because you believed it was the right one for you and your family. Support and encourage your teen during these years. Help your teen prepare for not just college, but life. And most of all, invest in your family relationships. You can do this, Mom and Dad!