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Welcome back to the 5 Days of Homeschool Blog Hop! My fellow Crew members and I are sharing all kinds of ideas, encouragement and advice about many different aspects of homeschooling, and we hope you're enjoying this event as much as we are. I'm talking about the rewards of homeschooling teens all the way through high school. We all know there are challenges to the task, and that parenting teens can be a challenge all on its own. We can find lots of how-to information about choosing curriculum and coursework for high schoolers. I've written some of that kind of thing myself! But this week, I'm putting the focus on some of the rewarding aspects that make this homeschooling high school gig worth the work. The payoffs and dividends along the way, not just in the long-term.
So let's talk. Let's talk about
The Reward of Conversation.
This builds on the family time benefits I discussed yesterday. More time spent in positive family interactions means more opportunities to have conversations with kids. I haven't got data on this, but I have to wonder if homeschool families eat more family dinners together, even during those busy teen years. My family eats dinner together most weekdays - four out of five most weeks. And although we're not always in talkative moods, and sometimes the meal is a bit rushed, those dinners are not silent, sullen affairs. There is conversation happening around our table. We talk about what we've done during the day, what's coming up in our schedules, news of family and friends, church events, homeschool group events, vacation plans, sports, music, movies and TV . . . Sometimes the conversation is serious and often it's full of humor and laughter.
Not just mealtimes, but throughout the days, we are available to talk and to listen. I've got quiet kids and talkative kids, and they have different comfort levels in talking about personal things. They obviously don't tell me everything, and frankly, I'd worry a little if they did! But the communication channels are fairly open and so I have the privilege of having a pretty good idea of what they are thinking and what's going on in their lives. I know who their friends are, and am at least acquainted with most of them. That leads to a nice reward for them and for us as parents - we're generally pretty comfortable with our kids and their friends hanging out together, because we know they won't likely do anything too nutty or dangerous. (Believe me, they do nutty and dangerous things, but there are lines they've agreed not to cross, in order to preserve whatever sanity their mothers have left!) All those conversations build trust and relationship.
The teen years can be full of turmoil and changes - for teens and for their parents - but it's because they are maturing, and they have a lot they are thinking through. They may not even realize it, but they are wrestling with issues of faith, character, relationships, and worldviews; and these are important conversations to engage in. Homeschooling provides extra opportunities for parents to be available when a kid feels like talking. Because you never know when that will happen and you want to grab that moment when it presents itself. (Actually, there's something weird that happens around midnight - late at night seems to be when teens seem to get the gift of the gab. I've heard this is fairly common, and we've certainly proved it!) More conversations that build trust and relationship, and that give me a chance to get to know where they are on their faith journey and be a sounding board and safe listener; and even to speak some truth to them once in awhile.
And a lot of the conversations are just plain fun! We joke and laugh and tell stories about our experiences; and our conversations are very entertaining! The completely goofy things are sometimes my favorite part of the day, because that's just us enjoying each other's company. Good times together are some of the greatest rewards I could ask for!
|It took both serious and goofy conversation to plan this family picture!|
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