Friday, June 2, 2017

Dear Mom Who is Homeschooling Through High School . . .

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Dear Mom Who is Homeschooling Through High School . . . on Homeschool Coffee Break @

Dear Mom . . .

I know it can be intimidating and challenging to homeschool through the high school years. And if you're the homeschool mom realizing that your student is almost there and YOU'RE not ready, it's not unusual to have a little private panic attack now and again. Maybe you're worried about how you'll help your kid with algebra or chemistry when you barely remember it from your own high school years. Maybe you're second-guessing and wondering if you should just send your kid to the public school at this point. Maybe - just maybe - you're starting to get some attitude from that kid and had hoped to avoid all that since you were homeschooling. I've been where you are, and I'm not all the way through yet either. I'm homeschooling my last student, the 'baby' of the family and the only girl, and it's a different experience from the boys that I've already graduated. Every now and again I get a little panicky because I don't think I'm ready for her to be sixteen, or to drive, and certainly not old enough to graduate!

I collected some advice and encouragement from a couple of past blog hop series to remind myself - and you, dear reader - that there are so many Rewards of Homeschooling Teens; and sometimes A Cup of Coffee and a Word of Advice from a friend is just what's needed to help each of us through the challenges of homeschooling teens.

The Reward of Family Time 
Having your teens learning at home makes a positive difference in family life for everyone. Now don't misunderstand - it's still highly likely that teens will push back against some discipline and boundaries, and will challenge your authority; and it's still highly likely that there will be sibling squabbles. But homeschooled teens have far less exposure to the disrespectful and condescending attitudes towards parents (and adults in general) that are prevalent among their public school counterparts. Homeschooled teens have learned to get along with their parents and their siblings, for the most part, and are generally more respectful and *gasp* may actually look forward to spending time with their family!
The Reward of Conversation
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. 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.
The Reward of Socializing Well
By the time they are in their teens, homeschooled kids have had plenty of experience having conversations with people of all ages and of many different backgrounds. They don't have to spend the majority of their days grouped with only people who happen to share their birth year, so the generation gap is less likely to be a huge big deal to them. Homeschooled teens have learned to relate to older people and to little ones.

Be Flexible

A Cup of Coffee and a Word of Advice - Be Flexible on Homeschool Coffee Break @ - Part of the 5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents blog hop hosted by The Schoolhouse Review Crew @

The ability to adjust and adapt when life throws us a curve can save us a lot of stress and headache. I think flexibility and patience are related. When you're flexible, you can shift to a Plan B without panicking; and similarly, you're practicing patience by not coming unglued when things aren't going well. You can maneuver through the obstacles with a confidence that it will all come out okay in the end.
See all my tips about how to be flexible in your homeschool: A Cup of Coffee and a Word of Advice - Be Flexible

Be Realistic

A Cup of Coffee and a Word of Advice - Be Realistic on Homeschool Coffee Break @ - part of the 5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents blog hop hosted by
As you put together lesson plans, and four-year plans for high school, and even your family's calendar, recognize that there are limits on what you and your kids can accomplish. Plan a course of study or a daily routine realizing that your kid won't grasp every concept and complete every assignment within the shortest possible time frame. Realistically, you know you're not perfect.
Neither are your kids. We all know that in our heads, but still we compare ourselves and our homeschools to others and to some rather unrealistic standards. Do what is best and what works for your family, and resist the temptation to copy someone else who seems to have it all together. 
See all my suggestions for setting realistic goals in your homeschool: A Cup of Coffee and a Word of Advice - Be Realistic

Be Confident

A Cup of Coffee and a Word of Advice - Be Confident on Homeschool Coffee Break @ Part of the 5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents blog hop hosted by the
I do need to tell you is that it's probably universal for homeschool moms (and dads) to doubt themselves at some point. Am I doing a good enough job? How will I teach algebra (or whatever subject) when I never really understood it myself? Will my kid be able to get into college? Is my kid missing out on important experiences like band or sports? Am I covering everything I need to? Will my kid wind up being socially awkward? Will I ever have time to myself again? These questions and lots like them - some weighty and some that might seem trivial - can haunt us as homeschoolers. So if you feel a little bit out of your depth from time to time, that's normal and not necessarily a bad thing. After all, taking full responsibility for your child's education alongside the responsibility of parenting is a big deal and a big commitment. Don't take it lightly - rely on God for wisdom; be open to support and help; and do your own homework to prepare. And then take it one step at a time.
More thoughts on being confident as a homeschool mom: A Cup of Coffee and a Word of Advice - Be Confident
Be Yourself

A Cup of Coffee and a Word of Advice - Be Yourself on Homeschool Coffee Break @ - Part of the 5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents blog hop hosted by the
Homeschool Mom, there is more to you than being a homeschool mom, as incredibly awesome as that is. And you probably already know this, but you need to be careful about comparing yourself to anyone else and their homeschool. 
Lots of encouragement to be yourself and to take care of yourself: A Cup of Coffee and a Word of Advice - Be Yourself
Keep Your Perspective

A Cup of Coffee and a Word of Advice - Keep Your Perspective on Homeschool Coffee Break @ - part of the 5 Days of Tips for Homeschool Parents blog hop hosted by
Know that your goal is more than just academics. Reading, writing, and arithmetic are important, but are only part of the big picture. We're raising up a godly generation of healthy, mature, responsible adults. Teaching them to honor God, to maintain positive relationships, and to be able to lead and influence with integrity are the ultimate goals. From an academic standpoint, I want them to have a well-balanced education and have the background to pursue whatever career they choose. I want them to know how to research and study and learn on their own so that they have the tools they need to succeed in college and in their life's work. Teaching those disciplines of learning, and doing it with a solid Biblical foundation and worldview will also equip them as they mature into independent adults.
Get the rest of my perspective on perspective in homeschooling, from a post written when my third son was about the graduate: A Cup of Coffee and a Word of Advice - Keep Your Perspective
You may also be interested in these related posts, also meant to encourage homeschool moms facing the high school/teen years:
T is for Teenagers
T is for Teenagers (and some thoughts on parenting them) on Homeschool Coffee Break @
K is for Keeping It Real
Keeping It Real @
Have you got some great advice and encouragement to share with me or with other homeschool moms? Is there something in my collection of encouraging words that you needed to hear today? Leave a comment and let me know!
Dear Homeschool Mom ...

Visit the Homeschool Review Crew blog to see the letters of encouragement other Crew members are sharing in the Dear Homeschool Mom . . . Round-up, which will be live on Friday, June 2, 2017.

This post is part of a Coffee & Conversation Link Party at - Join us!

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This post is linked at the Encouraging Hearts & Home Blog Hop hosted by Learning Table.

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Ritsumei said...

We're not too far away from all that teen stuff, and then high school... I can't wrap my head around how my baby has gotten so BIG! This looks like some good advice. :)

At Home where life happens said...

What a wonderful collection of advice. This is getting saved! We are basically there and while I love having my oldest here with me, I know there will be plenty of challenges. Thanks for the constant advice for the past few years and know that I appreciate your honesty and all that you share, Kym. - Lori

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