How to Homeschool Older Kids by Sarah Wall
When they’re little, it’s easy to plan out homeschooling. The skills are obvious: they need to learn to read, write, add & subtract. They need a basic understanding of the world around them, and it’s fun to explore science and history topics. But then they hit those double-digits, and all of sudden, we feel the pressure to get serious about their education. Middle school and high school homeschooling can often feel scary and overwhelming. How do you homeschool when your kids are older? How can you be successful when homeschooling teens?
Here are 5 things to keep in mind when planning your homeschool for middle and high school students.
First, include your older kids in the planning.
After all, it’s their life, not yours. We don’t want to educate our kids for the life we hope and dream they will have — and certainly not for the life we wish we had. We can’t live vicariously through our kids. And it’s really easy to fall into that trap!
The best way to make sure your homeschool plans are for your kids is to include them in the planning.
Start with your homeschooling teens goals.
Sit down with your child and invite them to do some dreaming with you. What do they see themselves doing in the future? What kind of jobs are they interested in? What do they want to explore more?
You and they don’t have to decide right now what they’re going to be when they grow up. Instead, it’s about getting them to think ahead about their future. And if you help them pay attention to the lifestyle choices they enjoy or tend towards; you can help steer them towards career choices that will suit them best.
For example, if your child loves spending hours in outside play, then they probably aren’t going to be suited to an office job or career in accounting.
Explore your older kids interests.
Obviously, nothing is set in stone! Who knows? Maybe your outdoorsy child would prefer a career in law, and then spend weekends mountain climbing? But you won’t know that right away, until you’ve given them a chance to explore.
Get your older kids involved in community events and sign them up for lessons, classes, hobby-based activities and as many different things as you can afford and fit in your schedule. Encourage your children to try out widely varying things, even if they don’t think they will like them. Try free trials, short-term sessions and non-competitive versions of things, and see what takes hold.
Not only will your child get to experience a variety of topics and activities, but they’ll make connections that can be extremely valuable in future.
What’s required to achieve their goals?
If your child has stated goals, or has indicated an interest in a certain area, look at the end results for that goal, and reverse engineer it.
For example, if your older kids have an interest in marine animals, what’s the requirement to be a marine biologist? What college degree do they need? Look at the prerequisites from the top colleges, and then go backwards. Maybe they need an honors high school biology credit? So that would mean you’ll need a beginner biology credit, and you’ll need to explore animals, cells and body systems in middle school. So now you know what kind of science topics you need for your 6th grader this year!
It’s not about narrowing the goals in the middle school years, but about keeping doors open.
As they get older, and their goals get more specific, you can narrow down the study requirements, and then you can look for the tools to fulfill those requirements.
Don’t forget the basics!
There’s more to life than academics. Make sure that your middle and high school kids have the life and career skills they need to be productive, contributing members of society too. They should have the basics of cooking, cleaning, and finance. Teach them how to apply for a job, a bank account, and file taxes. How do they fill out forms for health care, government services and housing?
These are the years to really develop those habits of basic hygiene and personal care as well. Help them create routines for showers, for exercise, for staying in contact with friends. Make sure you leave room in their days for breaks and to just be kids!
Take advantage of this time with your homeschooling teens/ middle schoolers.
Middle school and high school students have so many opportunities. They’re old enough to be independent learners, young enough to learn quickly, and still curious enough to have a ton of interests! At the same time, they should start to have their own goals and ideas about what they want to do.
As you’re planning for your older kids homeschooling, make sure you include and leave room for their own plans. Encourage and support them to explore! And work backwards from their goals to where they are now, so you can leave as many doors open to them as possible.
The teen and preteen years can be a scary time as parents and homeschoolers. But it can be a lot of fun too. Support their interests, coach and cheer them from the sidelines, and watch them bloom!
This blog about homeschooling teens and older kids was written by Sarah Wall.
Sarah is a pro at teaching her older kids and homeschooling teens. She also helps homeschool mamas do the same. After leaving an abusive marriage with 5 young children, launching a successful business, and creating a support community with several hundred members, Sarah believes there’s always a way to achieve your goals. It’s just about finding the right support. So, if you’re contemplating homeschooling teens, or middle schoolers, she believes that you can accomplish it.
Click Here to Read Sarah’s Blog
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