It’s the time of year when all the kids are headed back to school. It’s exciting for everyone – though in talking with local friends many are a little trepidatious about teaching high schoolers at home. I TOTALLY get it. My oldest is a freshman this year. I have a tiny pinkie toe in the trenches of “homeschooling high schoolers”.
So, I am more writing this to the moms of younger kids who, when they look ahead, they get a little freaked out. They see these big, sometimes hairy, sometimes smelly, adult-looking people and worry. “I can’t do that!” resonates in their heads. “We’ll homeschool to middle school, and then send them to school for high school.” “I can’t do those upper level classes….”
Please, don’t make plans now for your kid’s future. Maybe a brick and mortar school is what they, and you, will need. But I beg you not to get yourself psyched out, get your hearts set on sending them to the local schools, or mentally draw any finish lines to homeschooling. I am here to share with you that teaching older kids is a JOY and … yup… it’s even more fun than nature walks and finger painting!
Older kids are way MORE INTERESTING to have discussions with! They have ideas and opinions. They can process both what they read, and the world around them, and on great days – scripture along with it all. It’s awesome. They become so much more interesting to teach when comprehension is about ideas and conclusions and connections more than, “John flew the plane where?”. I’m at the stage now where I have to accept that my kids have their own ideas. My job is becoming more of a mentor, a guide, a partner – and it’s COOL!
Older kids are HELPFUL. Yes, you have to train them. (And for mine, I still have to check and make sure everything is being done.) But, they [can be trained to] have initiative. They help. They can mow lawns and do dishes and clean up after themselves. They can find things, and clean up their own school books, and if they lose stuff – they have to deal with it. I’m not saying make your kids martyrs. By no means. I am saying that art is FUN again. Baking is a JOY. The daily working of family life can be smooth with older kids.
Older kids are INDEPENDENT. Let me be frank here. I am not one to throw a pile of books at my kids and walk away. That’s not what I am saying. I am saying, that older kids can manage more. For example – this morning I needed to run to Walmart. We were out of TP in the master bath. THIS is an issue for me. And, Walmart is just awful unless it’s about 8 am… The kids had their lists and got to work while I was gone. They had reading, some online classwork, etc. I did math as soon as I got home. This isn’t a habit of mine – but when I need to go I go. Sure, some things are slower (and that may be the new year, too) but it’s not a huge deal to leave a worklist. They’re old enough now I expect (and inspect) that it will be done.
Older kids are FLEXIBLE. I know this isn’t true for every kid, but most older kids are much more flexible. My kids can work at a coffee shop – and actually get something done. They can read in the car – or on an airplane. They can do math later in the day when I can help if I’m busy in the morning. They can sleep in and be productive at night. They travel well. They can manage food and snacks themselves – and clean up. They’re just generally a whole lot easier to work with than little ones.
Older kid’s WORK IS MORE FUN. Ok, apple prints are cool. Teaching a kid to read – that’s a top 5 parenting moment. But EV3 robots… arduino building and programming… real art (with REAL supplies I can steal!)… Bible Bee memory work and Greek word studies… apologetics…geometry… aero… photography… graphic design… THIS IS REALLY FUN!!! Math is much more fun when it’s algebra than teaching ling division (really). The material with older kids is just a whole lot more interesting and engaging to teach and to walk alongside with them.
Please, Moms. Don’t freak out. Don’t stop homeschooling because you’re intimidated. Don’t make plans for the future on the basis of fear. Honestly, the water is fine over here. In fact, so far, it’s awesome. I fully realize there are likely sharks nearby (there are ALWAYS sharks in this parenting journey!), but I think we’ll be able to navigate these waters together!!
Strength and dignity are her clothing,
And she smiles at the future.
How about you? Do you love homeschooling teens – or do you have little ones and you’re still a little freaked out by future?