As parents, we face many challenges. Just when we think we have figured it all out, everything gets flipped upside down. Almost overnight our babies turn into toddlers, our toddlers into preschoolers, and preschoolers into high schoolers. That last one may seem like a huge jump, but that is seriously how fast that change seemed to happen in my house. This year my oldest son reached a big milestone—high school.
This newest milestone was an eye-opener for me. In just a few short years my son will be an adult and begin a life on his own. If I expect him to be a capable adult when that time comes, he needs the opportunity to grow into one. By allowing my homeschooled teen to have a voice now, he is learning important skills to take with him into adulthood.
These skills are essential to his transition, and include:
1. Time Management
Throughout the years I have spent a lot of time nagging my son to do this, that, and the next thing. Instead of continuing my endless nagging, it is now up to my son to manage his own time. I make sure my expectations are clear, and it is then up to my teenager to follow through.
Although this places a lot of responsibility on his shoulders, he also has a lot more freedom as well. He now can decide when to:
- go to sleep at night
- wake up in the morning
- complete his school work
In the beginning, there was definitely a learning curve to get around. My son took full advantage of his newfound freedom and stayed up late way too many nights in a row. He procrastinated and put off a lot of his schoolwork until the last minute. He then had to work way after dinner on a Friday night to catch up. Not only did he have to work for hours after everyone else, but he also had to cancel plans with friends. Needless to say, he is much better at managing his time now.
I have found that by allowing my son to make a few significant decisions, he is more connected with what he is doing. Last summer while preparing for the upcoming homeschool year, I talked with my teenager at length about what he would prefer to do. I had narrowed down our curriculum selections to two different possibilities, and I then left the final decision up to my him. Since he made the final decision on the materials, he is much happier with his workload.
At the beginning of the year, we were doing his science work together because it was designed to be completed that way. However, after a few weeks, he asked to work independently on it. At first, I was a bit hesitant to permit this because he was not doing great on the work pages and quizzes.
After some consideration, I agreed to a trial period. The very first week he got everything correct and he has earned all A's from that point on. Apparently, he needed a little more independence to motivate himself.
BookShark Can Help
BookShark curriculum can lead your teens towards more independent learning with three History & Literature Packages that include both Student and Parent Guides:
- 20th Century World History & Literature for high school
- History of Science & Literature J for ages 14-16
- American History & Literature I for ages 13-15
Your guide still includes the reading assignments, discussion questions, mapping and timeline assignments, all of the answers, and notes specifically for the parent. But your teen gets a guide, too!
Student Guides help them stay on track with assignments and make them accountable for more of their own learning.
If my son wants to be treated like an adult, he needs to act like one. A big lesson that he has learned this year is that when you are an adult, your mom doesn't do or fix everything for you. So far this year he has been responsible for:
- scheduling his own doctor appointments
- inquiring about job applications and opportunities
- completing all school work and chores without being reminded
- informing co-op teachers when he will not be attending classes
- being completely prepared for classes and extracurricular activities
I am no longer willing to take extra trips to bring him things that he left at home. I don't speak to other adults on his behalf. It only took a few missteps for him to realize that he only has himself to blame if he doesn't act responsibly.
Although letting go of the reins has been a big adjustment for both of us this year, I know now that my teenager will be ready for the real world. He is learning how to navigate life, responsibility, and failure while he still has room to make mistakes.
About the Author
Roxanne Raiche is a book hoarding, coffee loving, homeschooling mama of three in Iron Mountain, Michigan. She is the voice behind Blushing Bibliophile.