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25 Benefits of Homeschooling Your Teen

Many homeschooling families begin to doubt their decision to homeschool as children enter the teen years.

I understand.

The teen years present a host of parenting challenges in general - throw education into the mix and it can be overwhelming. The high school years especially feel like a time we just need to get it right.

Are they getting the right credits?

What about sports?

How can I help my child with Calculus?

Will they miss the prom?

Will they get into college?

The list of questions is enough to keep a parent up at night, isnt’ it?

I am proponent of never saying never, but I feel confident in our decision to homeschool through high school (largely because I’ve done it!). So many people tell me why they could never homeschool high school.

I’m here to tell you why you CAN, and share the many benefits.

25 Benefits of #Homeschooling Your Teen

Strong Relationships with Parents

I think it is fair to say I have a very good relationship with my children. We are together so much and this forces us to have to work through it all - the good and the bad - on a daily basis.

Time to Develop and Explore Passions

Because we aren’t slaves to a traditional school schedule my children can spend time on what interests them. During the high school years, especially, this is is so important.

Sleep

Our teens need their sleep. Yes, I agree they need to know how to get up with an alarm clock and follow someone else’s rules, as well.

I like to think we have a healthy mixture of this in our home. We have days where we have to be up and out, and days where we can sleep in and rest if we need it.

No one can accomplish much when they are run down and worn out!

Absence of Peer Pressure

We haven’t dealt with mean girls, cliques, being “uncool” because we’re smart, or any of the other worries I had in traditional school.

I’ve almost forgotten how MEAN teens can be to one another. I am SO thankful we don’t deal with this. In fact, I think we have just the opposite: iron sharpens iron!

Less Attitude

We often associate the teen years with attitudes - eye rolling and disrespect. I read an interesting thing about adolescence the other day:

Adolescence metastasized during a season in American history when families weren’t prepared to raise on of the first generations ever to experience childhood with both parents working outside of the home. Without parents that said, “Follow me,” - into the kitchen and into the yard, into the office and onto the farm - children didn’t learn many of the basic skills required to become an adult. ~ Janet Newberry (Education by Design, Not Default)

Because we are homeschooling we have the opportunity to guide our children into adulthood - I’m noticing that we are skipping a lot of the “teenager” behavior that I simply assumed would occur.

It’s Not “All About Me”

Again, because we are homeschooling, my children see life day in and day out. Life is messy and difficult. Life is also joyful and wonderful.

Because my children have had to experience everything with us at home they know that life isn’t all about them. In a school the focus is all on the children - at home our kids have to sometimes take a backseat for one another or other members of the family.

This is a GOOD thing.

25 Benefits of #Homeschooling Your Teen

Housework

Selfishly, it’s nice to have some help around the house! Many hands make light work.

Additionally, the skills children learn because they are helping around the house from a young age are invaluable. We can incorporate cooking, cleaning, yard work, and so many other household chores into our school day.

More Time for Real Life

We don’t have the wasted time of waiting in line, changing classes, going to and from school, and just all of the TIME spent doing nothing in traditional school.

This gives us more time for REAL LIFE.

Enough said.

Increased Independence (with the right motivation)

When we homeschool our children we can give them opportunities to be independent. Things like doing laundry, cooking meals - and working jobs as they get older - help our children become independent.

Some children become independent because they are FORCED to do so - but I would like to think that my homeschool teens have become independent because I have inspired them to do so. They see the fruits of their labor and are looking forward to adulthood.

They aren’t simply being independent because mom isn’t home to help them. Mom is THERE, coming alongside them in love, to inspire them towards independence.

(Yes, I’m including some pictures of my homeschoolers in this post — love my kiddos!)

25 Benefits of #Homeschooling Your Teen

College Readiness

This goes back to the independence I think. As our teens become more independent (socially and academically), they are readying themselves for college.

I’ve heard time and again that homeschoolers are a college professor’s dream because they are self-starters and go above and beyond what is expected of them. They haven’t been box checkers in their homeschooling career, so they aren’t wondering what boxes need to be checked to receive a certain grade in college.

Homeschoolers are used to working for MASTERY not a reward.

This is huge.

Better Social Skills

Ironic, isn’t it? Homeschoolers have better social skills.

I have watched homeschoolers carefully and they generally know how to interact with a wide variety of people quite successfully. Their language is more sophisticated (because they haven’t been around teen speak all day every day) and they are able to relate to people of ALL ages because this is what they know.

Honestly, I am SO THANKFUL my children don’t have the social skills I have seen in some traditional teens. I’m not trying to put other teens down, I am just telling you the truth of why we homeschool.

It’s Less Expensive than Traditional School

Yes, we have to pay for all of our own supplies and classes, etc… Stick with me, however.

Have you seen how much a marching band trip in the public schools costs these days? Are you aware of how much money traditional school children spend on the prom?

How about the clothes kids feel they need to have to keep up with others?

I think you get my point here.

At the very least I feel better about how we invest our dollars in our homeschool than I would if my child were in a traditional school.

It Nurtures Introverts & Extroverts

I have one of each in my house.

We can set our homeschool up for the success of both my introvert and my extrovert.

Our teens need to feel loved and secure. They need to feel they can be who they are and not have to conform to everyone else.

God created our children in the image of HIM, yet uniquely gifted as well. Our children’s true identity is in Christ, not who the world says they are. Introverts and extroverts have very different needs, and I am thankful to be able to cater to those through homeschooling.

Increased Academic Opportunities

If you are willing to do your research and plug into your community there are an abundance of academic opportunities for our teens.

Just a couple of weeks ago we were at a Robotics Open House at the Georgia Institute of Technology. I am quite certain this motivated a lot of the teens in our group!

There are so many classes, curricula, and groups for our teens. This is perhaps the most exciting thing about homeschooling a teen right now. The world is your oyster!

More Opportunities to Fail

You read that right: more opportunities to fail.

Because we aren’t worried about checking off boxes or working towards a grade (or worse still achievement on a standardized test) we can let our students fail and then learn from those failures.

Failure is the BEST way for our teens to learn. Our teens need to make mistakes, humble themselves, seek forgiveness, and receive grace. That cycle will repeat itself again and again my children’s lives, and it never ceases to amaze me the learning that takes place.

My home is the safest place for my children to fail. They can make some of their biggest mistakes under my roof. When they are out on their own they will hopefully look back on those failures and remember the value in admitting the mistake and seeking forgiveness - and then taking ownership.

They Mature Earlier, Yet Stay Younger Longer

Think about this: our homeschoolers mature earlier, yet stay younger longer.

Increased independence leads to maturation.

If we are successful in “sheltering” our children from so many of the evils of this world, they will stay younger for longer.

Many people mistake maturity for worldliness… I want my teens to be mature but not worldly. There is a HUGE difference.

I also believe that because many of our homeschoolers have younger siblings they are forced to stay younger for longer. I know that my own children interact with many children who are younger and it is such a blessing!

Close Sibling Relationships

Homeschool teens need their siblings. Siblings will be around much longer than traditional school friends (in most cases), and we have a unique opportunity to foster that relationship.

Our culture now is suffering from the effects of so many fractured families. Hopefully homeschool parents are doing their part to create strong families and close siblings!

Freedom to Pursue Their Relationship with God

We are able to bring God into EVERYTHING when we homeschool.

Our teens are in such a time of faith formation. They can be free to see His presence (or even question His presence).

The teen years mark the beginning of the dialectic, and our children are created to question and seek. We have such a chance to guide them in their faith through all of the time we enjoy with them at home!

25 Reasons to #Homeschool Your Teen

Working and Saving Money

From a very practical standpoint, our homeschool teens can have jobs and begin to save money from a younger age.

I know so many homeschool teens (my own 17 year old included) who work a job - or two - , go to school, and participate in other activities. In days gone by our teens were expected to work and pull their weight.

Many people now simply hand their children “opportunities” and don’t feel they need to burden them with a job. Parents, one of the best things you can do for your children is to make them WORK. The satisfaction that comes from buying their own clothes, filling their own gas tank, and purchasing their own incidentals is immense.

And, with the rising price of secondary education, these kids need to pull their weight!

25 Reasons to #Homeschool Your Teen

Quality of Friendships

My children have had many of the same friends for a LONG time.

Homeschoolers generally tend to value friendships (because they aren’t as readily available as they would be in traditional school) and cultivate those friendships.

I watch the friendships of school children come and go - based on who is the most popular, or who is dating whom at the present time. It’s all so shallow and sets the kids up for heartbreak - not to mention they never learn how to TRULY be a good friend.

Young People Who Are Leaders, NOT Followers

Our teens have greater confidence to lead when they are certain of their identity - and certain they are loved.

They will not look for affirmation through following a group.

This also goes along with maturing earlier and staying younger longer. Our teens grow in grace and naturally will bring others along with them!

Courage to Pursue Nontraditional Paths After High School

College isn’t for everyone. Increasingly, nontraditional paths after high school are starting to become more financially and emotionally rewarding.

Because our homeschoolers have been off the beaten path in their homeschool journey they have the courage to continue after high school.

Community Service

Our teens, when they are homeschooled, have a chance to participate in community service because they WANT to - not because it is required for a resume or transcript.

It makes me so sad to see high schoolers checking getting in their “volunteer hours” just so they look good on an application.

As we, their parents, participate in community service, we can naturally encourage our children to serve with us (not keeping track of the hours!), and hopefully this will lead our teens to love and crave more service.

We are also in a beautiful position to help our neighbors and those closest to us because we are at home and have the time to see and respond to their needs.

Safety

Yes, I’m going there.

With all of the shootings and violence in our public schools, I am thankful to be able to keep my children in a more protected environment.

Homeschooling our children (especially our teens) is a safer option. They are at less risk for violence, exposure to drugs, and a myriad of other things that plague today’s schools.

Our Children Can Become “Persons”

So often in a traditional school our children are simply “test scores to be ranked and marketed, instead of persons to be raised, nourished, known, and valued.” (Janet Newberry)

I am so clearly witnessing my children becoming persons - the person God intended them to be.

There are so many competing agendas in the world of education today, and I don’t want my children to be pawns in the system.

The most gratifying part of my homeschooling journey has been watching my children (now 14 and 17) mature into the young people God desires them to be. I know they have a long way to go, but I am honored to have taken them this far!



I’d love to know if you have any other compelling reasons to homeschool our teens! I’m sure we can come up with quite a long list!

Leave me a comment and let me know!

















From School to Home: Our Story (Part Two)

Once we made the decision to bring our oldest home it was time to get down to the business of really schooling her.

We took a couple of months to “deschool” (I had read somewhere to give your child a month for every year they had been in traditional school - so we needed about 3 months to get public school out of our system). I needed this time as well to get my ducks in a row.

I began researching curriculum and methods and reading anything I could get my hands on. I ordered a full curriculum kit from Sonlight and we began!

Everyone remarked about my qualifications to homeschoolL

“Your children will do just fine being homeschooled because of your background in education; I have no idea how you could do it without a teaching degree.”

I would soon come to learn, however, that training as a public school teacher was actually a HINDRANCE to homeschooling. The most important qualifications for a homeschooling parent were a love for their children, a willingness to learn, and a commitment to their child’s individuality.

From School to Home: Our Story (Part Two) — our journey to #homeschool

The Classroom Mentality

I began homeschool with the classroom mentality. This involved:

  • a strict schedule

  • worksheets

  • grading

  • what children “should” know

  • a physical space where learning occurred

Even though we had the beautiful curriculum guide and all of the gorgeous books from Sonlight, I still tried to recreate school at home.

Homeschool Mom Fail #1 (the first of so many!)

I purchased the popular books about what children need to know at each grade level. I tried to supplement Sonlight with some of that knowledge.I followed the Sonlight curriculum guide to the letter.

I made sure all of our written work was complete before we had any rewards like reading for pleasure, playing outside, or taking field trips. (I’m sure this is NOT the purpose of Sonlight - I was just a slave to the curriculum.)

I purchased a gradebook program and began keeping grades.

We said the pledge first thing every morning and sang songs about the weather. (I turned a space in our upstairs family room into our school area - and would make the kids sit and listen to me as I went through our beginning of the day litany - the one I had been used to in public school!)

It was ridiculous.

Thank goodness it only took me approximately 6 months to realize (after reading many blogs and meeting a few wonderful local homeschool moms) I was doing it all wrong.

My child was basically getting a one-on-one classroom education at home. That wasn’t what I desired for her, and over the course of the next year we made many adjustments.

*I still am a huge proponent of the Sonlight box curriculum. I’m just giving you an example of how I wasn’t willing to trust the homeschool process and know that between their resources and what my OWN child needed we would have had a more than sufficient homeschool education for her.

Homeschooling Wasn’t My Plan

Because homeschooling my children hadn’t been part of our thought process for very long we were still adjusting.

I knew I wouldn’t be going back to work full time. I also knew I wouldn’t have any “free time” while both of the kids were in school.

To be honest, it felt a bit like a death of something I had been working towards for 8 years - getting of my children into school so I could do my own thing again. I’m ashamed to admit this. Homeschooling has caused me to die to self again and again, and I couldn’t be more thankful for that blessing. Our lives changed in a few marked ways:

  • Priorities shifted

  • Dependence on God deepened.

  • Friends were lost - and gained.

  • Certain members of our family drifted from us - others supported us 110%.

  • The relationship with my children became oh so sweet - they were (and still are) my buddies day in and day out!

Looking back I realize those first six months of homeschooling were a training ground and deschooling time for all of us. By the time my youngest was ready for Kindergarten I was confident in the decision to homeschool. As we entered the Fall of 2010 I was homeschooling a 5 and 9 year old full time.

I had an extremely eager five year old! I was so thankful to be homeschooling him because he just SOARED! I cannot imagine how stifling a traditional learning environment would have been for him.

From School to Home: Our Story (Part Two) #homeschool

Things That Worked

I was obsessed.

Homeschooling offered so many advantages. We kept our own schedule, imparted what WE deemed important to our children, and spent time on things that truly interested them. I could see my children thriving.

A wise friend advised me that as long as I was covering reading and math I could follow my children’s leads and do a lot of interest led learning with them. She encouraged me to cultivate the wonder in their lives. This was probably the best homeschooling advice I’ve ever received. We didn’t truly “buckle down” until 7th grade with my oldest and it was just fine!

I decided to piece together curriculum for my children and follow their lead. If I’m being honest this was the most fun time in our homeschool journey!

I was beginning to see the true beauty in customizing their education. Certain resources and activities just clicked with my kids.

We joined a local homeschool co-op that met one afternoon a week. This gave the kids a chance to take fun classes and make friends. Through the co-op we learned about a homeschool literature fair (that we participated in for several years) … all of the wonderful homeschooling opportunities simply snowballed.

From School to Home: Our Story (Part Two) #homeschool

I was beginning to realize I COULD homeschool my children. The naysayers had been wrong. Imagine that.

When It’s Not All Roses

Please don’t get the impression that homeschooling was all roses. It wasn’t.

We definitely had many beautiful days, but there were hard days, too. It’s the same way now.

Some of the things we battled in the early years…

  • Attitude (from mom and kids)

  • Friendships - it took us a while to find our “tribe”

  • Opposition - from family and friends

  • Isolation - My husband worked an hour away and was gone for long hours - I felt isolated and had trouble finding like minded friends the first few years.

  • Relationships - my kids needed to learn how to be with each other full time - and I needed to learn to be with them full time, too.

These things got better over the years, but it was definitely an adjustment for all of us. Our lifestyle was changing, and I now see that we were actually going through the process of building a better life for ourselves, but it was going to take time and patience.

And then, just when I thought I was getting the hang of things, something happened… middle school!

In Part Three of this series I’ll address homeschooling big kids and how I (reluctantly) adjusted to that transition.

I’d love to hear about your homeschool journey - have you always homeschooled, or did you stumble into it reluctantly?

Leave me a comment below!


Did you miss Part I of the series? Find it here!