Chances are, if you are homeschooling a teen now (or thinking about homeschooling a teen in the future), you are a bit intimidated and cautious because - well, they’re teens.
There are so many reasons for NOT homeschooling your teen.
The attitude (oh, the attitude). The difficult subject matter. The socialization. The need for them to be accountable to others. The questions about getting into college.
Put all that aside, please.
So many of these are unfounded, unmerited, and just plain FALSE.
I am an advocate for homeschooling your teen ( If you need to, pause right now and read Stop Telling Me Why You Can’t Homeschool - High School ).
Yes, it will be challenging, and yes it will be painful at times. But so is traditional school.
10 Reasons to Homeschool Your Teen
1. Your influence matters (more than ever) during the teen years.
WHO do you want to influence your teens?
Do not buy into the lie that teens need to move away from the families - and towards independence - during these years. Yes, they will become independent, but with YOUR help.
Teens are watching those around them. We want the examples they see to be of the highest quality. This is where parents come in.
Model what you want to see in your children. It’s your most effective teaching tool.
This is a tremendous opportunity to train up a child in the way they should go (Proverbs 22:6).
2. Your teens will have better social skills.
There are so many ways to socialize your teen homeschooler.
A variety of in-person and online classes, sports and fine arts groups, and well chosen peer groups are just a few of these.
I love watching my children greet adults by looking them in the eye, introducing themselves, shaking hands. I love seeing my children adapt to any social situation. In short, I love seeing the young people they have become BECAUSE OF the intentional socialization homeschool provides.
I would contend that traditional schools do very little to “socialize” children, wouldn’t you?
3. Homeschooled teens will be able to pursue their passions.
We have the unique opportunity to not let our children lose their sense of wonder in the teen years.
Just today, I saw this in action. We have dear friends whose nephew is visiting for the month of December. He is staying with his grandparents (who also homeschooled their children) and they are building into him for the month. They asked him what skill they could help him learn while he was in town.
This young man wanted to learn to forge, so today was his first lesson with our friend who is a blacksmith. They will continue to work together to refine this skill.
We have tapped into community and church members who can help our children pursue any number of interests. It takes some work on our part to find and nurture these relationships, but it is OH SO worth it!
4. We need to protect our teens from the influences of social media.
I don’t need to explain much here. The influence of social media when teens get together in a group is palpable.
When your children are homeschooled you can more easily delay cell phone and social media usage. You have the opportunity to keep your children busy with other things, and to be on the same page with your children’s friends’ parents about social media.
This article speaks loud and clear about the NECESSITY of delaying technology use for our kids.
I’m not saying we don’t let our children use social media. I am saying we do it SPARINGLY and with careful supervision.
5. You owe your teens a safe, respectful space for learning.
Why do we think we need to group literally THOUSANDS of teens together into a prison-like building to effectively “educate” them?
Many schools are unsafe, unpleasant places to be. With increasing frequency we hear about school shootings, bullying, and so much more going on in schools.
Where would YOU learn best?
Why should we expect any less for our teens?
Whether it is at home in a learning space your child has designed, or in some type of a homeschool hybrid environment (which is always smaller), the environment for homeschoolers in infinitely better!
6. We can keep our children from falling prey to the “teen” mentality.
The concept of a “teenager” is a recent phenomenon.
This article from The Saturday Evening Post explains the origin of the concept of “teenagers”.
Who says teenagers have to be moody and sullen? Why is it that our society almost seems to instill a FEAR of the teenage years in parents?
We treat teens as some different class of citizens, and it really is driven by marketing and education.
It seems to me that the word TEENAGER has very few (if any) positive connotations.
Homeschooling allows us to treat children like adults much sooner. We can maintain high expectations, and not allow them to devolve into teenager-land.
7. Homeschool prepares our teens for the “real world”.
As we design a curriculum for our homeschoolers, we can infuse real world experiences and skills.
Money management. Cooking. Doing laundry. Volunteer work.
Those are very practical things.
Recently, my own teens have had a huge dose of the real world, as they walked through their grandfather’s last weeks of life in hospice care. Homeschooling gave them the flexibility to be with him, and spend time with our family in those last days.
I cannot imagine what our life would have been like had we been beholden to a school schedule and requirements. Sometimes real life means we have to be there for our families. Sometimes real life means dealing with messy and hard things.
The real world is NOT a traditional school. Far from it.
8. Parents can retain control of their teen’s education.
Someone once jokingly asked me if I was homeschooling because I couldn’t give up control of my children. Actually, that was EXACTLY correct.
I appreciate being able to decide (with my child) what classes they take, when they take them, and what the content of those courses is. I know what my children need to graduate and I can decide on the best path to get there.
Having this control saves our family A LOT OF TIME and A LOT OF HEADACHE.
9. Your teens can actually get a BETTER education through homeschooling.
If you are willing to do the research, you can seek out the BEST education for YOUR CHILD.
Nothing can equal the personalized education homeschooling offers our children.
My son is a math kid. I have enjoyed seeking out math curricula that fit his needs. First, it was Saxon Math. Now that he is at the high school level we have chosen Shormann Math and it is working VERY well.
For my daughter, math is not her strong area - but she still needed instruction and to be successful. Mr. D Math was the perfect solution for her. One size does NOT fit all.
In an update I wrote about my oldest, Follow that Child, I stressed the importance of customizing our child’s needs at every stage of their homeschool career. I am convinced that we couldn’t have achieved this customization any other way.
(P.S. : Just read Dumbing Us Down: The Hidden Curriculum of Compulsory Education and you will be convicted to homeschool quite quickly!)
10. Homeschooling your teen will give you an abundance of time with them.
As we near the end of the road with our oldest, I can tell you this has been the largest benefit to homeschooling our teens.
This is time I will never get back - precious, precious time.
My children are close to each other and close to their dad and me. As we prepare to send our daughter to college I know this closeness provides self-confidence, security, and an anchor.
Benjamin Franklin famously said, “Lost time is never found again.”
Oh how true this is for our children’s teen years.
We will never get these years back. They matter.
Use them wisely.