10 Reasons to Homeschool Your Teen

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

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!

 10 Reasons to Homeschool Your Teen

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”.

The teenager emerged in the middle of the 20th century thanks to the confluence of three trends in education, economics, and technology. High schools gave young people a place to build a separate culture outside the watchful eye of family. Rapid growth gave them income, either earned or taken from their parents. Cars (and, later, another mobile technology) gave them independence.
— Saturday Evening Post

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.

 10 Reasons to Homeschool Your Teen

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.

 10 Reasons to Homeschool

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.

I’d love to hear from you. Are you homeschooling your teen(s)?

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Homeschool to College

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Homeschool to College: Visits & Applications

This is part four of the Homeschool to College series.

It’s been such a joy to write this series, because as I write, my daughter’s college plans are coming together. All of her hard work and preparation is coming to fruition.

And yes - for me as her mom I feel an intense amount of relief and vindication.

We DID IT! We homeschooled well and we are nearly to the finish line.

It has been an emotional and joy filled experience schooling our daughter this far. Visiting colleges and completing the applications are some of your final steps of homeschooling. Enjoy them.

And, a word to this wise: STAY IN YOUR OWN LANE.

Stay out of Facebook groups for parents of seniors. Be careful how much you share and how much you solicit from other parents. Comparison IS the thief of joy. Your child is unique and their college decision will be unique.

 Homeschool to College (Part 4): Visits & Applications

This post focuses on the college visits and applications - just a few tips I have - I have another child to go and can’t stress how much each child is different. Do what you feel is best and use my suggestions as a guide.

Visiting Colleges

A word of advice: if you begin to talk to parents in your area you will quickly find out what colleges and universities are homeschool friendly.

We didn’t have any interest in pursuing schools that weren’t accommodating to homeschoolers.

We didn’t play the silly resume building game in high school, so why would we want to put on a dog and pony show for colleges now?

Additionally, in Georgia (as I suspect is the case in many other states) there are significant financial opportunities available at state colleges and universities. It made sense for us to seriously consider a few of our state institutions.

Start broad and narrow down.

When my daughter was a sophomore we started talking about college. We talked about whether she wanted to stay close to home or go far away. What size school interested her? Did she want a a school with a lot of school spirit and athletics, or did that not matter to her?

As we traveled, we would drive through college campuses - nothing formal - just looking at campuses.

It is amazing how much those initial conversations helped us all.

My husband and I had to do some of the initial poking and prodding about college, and suggested a few schools that might interest Anna. This is a foreign world to many of our children. Tread lightly because this is a HUGE change for our children.

There really is a school for everyone, and there are so many smaller schools out there that welcome homeschoolers and have abundant funds to offer them!

Make Visits in the Junior Year

We made official visits to three schools in Anna’s junior year.

Most schools have junior days specially designed for your child. You will find out SO MUCH during these visits.

You can also schedule a visit by simply checking the college website. These schools are HAPPY to have you visit. We even found a few schools that would REIMBURSE travel expenses for your visit!

We knew a student at one of the schools, so we also made a personal visit with her. Having a current student take your child around is extremely helpful!

(One of the schools we visited, Charleston Southern University, was just beautiful!)

 Homeschool to College: Visits and Applications

During College Visits

  • Parents - let your child do the talking. As much as you want to insert yourself in this process - DON’T.

  • Keep a notebook with a section for each college. Also, keep a file folder for each school. You will receive A LOT of information

  • Take time to drive around the area where the school is - is it possible to spend a weekend in the area to see what life will be like if your child attends that school?

  • If possible, leave siblings at home and spend this time with your college bound student. You won’t regret it.

After College Visits

  • Be sure your child has a professional email address - all of the admissions offices suggested a Gmail address somehow using part or all of the child’s name.

  • Your child should set up a voice mailbox on their phone - with a professional greeting.

  • Get in the habit of checking email regularly (we also get our child’s email delivered to our inbox so we can keep tabs on things).

  • Write thank you notes to any particular people at the school who were helpful to you.

  • As your child’s homeschooling parent/guidance counselor, make sure you follow up with your admissions officer and ask about any special homeschool requirements. I found that all schools were HAPPY to answer any questions I had and welcomed homeschool students.

  • Try as hard as possible not to share your preferences with your child. Let them form their opinions and make their own decisions. This will be four years of THEIR life, not yours!

  • Encourage your child to make a pro/con sheet after each visit - keep it in that notebook I talked about earlier.

(Anna even drove us to a college visit - on the interstate - in the rain. Great experience!)

 Homeschool to College: Visits and Applications

College Applications

My daughter applied as an UNACCREDITED homeschooler. We had no issues with this. In fact, I think it worked to our advantage because it made my daughter stand out from the crowd.As long as you have the test scores, letters of recommendation, and a solid high school course of study, all will be well.

Each school will want something different from you as a homeschooler, so be sure to investigate that thoroughly. Again, it wasn’t hard!

As for the actual applications process…

The advice I am going to give you is dramatically different than I had intended. It turns out, however, that God worked it all out for the best in our family. Stick with me as I tell you our story.

I had every intention of staying on top of my daughter to immediately begin applying to five schools when applications opened (many of them opened in October). As it turns out, in September my father was moving into Assisted Living and I needed to play a pivotal role in his move. I was back and forth to Florida several times during what should have been the time I was dedicating to helping Anna with her applications.

We explained to Anna that we were there if she ran into any problems, but that she would be on her own to fill out college applications. Because many of her peers were also applying to college, there was a lot of talk about applications. Anna worked on her applications diligently and met the early application deadline for three schools. My schedule forced me to step back, which was a GOOD thing - something I needed to do.

I did proofread her essays and her dad went over the applications before she clicked the “submit” button - but other than that it was all her. This was a BEAUTIFUL THING. I truly believe she owned the process. Had I poked and prodded about applying to more schools, or getting it done more quickly, I think we would have encountered resistance (you know what I mean, right?).

 Homeschool to College: Visits & Applications

I’m happy to report this is the face of a girl who was accepted to the three schools she applied to.

The days those acceptances came were glorious. I won’t lie - it felt like I had gotten accepted into college, too. As a homeschooling mom I felt validated and affirmed. It was like getting a stamp of approval on our homeschool journey. Maybe that sounds silly, but I’m being honest.

Mostly, however, I’m just so excited and thrilled for my sweet girl. She wants to study Special Education in college and work in some capacity with special needs adults. I know God is going to use her spirit and gifts to His glory - that has been our goal all along.

(She is still officially making her decision about where she wants to go - I’ll save that for another post!)

I’d love to know if you have any questions or comments. Please feel free to join the conversation in the comments below!

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