Apr 28, 2012

Living Their Lives - Home Educating Teens

There are very few home educating parents who do not cringe when they think about the “high school” years. Many become so intimidated that they spend tons of money on accredited programs, pay “homeschool gurus” to tell them they are doing the right thing and very often still end up enrolling their children in school so that they can get a “diploma.” It can be a very daunting and intimidating situation when you think about the fact that these four years can make or break your child’s ENTIRE FUTURE!!! So why do we think that way? Why do we allow the tape to continue it’s repeated taunt – “THERE IS ONLY ONE WAY”!!??!!??
As always there are many options available from traditional college prep to trade studies to GED prep and no matter which path your child has decided to turn down, school does not have to be one of them. So many young adults get to college or “out into the real world” and suddenly realize that they have no idea what they want to do, how they want to spend their lives and often even what they like. After being intellectually spoon-fed for 12-15 years should anyone really be surprised that they don’t know how to make a decision?
The teen years don’t have to be riddled with academics, extra-curricular activities, and SAT prep. It is the absolute perfect time to allow the child to decide on what path they want to take and how they want to get there. Teens should be permitted and encouraged to try new things, volunteer at places they find interesting, get a part-time job and start living their life. It is ideal timing because they can do so without fear of failure as they are still living at home and don’t have to be 100% responsible.
When planning ahead it is best to leave as many options open for your child, so I am in no way advocating a completely hands-off approach, but rather the same sort of eclectic, child-led learning that I always advocate for. Allow the child to have as much input as possible and be willing to discard things that don’t work – even if that means giving up an instrument, quitting a job, or dropping a class. The best strategy is to continue with a well-rounded education, utilizing real-life opportunities just as much as curriculum and courses. It can be just as easy, often easier even, to translate teen activities into educationese as it is for your children and not only an you create a transcript if necessary, but your child will be building their resume. 
Here are some books that you and your teens may find helpful while navigating this new and sometimes petrifying terrain - 
Also be sure to check out the Unplugged Mom’s Educational Resources Section for some great free learning initiatives.

~~~~This post can also be found on Unplugged Mom.
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