This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Helping Overachieving Teens Find Balance in Homeschooling. This post is running concurrently on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.
You know it if you have one: an overachiever. Some homeschooling high schoolers cannot stop! While being an achiever is a good thing, teens who cannot find the place where enough is enough are in danger of burnout or anxiety issues.
While not all teens are overachievers, it is important to address the concerns of parents who notice their capable teens heading towards burnout. Let’s dive into the topic of helping our overachieving teens find balance in homeschooling.
Understanding Overachieving Teens
Overachieving teens, especially in the homeschool community, value accomplishments. So they engage in numerous academic and extracurricular endeavors. These teens do not necessarily they love everything they do. Rather, they think they need to do these things in order to get to the next place in life as successfully as possible.
Whether they engage in NCAA-type athletics, academics, or arts, these teens tirelessly build impressive transcripts. They are aiming for competitive colleges. Whether driven by the desire for a full-ride scholarship or a competitive transcript, these teens can be at risk of hitting a wall halfway through junior or senior year.
Anxiety, burnout, and panic attacks may become issues if we do not address overachievers’ need for balance. Here are some ways you can help.
Setting Realistic Expectations
As a parent, it is crucial to sit down with your teen and reflect on the expectations you may have unintentionally conveyed. Discuss whether a full-ride scholarship to an Ivy League school is the only path to success. Help your overachieving teen understand that there are other colleges and career paths that can lead to fulfilling lives. Not every teen needs to attend an Ivy League school or obtain a full ride scholarship.
Realistic expectations can alleviate the pressure and allow teens to pursue a healthy balance in homeschooling between academics and personal well-being.
Be honest and clear on your part on what your expectations are, and then let them say what their expectations are. Then, talk about how realistic these expectations are, really! See if they can be reeled in to find a healthy level of lifestyle and achievement.
Clarify Their Goals
Encourage teens to clarify their ultimate goals for college and beyond. Does their career path require an Ivy League degree? Many fulfilling careers do not.
Also, it is crucial to understand that not every excellent student secures a full-ride scholarship. Accepting this realization (knowing some things will be out of their control- including scholarships) can alleviate undue pressure on overachievers.
Happiness is often a common goal for teens, but what does happiness mean to them? Research suggests that individuals who contribute to the greater good tend to experience greater happiness. Sometimes, overachievers who are stuck in all-day academics feel better and more balanced with they add service projects to their schedules.
Discuss the importance of finding meaning and purpose in their pursuits, whether through their career or personal hobbies.
Also, it is wise engage in financial literacy discussions to help them understand their future needs and goals. Incorporating financial literacy, into goal-setting discussions can guide teens in aligning their career aspirations with realistic financial goals. Tools like the Career One Stop website can provide valuable insights into salary expectations and suitable career paths.
Exploring Career Options
To avoid burnout, it is wise to guide your teen in exploring realistic career options which can help support their overall goal. Incorporate Career Exploration, including researching different careers and their corresponding salaries to help them set achievable goals.
Visit college campuses, attend college tours, and look for scholarships that align with their career aspirations. By doing so, you can help your teen understand the possibilities and make informed decisions without overwhelming themselves.
Building Self Awareness and Time Management
Teach your overachieving teen the importance of effective time management. Conduct a time audit to help them visualize how they spend their time. Encouraging teens to perform a time audit can reveal imbalances in their daily routines.
Often, overachievers focus heavily on academics while neglecting self-care, socializing, and sleep. Overemphasis on academics at the cost of social interaction or adequate sleep is a recipe for long-term issues.
Encourage them to strike a balance in homeschooling by making adjustments to their schedules. Ensure they are getting enough sleep, engaging in social activities, and taking care of their physical and mental well-being.
Educational resources like the 7Sisters health curriculum can help teens understand the importance of sleep and overall wellness, fostering a more holistic approach to their activities.
Learning From Leadership
In cases where teens are involved in extracurriculars with strong leadership, like sports, it is wise to discern the healthy and potentially harmful influences these figures may have on them. Sometimes you have wonderful role models of coaches, but sometimes they are a little quirky in their personalities. So you need to look into their leadership more to see what kinds of things they are learning from this coach and if they are healthy.
Help your teen develop self-awareness by asking them to reflect on their emotions and actions. Encourage them to journal or have conversations about how they feel, why they feel that way, and what actions they can take to address those feelings.
Fostering self-awareness can help them make healthier choices and prevent burnout. They can look at the log over time to see where a lot of their time has gone. This can help them visually see where their time is going.
Teaching teens the “three Ws” – What am I feeling? Why am I feeling this? What am I going to do about it? – aids in developing self-awareness and emotional intelligence. Applying these questions to themselves and others fosters empathy and realistic goal setting. (Here’s a freebie 3Ws journal from Vicki’s life coaching website.)
Sometimes overachieving teens have a strong-willed streak. Here’s a post to help.
Supporting Friendships and Relationships
Recognize the importance of friendships and relationships in your teen’s life. We recommend that overachieving teens spend quality time with friends regularly. This social interaction is vital for their emotional and mental health. Encourage them to spend quality time with friends and engage in activities outside their academic pursuits.
If you need to make an assignment to socialize with their friends, then make it an assignment. There is nothing wrong with giving them a homework assignment of spending at least some time every week in person in real life with some friends.
Sometimes it is just necessary to have friendships in a digital format, but they need that friend time.
Helping Overachieving Teens Find Balance in Homeschooling
Finding balance in homeschooling is essential for overachieving teens to avoid burnout and lead fulfilling lives. We want our teens to be healthy and productive people that, in the long run, glorify God by their personalities and their choices and behaviors.
If you are the parent of an overachiever and need some other ideas, one of the coolest places to discuss things is at the 7Sisters Homeschool Facebook Group.
Join Vicki for a discussion on helping overachieving teens live a well-balance lifestyle.
Thank you to Richie Soares with Homeschool and Humor for writing this blog post.
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