By request: How to find time for everything in homeschool high school.
How to Find Time for Everything in Homeschool High School
We were having a discussion on our 7SistersHomeschool Facebook group about things we are glad we had done during homeschool high school (courses, electives, extracurriculars, service, competitions) and things we wished we had done. One of the moms asked a valid question:
There are so many things we must cover during homeschool high school and so many opportunities beyond the basics, how do we find time for everything?
Here is the true answer to that question: You can’t!
There is no way on earth your homeschoolers can learn everything there is to learn and do all the incredible things there are to do during the four short years of high school! There are going to be gaps and things left till another time in life. You can’t do everything.
Now that we have that out of the way, let’s talk about how to fit everything in that truly needs to be fit into the homeschool high school years.
Here are some important skills to take into consideration as you try to figure out what academic subjects and other experiences your teens will need this year (and all four years of homeschooling high school).
Set your goals
I know we harp on this a lot. You don’t go on vacation without knowing where you are going. Even more importantly: You certainly would not want to spend four years of educating your teens without knowing the outcomes you (and they) wanted.
Goal setting is SO important for your homeschool high school. Work with your teens and write down the goals you are sure about (you can add to and modify them over time, of course):
- What courses need to be covered?
- What after-high-school plans do your teens have (college, career, military)?
- (If they don’t have a clue, check out this Homeschool Highschool Podcast episode.)
- What are their interests or kinds of things do they want to learn or explore?
- What are their strengths that they want to develop (check out this interview where Anita Gibson and Vicki discuss the power of a homeschool parent in helping their teens find their strengths) or a purpose they want to invest in?
- What are their weaknesses they want to bolster?
- What kinds of social and life skills do they want to learn?
- What kinds of extracurriculars do they want to experience?
- What kinds of electives are they wanting to learn?
- In what kinds of service do they want to engage?
- Here are some ideas for what a teen needs most during homeschool high school.
Make a wishlist of all these things. Then set it aside for a few minutes while you clarify priorities.
Decide on priorities
Now you and your teens can decide what the priorities will be for each year.
- If academics is the number one priority, then social and extracurricular goals will be bumped down the priority list or left off the goals for the a year.
- If life skills is the top priority, then you will help your teens concentrate on earning credits in various life skills. They still must do their academics, but they would probably want to work on them at a lower level of rigor.
- If the family will be taking a winter vacation to visit Grandma in Florida, then a priority might be to work ahead in the academics so you all can enjoy a couple of weeks off during the academic year.
Save time by combining credits
Sometimes you can double up on subjects- working on two or three related subjects at the same time. We have several posts to get your inspired thinking on this:
- How to combine Great Christian Writers literature, History elective and Fine Arts
- Combining Literature, Writing, History and Geography
- Combining American Literature, Art and American History
- Combining Cooking, History, Literature and Writing
- Combining World History, Literature and Writing
- A simple how-to combine credits
Dabble, don’t deep dive
Over the four years of high school, your homeschoolers will most likely find that there are some subjects or extracurriculars they want to explore in-depth. That’s good!
However, most of the time, teens want to learn a little about a lot of different things, so try short electives or short-term extracurriculars- at least at the start. By tenth grade or eleventh grade, teens know more about themselves and can really go all-in on things that matter to them.
So, start out with dabbles. Deep dive later in high school.
Adjust rigor of courses to fit the big-picture needs
If your teens are spending lot of time on extracurriculars that really matter to them or they are “just-average teens“, they might need to reduce the rigor of many of their academic courses so that they are not spending endless hours on academic subjects that are not preparing them for the future.
If your teens are college bound, you will probably need to increase the academic rigor of core courses (at least in the areas of the college majors they are interested in). This might mean that they have to decrease some extracurriculars (but try not to let them live for academic alone).
Teach your teens time management
One way to make sure we fit in all that we should fit in, is to make sure we and our teens know how to manage time well. There are so many time suckers in our American culture. Can you think of a few? Check out this post on teaching teens time management.
We have two favorite time management tools in our 7Sisters estore:
Close tabs, put the phone in a drawer
When doing something that requires concentration, make sure that distractions need to be at a minimum. Having 14 tabs open on the computer while trying to write a paper will slow a teen down. A stream of texts from friends will do the same.
We moms cam model closing tabs and not obsessing over the phone, too.
Find peers for teamwork
For projects and studying for tests, there’s nothing like teamwork. If your teens can find some peers to work with a team on projects or studying for tests, they will have learned a good life skill. This may help them in the future.
Make time for fun
Proverbs 17:22 tells us that a merry heart does good like a medicine. Research bears this out. We feel better if we have fun and if we laugh. Teens learn better, too. Work on ways together so that there is fun of some kind each day.
I have always had the opinion that most teens are happiest and healthiest when they are at the right level of “busy” for them. Keep the lines of communication going. You do not want a teen to experience burnout and it is best for them not to have too much boredom. Finding and keeping the balance takes time to check in with them.
Also, check out this episode with Sabrina (sharing the things she has learned about homeschooling high school): If I Could Talk to My Younger Self.
So, don’t feel guilty that you can’t get everything done. You cannot fit everything in, but you can fit in lots of things!