How to Handle Headbutting with Homeschool High Schoolers

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Handle Headbutting with Homeschool High Schoolers. This post is running concurrently on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

How to Handle Headbutting with Homeschool High Schoolers

How to Handle Headbutting with Homeschool High Schoolers

In this episode, Sabrina, Vicki and Kym are sharing tips for handling conflict with teens so that life is more peaceful and productive. While we know that lots of times homeschooling high school can be relatively chill. However, in case you are asking for a friend: We have a few things we have learned in the trenches about handling headbutting with teens.

Between the three of us, we have homeschool thirteen teens, so we have had some opportunities to deal with disagreements with teens!

If you are experiencing some headbutting with your homeschool high schoolers, here are a few truths. Headbutting is:

NOT a sign of failure as a parent (or your teen)

  • A sign of humanity!
  • Indeed, for teens who are studying Human Development, they understand that adolescence is a time for:
    • Trying on hats (What works for me? What does not work?)
    • Figuring out identity by experimenting with various ideas and behaviors
    • Thus they will butt heads with safe people to figure out safely what is happening
    • Sometimes, if teens are having struggles elsewhere with friends or situations, they will take that stress out on safe parents at home

So remember: My kid trusts in my love enough to grow up here, in all the messiness of growing up!

What are common headbutting situations for homeschool high schoolers that we have heard about or experienced with our teens?

We get to talk to lots of homeschooling parents, either locally or on the 7SistersHomeschool Facebook group. Here are some sources of conflict:

I don’t want to do my math!

Well, many of us moms don’t want to do the math, either!

Vicki eventually handled math by passing the buck: she sent her teens to math class at the local homeschool umbrella school. Also, many moms and teens love online math courses with teachers who actually love math and can inspire them to do math with a better attitude. Two of our good buddies have online academies with cool math teachers:

Why should I do this course?

This one is easier. Explain your common enemy. Tell your teens that it is not your fault they must do this course. It is required by the state for graduation (or for the college they are interested in for entrance). Sometimes having a common irritation draws homeschooling parent and teen together.

How involved should Mom be in the academics?

Sometimes teens want to own everything about their education. Other teens want regular engagement. Sometimes what they want is not what they need. For instance, some teens want to do everything on their own, but then get bogged down.

You can handle this by finding common goals with honest, regular checkins.

Introvert/extrovert schedules

Kym is a Myers-Briggs personality test expert and understands her extroversion. However, sometimes she had to work hard to understand the needs of her introvert teens. Not only that, she had to work hard to balance her introvert teens’ needs with the needs of her extrovert teens. It took her teens speaking up and her listening well, to find a balance for the family- and allowing different teens to have different levels of activity.

How rigorous should our academics be?

Sometimes homeschool high schoolers need a more “average-level” course to give them a better-fit education. This can stress a mom out who feels the pressure of comparing herself to her co-op mom-friend who has a high-achieving teen.

On the other hand, if a teen is capable of doing more than they want to achieve. It is good to talk and listen- then let go if a teen cannot muster up the buy-in. They can grow into their abilities later (when it becomes their idea).

Sabrina talked about one of her teens who did not need honors-level academics because his goals did not require that. However, he wanted to level up to Honors British Literature because he was interested in it. Talking and listening helped and he leveled up.

THE KEY to handling headbutting homeschool high schoolers

  • Get together over food
  • Listen to what your teen has to say
  • Practice active listening (“What I hear you saying is…”)
  • Ask questions kindly
  • Remember: often their reluctance is rooted in adolescent-related low self-esteem
    • Work sharing their strengths when you notice them
    • Build a growth mindset
    • Get them involved in places where there are positive friends and adults who will speak truths to them about them
  • Be patient
    • Model the fruit of the Spirit
    • Remember that nagging does not win
  • Keep connected to homeschool moms who can encourage you!
  • Pray

You can homeschool high school without much headbutting. However, be nice to yourself- there will be some. Join Sabrina, Vicki and Kym for help and encouragement about headbutting with homeschooling teens!


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Vicki Tillman

Blogger, curriculum developer at, counselor, life and career coach, SYMBIS guide, speaker, prayer person. 20+year veteran homeschool mom.

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