Here’s how to help homeschool high school students set priorities.
How to Help Homeschool High School Students Set Priorities
Teenagers need more than just strong academics and extracurriculars on their homeschool high school transcript; they need to learn real life skills to prepare them for independent living as adults. Setting priorities is important, and mid-way through the academic year is a great time to work on this skill.
Wise priority-setting can grow out of three types of understanding:
- understanding the big picture
- understanding available resources
- understanding the immediate need
It’s hard for teenagers to think of the big picture.
Good conversation with our teens will help them train their brains to think through the effect of choices they make. Help them identify their end-goal and then think backwards from that goal to determine the steps they need to take. Ask leading questions to help a teen achieve a better grasp of the big picture; questions are more helpful than just telling them what steps they should be taking in what order.
It’s hard for teens to accurately evaluate their abilities and their limitations.
Procrastination and anxiety are two opposite responses to a situation in which a teens have unrealistic perceptions of their ability to reach a goal. Again, good conversation that includes gently-leading questions is an important tool in helping their understanding grow.
Yes, they really can do hard things, things that look overwhelming at first glance!
No, they cannot do them without adequate time, energy, advice, money, planning, and the like!
Work toward finding that balance in lots of low-key chats over time rather than trying to power-solve all at once.
It’s hard for teens to clearly put boundaries on the immediate need before them.
They feel the urgency of a deadline (My research paper has to get done before the end of January!), but they don’t perceive that things like adequate sleep, taking time away before editing, and scheduling time when others can take a look at the rough draft are also of great importance. Getting to the finish line at all costs feels like the only thing that matters; understanding how to finish well is not obvious.
Break the immediate need into “sub-needs,” and write these things down on paper as you sit together. Doing so provides a good follow-up reminder for your teen that doesn’t require your ongoing nagging.
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