This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Motivate Teens, Interview with Connie Albers. This post is running concurrently on Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.
Most of us homeschool moms would rather motivate than manage our homeschool high schoolers. Motivating teens is an important topic. That is why we asked one of our favorite motivational speakers, Connie Albers, to talk about ways to be successful motivator!
As you know, Connie Albers is the author of Parenting Beyond the Rules: Raising Teens with Confidence and Joy. She is a homeschool mom of five (all the kids have graduated now) and leader, as well as speaker and interviewee on popular podcasts such as Focus on the Family (catch an interview with her on Focus on the Family at this link).
Connie joined Sabrina and Vicki for a delightful discussion about how to motivate teens.
Connie’s five adult children all have had different temperaments and learning styles. She learned a lot about how to work joyfully with teens through all her experiences with them. As she finished her homeschool adventures with the last graduation, Connie felt led by God to share what she has learned by going to her homeschooling sisters with her hands stretched out and help answer the questions:
- Is it worth it?
- Can I make it?
- How do I actually do it?
(That’s SOOO kindred spirit with 7Sisters! That’s why we LOVE Connie!)
Connie believes every homeschool high schooler needs a picture of what could possibly be for them:
- What are their future possibilities?
- What can they contribute to society and to their families?
- What can they do to make themselves to feel good about themselves? (As you have probably noticed, some teens may have a little too much confidence, but most of them are wrestling with the questions of: Who am I? Why am I here? What am I supposed to do? What is special about me? Why do I feel bad about myself?)
The excited thing is that we homeschool moms can learn to motivate our teens by:
- Studying our teens
- Spitting out what we see in a way that builds their confidence and gives them glimmers of hope about what they can do if they are willing to put the time and effort into cultivating their talents and gifts
Connie has found that what teens need for motivation is loving communication:
Do not belittle a teen’s struggle by saying things like:
- Oh, it’s easy…
- Oh, it’s simple all you have to do is…
This actually makes our teens feel dumb. It’s only easy to us because we have already mastered the tasks. To our homeschool high schoolers much of what they are learning is hard. Higher academics levels are difficult. Teens have to not only learn but to learn they must become:
- Masters of time management
- Developed in higher levels of thinking
Instead, say things like:
- What about this is giving you a hard time?
- What part of this don’t you understand?
- How can I explain this in a different way?
- How about we take a break from this and do something different for a little while?
All of these give our teens the idea that we value, understand and respect them.
This leads to the idea that when we motivate our teens, we have to understand what their strengths are. Some homeschool high schoolers are good at math but not everyone is good at math. Other teens are gifted in other areas.
We have to strengthen their strengths and teach them to manage their weaknesses.
So, some teens are not good at algebra. That is not their strength, but they do need to know how to budget, go to the grocery store, do their taxes, how to invest and borrow. Manage the weakness by specializing in the practical.
So as parent, you can say to your homeschool high schoolers: I see this in you, point out the strengths and help to build them. It is like laying a stone path for them: stone by stone you build the path, so that they can continue to take the next path.
Then if they get a B on an algebra test, you do not have to get upset because are not trying to turn a weakness into a strength.
Teens become motivated when the realize they don’t have to be good at everything, they have to be great at a few things.
This increases teens confidence. Confidence is motivating! When teens are motived they are less likely to be resistant and bitter toward their parents.
As a homeschool mom you have the ability to customize education to help your teens to build their strengths and compensate for their weaknesses.
How can you help teens build those strengths?
- Find mentors who are interested in the same time.
- Give teens time to daydream and create.
- Give them downtime.
- Find courses and volunteer work that give them a taste of that strength
God has made each teen creative, innovative problem-solvers. But often by the time teens reach high school, we have driven this out of them because we have things they need to accomplish and checklists to fulfill. We haven’t given them time to foster the creativity and innovation. Don’t fall for that. Give your teens time.
Remember: in ten years eighty percent of the current jobs will not exist. People who are creative and adapt quickly, who aren’t afraid to try new things and picture new things will become problem solvers for the changing economy and job markets.
Help homeschool high schoolers to develop flexibility while they develop interests by giving them extra options!
- Ask your homeschool high schoolers, “I invite you to consider…” to keep options open and flexible.
- Then outline the “Why” of why they might want to consider that idea.
Communication and strength-building helps to motive teens!
Connect with Connie Albers:
- With her book: Parenting Beyond the Rules: Raising Teens with Confidence and Joy.
- Connie Albers.com
- Connie Albers Facebook
When you see her talk at conferences, be sure you say “Hi!”, she loves that!
For more on discovering and exploring your homeschool high schoolers’ interests:
- Check out this HSHSP interview with Samantha Shank
- Check out this 7SistersHomeschool.com post on discovering interests
- Check out this post on how to show interests on the homeschool transcript
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