How to Teach Compassion Skills with Homeschool Teens

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: How to Teach Compassion Skills with Homeschool Teens. This post is running concurrently on the Ultimate Homeschool Radio Network.

How to Teach Compassion Skills with Homeschool Teens

How to Teach Compassion Skills with Homeschool Teens

Vicki and Kym love to talk about compassion and other soft skills. Why? Because they know that teens need to be equipped with various soft skills in order to succeed in life. Employers are often looking for evidence of soft skills when interviewing potential employees. Soft skills help teens to manage friendships and networks successfully.

Here are some important soft skills for homeschool high schoolers to master:

In this episode, Vicki and Kym are discussing the soft skill: compassion (or empathy).

Kym recently read an article about respectful and compassionate ways to communicate with people with disabilities. This is an important issue to Kym because she and her family raise Seeing Eye Puppies (check out our episode about their puppies).

Conversing with other teens with their other-abled teens or people who are different can be a wonderful way to spread the love of Christ in the world. Teens can often feel awkward when they are in a new situation, especially with people who are new or have a difference of any kind. (Check out this episode on helping teens create a welcoming culture in their homeschool and church communities.)

We, as homeschool parents, can equip our teens to grow beyond the discomfort and gain confidence in their conversational and compassionate skills. (This is actually an excellent addition to Health class.)

High school health for the whole person
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Here are some easy skills to help build compassion skills with homeschool teens:

  • When you meet someone different, do not gawk
  • When you talk with someone different, look at them while you talk
  • Greet them with a warm tone in your voice
  • Young children may want to ask a new person about their disability. If they ask politely, that is fine. It is a good conversation starter. However, with teens many people who are new to a group or who have disabilities want to be talked to as if they are a welcomed, included person.
  • Include the new or different person in activities and group conversations. Invite them to join in.
  • These things take practice, so having some family practice times for using compassion skills. Role playing is a great way to practice compassion skills. Take turns playing the new or different person and the welcomer. (Practice makes awkward conversations not-awkward!)
  • Have five questions to ask any new, newish, or different questions, for instance:
    • I’m So-and-so, what’s your name?
    • How did you find this group?
    • What do you like about homeschooling?
    • What is your favorite thing to do?
    • Do you have siblings? Do they homeschool?
  • As part of Health class, learn about common adaptive devices such as cochlear implants, hearing aids, service dogs, etc. Be willing to get comfortable with people using adaptive devices.
  • Make your own expectation of being willing to make adjustments in teaching (as in co-op settings). Teach your homeschool high schoolers to be flexible and willing to make adjustments in a group.
  • Maintain a personal growth mindset. (Check out this post and this resource list.)
  • Teach your homeschoolers that God looks at us through the eyes of compassion. If He is compassionate towards us, shouldn’t we also model compassion when dealing with other people?
    • Help your homeschool high schoolers to see all people as creations of God.
  • Read current articles on differences and disabilities.
  • For more practical tips, check out this post from our friend, Charlene, at Hess Unacademy

Compassion, like any soft skill, does not come naturally to many teens. Yes, at some level compassion will be *caught* by being around compassionate parents and leaders. At a practical level, though, compassion must be *taught* and practiced. That’s why it is called a *skill*. The cool thing is: a teen with skills is a more confident teen!

Join Vicki and Kym for a compassionate discussion about compassion!

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How to Teach Compassion Skills with Homeschool Teens

Vicki Tillman

Blogger, curriculum developer at 7SistersHomeschool.com, counselor, life and career coach, SYMBIS guide, speaker, prayer person. 20+year veteran homeschool mom.

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