This week on the Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Setting Realistic Expectations for Homeschool High School, A Word from Sabrina. This post is running concurrently on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.
Setting Realistic Expectations for Homeschool High School, A Word from Sabrina
It’s been a busy year for Sabrina, Vicki and Kym. With families’ needs and COVID keeping us apart, we have not had the chance to record together often. However, we MISS hearing the encouragement from Sabrina. You can always see her weekly on Facebook live (here’s a link to a recent episode). This week, though, Sabrina was able to slow down enough to share what God has on her heart about helping teens set realistic expectations for their high school years, so that you both can enjoy the process.
We all know we can be easily influenced by others. Some folks are followers and some are leaders. That’s okay! But whether you are a follower or leader you will experience the power of influence at times.
In our homeschool communities, we experience influencers all the time. This is good but sometimes, we can be too easily influenced. OR sometimes we refuse to take in wise information with humility, even if it would be helpful.
In homeschool communities, like 7Sisters Facebook group, we can ask questions and get help from our fellow homeschoolers. However, sometimes, we need to find time alone to pray and ponder about our homeschool questions. The only one who truly knows YOUR homeschool high schoolers is God (of course). You know your teens, but never as well as God knows.
This is also true of you. Only God knows you fully. Each day He can show us something about ourselves, because even we do not fully know and understand ourselves.
How does this apply to homeschooling high school? Each year, if we are wise, we set goals and expectations for our homeschool high schoolers. We are thinking about the future and plan wisely.
However, expectations can be problematic if they are not realistic expectations:
- If our expectations are too low, our teens may lose motivation and be bored. You may find your teen meets those goals but will not be inspired by their work, and may not grow and mature in education, perseverance, resiliency, character and personality.
- If our expectations are too high. Sabrina sees this more often in homeschool families: Every course needs to be leveled up to honors, every extracurricular needs to be done, along with tons of service hours and maybe even a part-time job.
- This often goes along with extremely high expectations that these parents have for themselves: Staying on top of grading, we are going to make every opportunity happen while we run our home business and run a church Bible study.
These expectations can be dangerous to our teens, our families and ourselves!
Why do we allow those extremely high expectations to happen?
It is because we allow the community to set the expectations for us. We don’t set our expectations into place by first seeking the God who actually knows us and knows his plans for us and our homeschoolers.
What would be an example? Say for instance, a homeschool mom with four kids (elementary, middle school and the oldest is starting homeschool high school). She is caring for the household, doing all the homeschooling and working her part-time virtual assistant home business. She is busy with diverse tugs on her! Perhaps her expectation is now that she has a teen, that oldest child can help with the little ones’ lessons. This works well in some situations!
This homeschool mom will need to beware of the fine line between asking the new high schooler to take too much responsibility for the younger siblings’ education. She will need to be aware of keeping the helping to a reasonable and rewarding level for youngster and high schooler.
How can we help change expectations?
Mom can help by keeping planning, oversight, responsibility and record keeping stay with mom. Teens are great with reading to youngsters, helping them with craft or science projects or taking them on nature walks. If the bar is too high for the teen, there will be stress and possible resentment. Mom will need to remember that homeschool high schoolers have developmental things they personally need to learn about and deal with, along with high school level academics. Keep a good balance.
On the opposite side of homeschool high school, there might be a homeschool mom who has a teen with distinct learning issues. Perhaps her goals for her new high schooler is to have her teen experience lots of career exploration: shadowing a lawn care service or other trade, perhaps.
This is wonderful. Mom will need to remember that there are also academics that need to be completed, even though it is more difficult for her teen. Mom should not set the bar too low. For instance, don’t skip the classics! Her teen can still do classic reading by reading abridged versions, listening to an audio or family read aloud, or even watch the movie version (study guides will help make this an appropriate learning situation- do one together). Writing needs to be done, but should be adjusted to basic skills and the life-skills writing they will all need in adulthood. Mom should not communicate to her teens that they are limited by “can’t” or “don’t bother”. Reading and writing are life skills that teens need for adult-level communication!
So step away from community when setting expectations and goals for your homeschool high school year. Pray and ask God for his ideas. Ask him: What will be good for your teens: spirit, soul, body and socially? Ask him: What will be good for you and the rest of the family? (Teach your teens to listen to God also.)
There will be benefit, blessing and growth in this. In the end, it will give your more to bless your community!
Join Sabrina for encouragement and wisdom about setting realistic expectation for your homeschool high schoolers.
Do you need to set realistic expectations for yourself? Read this interview with Ann Karako about keeping up with homeschool paperwork.
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