By request: Strategies for keeping homeschool high schoolers on track.
Strategies for Keeping Homeschool High Schoolers on Track
How do you keep teens on track? How do you make sure they are accomplishing their goals? We often get this question! The answer is complicated! Why? Because there’s not ONE kind of homeschool high schooler (which leads to…you know it’s coming: There’s not ONE right way to homeschool high school)!
Nevertheless many teens are learning to manage themselves and their time during the high school years. Staying on track with tasks can be difficult for us as parents. Can you imagine how hard it is for teens who have so little life experience with juggling studies, learning about the future and planning for it, extracurriculars, volunteer work and often, first time jobs?
There are some teens who are naturally organized and naturally know how to create a plan and a schedule. If you have one of those teens, you know the joy of watching them make things happen.
However, most teens are in the process of learning to be self-aware. It can also be a joy helping these teens discover what works for them in staying on track!
Here are some strategies for keeping homeschool high schoolers on track
The most important fact that we homeschooling parents need to face is that many teens will not be able to keep themselves on track without our training and support. That’s not bad, it’s just developmental processes at play.
The good news is: You get to be an influencer and guide in how they view organizing their lives! There are some fun and creative ways to get set the groundwork for staying on task. Here are a few:
Strategies for Keeping Homeschool High Schoolers on Track: Take the Four Tendencies quiz.
This is a fun personality quiz developed by popular author and podcaster, Gretchen Rubin. I recommend that both you and your teen take the quiz and discuss your results.
The Four Tendencies helps you and your teens understand how you both respond to expectation. There are four tendencies for response, according to Gretchen Rubin:
- Works to meet others’ expectations but has a difficult time meeting their own expectations
- Works to balance meeting the expectations of others with their own inner expectations
- Tends to resist or question others’ expectations and works to meet their own inner expectations
- Tends to resist expectations
The book, The Four Tendencies would be a good book to read and discuss together.
Strategies for Keeping Homeschool High Schoolers on Track: Discuss together how to handle doing the thing they do not want to do:
It is difficult for many teens to understand the concept of motivation. They (and sometimes the adults around them) believe that motivation is something that drops randomly from the sky. They believe they have to wait for the motivation to hit before they can do something.
The problem with this, of course, is that motivation to do algebra or chemistry rarely drops from the sky onto many teens. (I can relate, motivation to work on my taxes rarely drops on the sky for me.) So how can teens accomplish the things they do not particularly WANT to do?
Here are some tips:
Strategies for Keeping Homeschool High Schoolers on Track: Increase dopamine
Not kidding! Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that helps give the feeling of motivation and focus. There are some natural ways to increase dopamine:
- Eat plenty of protein
- Get exercise (for many teens who are just starting high school, that may mean you need a family walk together until they find an exercise program or sport that works for them)
- Get healthy amounts of sleep
- Check out this post about teens and sleep.
- Listen to music
- Learn a mindful practice
- Here’s a post on mindfulness for folks who are not naturally mindful
Strategies for Keeping Homeschool High Schoolers on Track: Examine the self-talk
Teens (and adults) often have a “lie” that they tell themselves that traps them in an unmotivated state:
- I can’t do anything I feel intimidated by…
- I can’t do anything I don’t want to do…
- I am too dumb to…
These lies will keep a teen frozen and unmotivated. However, if they add a TRUTH to their lie, they can shake free from the lie and get started on challenging tasks.
- I feel intimidated by this, but I can learn to do it.
- I don’t really want to do this, but I can and I’ll feel better when I’m done.
- I am not dumb, I can do whatever I put my mind to do.
- More on this concept in this post.
Now, work on clarifying goals for the year
Here’s a post that gives you what you need to get started with your homeschool high schooler on setting this year’s SMART Goals (along with a freebie downloadable worksheet).
Next, teach some time management skills
Teens need to learn to:
- Use a syllabus
- Use a calendar or scheduling tool
- Use Scheduling Backwards to know when to start on, and pace themselves through, projects, papers and studying for tests
- There are links for help with all these in this post on Time Management
- Also, check out this marvelous interview about getting homeschool high school organized with our friend, Melanie Wilson of Homeschool Sanity Podcast.
Strategies for Keeping Homeschool High Schoolers on Track: Remember that teens are just learning how to manage themselves and their time
You can help by:
- Setting up a rhythm (and keeping it) for check-ins. Every teen is busy. They may need a one-on-one:
- Each morning before starting the day
- At the end of the day
- Treat it like a business appointment. Put it on both your calendars. Stop, make eye contact, talk about the wins and losses of the day, make plans for support where needed.
- Know when to “teach”, when to farm out to tutor or online course (like our friends a True North, FundaFunda, Dreaming Spires or Outschool). There’s also help at Study.com (Did you see their post where they listed 7Sisters as a top homeschool source?)
- Also, know that there are times where your teen will need you to simply sit with them while they face tough assignments. Your presence will help.
- More tips for moms of homeschool high schoolers here.
Strategies for Keeping Homeschool High Schoolers on Track: Be flexible with and gracious to you and your teens
As we always say: A mom’s mind plans her way but God directs her path. Things come up (like pandemics…did you see our post with helpful tips?)
- Take a breath (as we always say: Never underestimate the power of a deep breath).
- Say a prayer
- Make adjustments
- It’s okay! You CAN do this!
Homeschooling high school: You can do it! AND you can keep your homeschool high schoolers on track (and train them to keep themselves on track). These can be your best years yet so believe in yourself and your teen!
If you want some coaching, talk to our Sister, Marilyn. She is our 7Sister coach and love to help homeschool moms figure things out.
AND join all your 7th Sisters in our Facebook group. It’s a great place to ask questions and receive encouragement and support.