Here are ten things our teens should know before graduation.
Ten Things Our Teens Should Know Before Graduation
Our beloved Stacey Lane Clendaniel, having graduated three homeschoolers already, shares her wisdom for preparing our teens for life after graduation!
The end is near! Or is the beginning near? How many things does a teen need to know about adulting before graduation?
My internal list maker starts creating categories. Okay, we need to address:
- academics preparation for life
- then personal life preparation
- and social/emotional preparation
- as well as other basic skills and…
Before I can finish my next thought, my brain is overthinking about how much I still need to teach my teen!
Next I head to the kitchen and open my freezer to grab an ice cube. I read somewhere the stimulation of ice helps to stop a panic attack. Next, I take a few deep breaths while adding this tip to my list.
Then, I take a moment to remind myself learning is lifelong and gaps are okay. However my brain still wants to answer the question:
What is the most important things for my teen to learn before graduation?
I could include a list of fun important sayings about ten things our teens should know before graduation. For instance:
- How many times do you say to yourself, “righty tighty, lefty loosely”?
- Also, how many times do you remind small people not to eat yellow snow?
- Have I told my teens that “hangry” is a real thing?
With those bits of wisdom out of the way, in random order because I have already spent hours thinking about this:
My Personal Top Ten Things Our Teens Should Know Before Graduation
1. Know when and how to ask for help
We taught our teens how to be independent, how to follow the syllabus, how to get things done. But have we brought balance to the conversation by teaching when to ask for help and how to ask for help?
Our teens need to know when to ask for help when they:
- are feeling down or anxious
- find themselves struggling with a college class
- need help with an issue on the job
- want more perspective when preparing to make big decisions
- are in a situation where they do not feel safe
Teens need to learn: Safety First! If they or a friend are feeling like ending their life, please just call the number.
I know this closely ties in with Number 1. However, these feelings are so serious they needs to be addressed separately.
My kids have this number as a contact in their phones. Yes, we have called it. And, yes, I believe there are teens here today because of it.
3. Importance of Googling your questions
There is a joke at my house that I am a Google Certified Mechanic.
I have taught my kids to enter “how to” with their key words into many search engines. It is amazing how much information is at our fingertips! Of course, discernment is hard to teach but hopefully they remember the importance of quality websites from their high school research paper lessons.
There will be times either on the job, at a doctor’s office or in a school setting where they need to speak up. Teens need to know how to address their needs and know their rights.
5. The only thing you have control of
Here is one skill I personally, am still working on: I can only control my own response and actions to any given situation!
Life is not fair and the easy button does not exist. Try as I might, life situations as an adult includes all the emotions: devastation to joyous.
I cannot control other people’s responses or actions. There are many times I must let go, and let God handle others while I manage myself.
6. That even after graduation I am here to teach
My desire for my homeschool high schoolers to succeed does not stop after graduation.
For example, in our family, during their first few years of adulting my grown kids have a standing invitation for help with their taxes! Honestly, I think hands-on learning is best for this. Therefore, I explain the importance of filing taxes in high school finance class. Also, I actually sit down with each of my young adults and use an online software to help them file their taxes.
7. How to handle dropped balls
Everyday, I have to decide what balls I am going to drop so I can address the few things I have deemed important for the day. (Thanks to our friend, Colleen Kessler of Raising Lifelong Learners for teaching us about dropping balls.)
Actually, each day starts the same for me:
Which balls am I going to drop and which things can I actually accomplish today?
I think it helps teens to know that often the demands of life will keep them from doing it all. My older teens did not notice my juggling act until they became adults. Hopefully, my younger teens read the memo.
8. Your signature has power
Welcome to adulthood! Teens must learn that when they sign theirs name they are now responsible.
I give them this advice:
Might I suggest you read every detail before signing your name. Do you understand the importance and legal ramifications that can happen? Please, Dear Teen, ask questions if you do not understand what you are signing.
Out of all the things I taught my daughter, this was her number one answer when asked what was the most important life skill she learned in homeschool high school. As an adult, she has the confidence to be herself and not live in fear of what others think of her.
I have always been my teens’ biggest cheerleader. I have often asked how I can support them with their goals. Along with that I have often offered a listening ear so they could process together the times that things do not go as planned.
10. Teach teens to be civil
Teens (and adults) feel better when they know how to behave with civility in an uncivil world. They feel more confidence if they know specific skills for behaving like ladies and gentlemen in a rude and broken world.
Dear Homeschool Mama, if this is your first high school graduate and transcript, may I say, “Woohoo! Well Done!”
Congratulations to all our seniors graduating this year! And their Parents!
What would you add to the list?
Ten Things Our Teens Should Know Before Graduation