This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: What to do When Your Homeschool is Behind. This post is running concurrently on the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.
Need a little encouragement today? What if you are behind in your homeschooling? Is it a disaster? Can you catch up? Are you a failure? The answer is “NO!” Life happens sometimes and things get behind. It happens to most of us homeschooling families at some point or the other.
So what do we do when we are behind on the educational goals for our homeschoolers?
Tips for what to do when your homeschool is behind
Get ready for a little encouragement. You can do this!
Tip #1: Ask yourself: Is this a disaster?
Answer: No, it is NOT a disaster. So just take that thought off your plate. Take a deep breath and then get ready to recalibrate your own attitude from feeling like there is a disaster to “We can do this!”
The cool thing about recalibrating your attitude is that you can role model a growth mindset for your teens:
Things did not go as we planned BUT we are going to recalibrate to get where we need to go!
A growth mindset acknowledges the tough things but thinks positively about going forward.
Teens need to know that life is not an endless series of disasters. Yes, tough things happen but tough things do not define them. Rather, those tough things are an excuse to grow. In fact, a lot of life is about growing through the hard times.
Tip #2: Sit down with your teens and ask, “What do we want at the end of high school?”
When times have been tough for a while, it is easy for teens to get lost in “the weeds of right now”. (The same is true for us moms.) That is survival, of course.
However, there is a future! In the future, teens will graduate and need a transcript so they can do something after high school. Even if they are non-college bound (whether they are simply planning on a gap year, joining the military or will be studying for a trade), they will still need a transcript.
- Many teens start out homeschooling high school, thinking that they will be college-bound. However, some of these teens, change their minds and decide on gap year, military or trades.
- When that happens, it is a good time to reel in the academics. You can make academics more simple and more tailored to their goals.
However, if your teen is behind in their homeschooling but still wants to go to college, it is time to sit down and ask, “What do we need to get you ready for college?” Discuss with your teens:
- Is community college a good fit for your teens goals? (Some states even have free tuition for community college.)
- If this is so, you can recalibrate gently. Get caught up and feeling secure on the basic academics. This is because community colleges are not competitive like some four-year colleges. Rather, they exist to help serve their communities. (They can even do some remedial courses to start their community college experience.)
- Are your teens interested in a more competitive four-year college.
- Make plan together for moving forward with age appropriate academics, followed by a “scheduling backwards” plan for going forward with individual academics.
Tip #3: Then ask yourself and your teens, “realistically, what can we accomplish this year?”
- If your teens are interested in a more competitive four-year college, (such as a state college) and they are a senior now, you might need some realistic recalibration of goals.
- Your teens might have to do one year at the community college and earn high grades, then transfer.
- On the other hand, if your teens are non-college-bound thinking gap year, military or trade school, this might a good time to sit together
- And pare down the credit numbers and credit levels for simpler goals and then, graduation!
- For a seriously stuck teen who is having anxiety and panic about catching up:
- You might want to bring everything down to an average or remedial level for this year.
- That way academics get done in a healthier, lower stress environment
- Give them some Health credit time by getting some counseling. This is a GREAT life skill!
Make sure your teens are part of the discussion. This will earn you their buy-in.
Tips #4: If it is mid-year and your teen is behind in their textbook, ask these questions:
- Do I need to take a look at the textbook and reduce the numbers of chapter questions or math problems that must be done?
- Or do I need to trash this textbook and get something simpler or more fun? It is okay to start over.
- Do I need to get online instruction with programs like:
Tip #5: If they are behind on their booklist for the year, do you need to:
- Cut down on the number of books you planned for them to read?
- Reduce the numbers of study guides they work on this year?
- Use audiobooks for a quicker read and change of pace?
- Switch out for shorter books?
- Switch out for some easier-to-read books along with an inspiring study guide? (Think 7Sisters Chronicles of Narnia Literature Study Guides)
- Count some books of the Bible? (We did this, for sure.)
Tip #6: If they are behind on labs for their Lab Science course?
Can you take the whole family on a field trip that can be part of a “science lab”?
- For instance: zoo, nature centers, museums
Can your teen skip some of the labs in their lab manual?
Tip #7: Do a course or two over the summer
Sometimes, “summer school” is necessary for catch up!
Tip #8: To make sure they are not wasting good time, teach them study skills such as:
Tip #9: When you sit down with teens to talk about catching up on academics:
- Get some snacks!
- Go to a coffee shop together
- Doing things over food, just makes things work better.
Remember, you can do this! Recalibrate and live in grace!
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