Last month I had the pleasure of attending the Apologia Live retreat in Atlanta, Georgia. One of my favorite homeschool authors and speakers, Deb Bell, spoke on high school planning. Even though our first child graduates in a few days, I was excited to learn more from this homeschool veteran.
Here are just a few of the things I learned from Deb during her session.
Helping kids learn how to plan/ prioritize is most important.
For many families high school is the end of the road in regards to their home education. While learning advanced math and science is important what is most important is that your child learns how to plan and prioritize their life.
Whether they go to college, into the workforce, or get married, if they don’t have the skills needed to plan they will probably fail. Make these skills a priority in your homeschool high school.
Teenagers need to sleep.
They are growing, changing, and hormones are going crazy. Teenagers need their sleep, and many of the don’t “wake up” until the afternoon. Get in tune with your child’s rhythm’s and let them schedule their days accordingly.
This is not to say that your child should be lazy sleeping all day and staying up all night on the phone or playing xBox. Just allow them a little more flexibility with their school schedule than they had when they were ten.
Distribute the coursework.
Last week we discussed starting your high schooler’s homeschool curriculum plan in the eighth grade. Planning out the high school years before they start will help keep their senior schedule balanced. If you wait until they are a senior to start “making up” all the classes needed to transition to a career or college it will be very difficult on your child.
Plan for a lighter senior year so they can take advantage of opportunities available (like apprenticeship, dual enrollment, work opportunities, travel, etc).
Set up weekly meetings.
This is a great way to keep in touch with your high schooler and give them an opportunity to share their struggles, successes and goals with you. These meetings are less about academics and more about their hearts.
Be their parent and their friend.
Never forget that you are always in charge and just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean your child has to do it too. But… I’m always surprised at how many parents don’t even take the time to “hang out” with their teenagers.
Take them out to lunch, listen to a song they like, watch a movie of their choosing, attend their sporting events. Be present in their lives. If a friend told you about a song they were listening to all the time you’d probably listen to it too. Why not do the same for your kids?
For many teens it seems like the whole world is against them, remember you are on the same team. Together you can make the high school years some of the best years of their lives.
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