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Join us at our upcoming speaking engagements:
February 3, 2018, 2018: CHESS (Manassas, VA)—Carol Becker
April 12-14, 2018: MACHE (Rochester, MN)—Diane Kummer (Diane is speaking during the pre-conference and conference)
April 19-21, 2018: CAPE (Albuquerque, NM)—Diane Kummer
April 27-28, 2018: NCHEA (NE)—Carol Becker
July 12–14, 2018: AFHE (Phoenix, AZ)—Diane Kummer (Diane is speaking during the pre-conference and conference)
Our e-books will help you homeschool through high school with confidence!
Develop a Plan for High School is the first in Carol and Diane’s Homeschool through High School with Confidence series. Learn how to choose courses, assign high school credits, evaluate course work, and improve time management for you and your high school student.
Simplify Your Recordkeeping and Transcript is the second in Carol and Diane's e-book series. This in-depth e-book helps you streamline the recordkeeping process and produce a professional transcript you’ll be proud to present to college admissions officers, employers, and military recruiters.
Not able to attend one of Carol or Diane’s high school events? HSLDA’s recorded event High School at Home: Turning Possibility into Reality features sessions on developing a high school plan, creating transcripts, charting a course for post-high school plans, and more—with lots of encouragement! Purchase it at the HSLDA Store.
Three Ways to Invest in Your Teen’s Future
|Dear Friends,||February 1, 2018|
We encourage families to develop a vision for homeschooling their teens that goes beyond completing academic graduation requirements. Within these pivotal four years, your teen will transform from an awkward adolescent to an assured young adult. You and your teen can begin the process of developing a shared vision that includes the practical skills your teen needs, the interests your teen wants to cultivate, the activities your teen would enjoy, the character your teen needs to develop, and experiences your teen will remember for a lifetime.
Once you have prayed, brainstormed, and had many discussions, we suggest you write down a specific and personalized vision for each teen because this can help you to search for opportunities, navigate choices, and measure progress. Tools that can help that vision become real include building a partnership, fostering flexibility, and setting realistic expectations.
Build a partnership
High school is an opportune time to build a dynamic partnership with your teen. Transitioning to a partnership takes time and practice from both of you, and it fundamentally changes your relationship as you begin cementing a friendship that you can share when your teen becomes an adult.
In four short years, your teen will take on adult privileges and responsibilities. Parents need to begin the transition from being the primary motivator, director, and disciplinarian to being a mentor who leads by example through coaching, counseling, and encouraging. It can be scary for parents when they gradually begin to release the reins of control to their teens. Aim to align new privileges with appropriate responsibilities without favoring one over the other. Discuss ways to implement small, deliberate changes and then gauge how your teen responds to each progressive change.
Parents tend to take in stride the many falls toddlers experience as they learn to walk. Consider this same philosophy as your teen learns to walk in the adult world, because he or she needs a safe place to practice, fail, regroup, rethink, and try again. Training teens to persevere when facing challenges is a life skill that allows them to learn, grow, and finally succeed.
Explore your teen’s gifts, talents, abilities, character, interests, and passions. Talk about these discoveries with your teen daily. Envision scenarios in which your teen’s abilities could be an important element for success in opportunities, relationships, and careers. These important discussions help your teen to better understand himself or herself, and this boosts confidence to try new things.
Foster flexibilityHomeschooling fosters flexibility because it does not tie down families to an institutional schedule or restrict them to a particular catalog of courses. Homeschooled students can structure their schedules in many ways. Families can offer electives throughout the calendar year that truly interest their teens. Although parents may be their teens’ primary teachers, developing some of their teens’ skills can involve having students work with other like-minded families, serve within their communities, or explore extracurricular activities.
Another avenue to pursue is mentorship. Although it takes time to find the right person to serve as a mentor, we recommend you look for someone with integrity, specialized skills, and a willingness to invest in your teen. First decide what type of specific opportunity your teen is looking for and then talk to people at church, extended family members, work associates, friends, and neighbors. Not all candidates will work out, but the right one will often respond favorably to your teen’s personal request. It can help if your son or daughter shows a willingness to start at the bottom, perform entry-level tasks, and work for free to learn skills. The high school years are a great time for teens to try out a variety of opportunities to see which ones might be a good fit.
Some families have homeschooled their children since elementary or middle school, so the flexibility of homeschooling high school seems natural. For parents who begin homeschooling after withdrawing a teen from public or private school, this flexibility may seem foreign. Teens new to homeschooling need time to adjust to a new rhythm, customized pace, and flexible schedule because it is so different from the generally rigid public/private school experience. Depending on your teen’s situation, realize that you will need to help your teen establish a schedule, allay doubts, uncover misunderstandings, set goals, explore plans, meet new friends, or develop a newfound love for learning. All this is worth the precious time it takes.
Some families are very comfortable thinking about homeschooling one year at a time, and we encourage families to give homeschooling a try for as long as it suits their teens. You can trust your instincts to decide what is best for your teen. Some families may opt to re-enroll their teens in public, private, or correspondence school at some point. If this is your plan, we recommend that you keep good records of all courses taught at home. You may also want to investigate whether the public or private school will recognize the courses taught in a homeschool setting in order to ensure your teen will satisfy the school’s high school graduation requirements.
Set realistic expectations
All teens need to mature and to prepare to enter the adult world, yet each one is so different in gifts, talents, interests, and future goals. Expecting one vision to work for all the teens in your family is setting unrealistic expectations and can lead to resentment, frustration, and anxiety.
Homeschooling families deal with the same issues that all families face, such as sibling rivalry, outside peer pressure, and the need for moral training. Homeschooling doesn’t guarantee success or preferred outcomes. Just as not all investments yield their full dividends in four short years, some results may not be visible when your teen graduates, but there are still valuable lessons learned along the way. Some investments require far longer to return a yield. There is risk in homeschooling just as there is risk in everything else in life; however, this momentous investment is worth the risk.
Guiding your teen as he or she matures and enters the adult world is a high calling. Parents can sometimes feel overwhelmed and believe they need to do everything right to be successful. We agree that homeschooling parents should do what they can with the right motives and the best tools available; however, in this partnership, teens have real choices to make that affect the outcome.
Consider what measuring rod you can use to determine the success of your homeschool. Truthfully, you can only measure success by what you have control over: the work, effort, and time you pour faithfully into your homeschool and the qualities you exhibit in your character, decisions, and daily walk for your teen to emulate. What (if any) effect your actions have on your teen rests with God. This lifts the responsibility for the outcomes to rest on God’s shoulders rather than yours.
We honor you for the significant investment you are making in your teen’s life. You are the right parents for this important job. Use a personalized vision for each teen to build a dynamic partnership, utilize all the flexibility homeschooling offers, and trust God with the final results.
Join us next month as we discuss how to select courses your teen may want to complete before graduation. You teen is unique, so your plan will be, too.
Envisioning a great future for you and your teen,
Carol Becker and Diane Kummer
HSLDA High School Consultants
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