This guest post is part of our 30 Days of Homeschool: The Good, The Bad & The In-Between Blog Series
I am honest enough to admit that I never thought I would be homeschooling my boys through their tween and teen years. We began homeschooling with a year by year attitude and after my first few months I really wasn’t sure we’d be homeschooling all that long.
You can imagine my surprise when I realized my oldest was starting middle school and I was still homeschooling! I kind of freaked out a bit not knowing what to expect when homeschooling middle school but we muddled through and I realized it wasn’t much different from what we had been doing before; my teaching and guiding grew right alongside his skills and learning.
Now my oldest is just beginning his freshman year of high school at home and my younger two boys are firmly in the throes of middle school. Again I’ll admit I freaked a bit at the thought of homeschooling high school but once we sat down and sketched out a rough plan we were both excited at the thought of continuing this homeschooling journey together.
Can I let you in on a little secret??
I actually find it much easier to homeschool middle and high school!
Tweens and teens cane be such fun ages to homeschool.
- They’re fairly independent so I have a lot more free time to pursue my own interests.
- They are able to communicate to me what they’d like to learn, how they learn best, and why a particular area of study may or may not be working out for them.
- They’re funny! My boys have a great sense of humor and I get to be around them all day.
- We have such great discussions. They’re all old enough to have their own opinions about mostly everything and they love to debate with both my husband and I.
- They’re ready and willing to soak up life skills and my boys are quite helpful around the house too.
- They have developed hobbies and often surprise me with their skills.
Is it always sunshine and roses?
Well, no. Of course not.
I don’t think any stage of parenting or homeschooling is “easy” since every stage comes with it’s own unique set of challenges.
- Tweens and teens can be moody. Their bodies are changing rapidly and their moods often reflect the hormonal fluctuations. One day they love me and school and what we’re doing and the next day everything is stupid and lame.
- My boys often think they know everything and I get lots of eye rolls, sighs, and attitudes; even if they’ve just asked for help or have asked me a question they’ll usually tell me my answer is wrong.
- Since my boys are all so close in age they either get along great or they are at each other’s throats and it can be tedious to STILL be playing referee all the time.
- I have noticed (with middle school ages in particular) that my boys can learn a set of skills one day or week and appear to have mastered it only to look at me blankly later on insisting they’ve never learned it. I’ve read up on this phenomenon and apparently this is a documented hormonal thing due to the rapidly growing body sapping the brain of energy. It’s why most middle school books don’t introduce that many new topics and instead focus on mastering and honing skills learned in elementary school.
- As independent as they can be they still need my help and it can be tough to know when to step in and help or when to let them muddle through on their own.
- So many parents stop homeschooling through the middle school years and even more stop with the high school years that it can be tricky to help my boys find all the social interaction they often crave. It seems like the older my kids get the less we find homeschoolers their age around.
Yet, I do think that many of these homeschooling challenges wouldn’t be much different from challenges all parents face in raising tweens and teens. If anything I think I’m lucky that my boys still turn to me for advice and not just to their peers and friends like I know I did. And while my boys may question our rules, values, and judgement from time to time we are still the biggest influences in their lives.
While I never pictured myself homeschooling my kids right up through college I am sure am glad I was open to the idea and willing to try.
Bio: Joanne, known as Mother of 3 around the web, has been homeschooling her three boys for 6 years. A former teacher fed up with the public school system she ventured out on her own and found a wonderful network of moms through blogging and life that have shown her what education really is.