Should My Homeschooled Teen Get a Part Time Job?

Blog, She Wrote Should My Homeschooled Teen Get a Part Time Job?

Last year our oldest wanted to get his first job so he could earn the money for a writing conference he wanted to attend. NY is a long way from Kansas, so even outside of the conference cost, transportation in getting there was not insignificant. My husband made a deal with Ethan. He said if Ethan could earn the money for the workshop itself, including room and board for the week, he would make sure Ethan got to Kansas.

Ethan accepted the challenge and began his search for paid work. He reached out to a family friend for continued yard work. He offered his services to a local MOPS group for their paid childcare. And he applied to a local grocery store about a mile away from our home. All three contacted him at once and he took them all on. Aside from the two smaller jobs, he began working as a cashier at a grocery store.

He had to learn quickly how to balance three jobs and his school work! But, in the end, he earned the money he needed (along with a gift from his grandparents which he was allowed to accept after earning a certain amount on his own) with in a few months- in time to sign up for the workshop. In turn, Dan took the week off from work, rented a car, and drove Ethan out to Kansas for a great week.

How do you answer the question, Should My Homeschooled Teen Get a Part Time Job?

Benefits of a Part Time Job

There are so many benefits to a teen having a part time job. Some of them are obvious like having the opportunity to make money! Some may not be so obvious or some may not see them as benefits. With a job, a teen can learn:

  • Skills of a part time job
  • How to work with the public- this is a skill which goes a long way. I could do a whole post just on the stories he brings home. It was quite entertaining those first few months. He even had a marriage proposal in his checkout line!
  • Work with others who are not like you- the homeschooling community can be fairly homogenous. He’s met all kinds of people both as coworkers and customers.
  • How to work with all kinds of bosses
  • Practices interview skills- we made Ethan practice counting back change to prepare for his interview at the grocery store!
  • Independence
  • Work with personal finances- let’s face it, they will earn a lot of money! (for a teen with no other real expenses)
  • Balance work with academics and fun
  • Allows teens to make a goal and meet it
  • Gives work experience in general- which looks great on college applications, particularly from a homeschooler

Challenges of a Part Time Job

There are some challenges which come with a teen having a regular job. Make sure to consider his situation before deciding together whether or not it’s a good idea at any particular time. For example,

  • Everyone isn’t like you and learning to work together can be difficult.
  • Bosses are not always easy to work for…or nice
  • Adjusting to a work schedule
  • Balancing other pursuits with a work schedule- learning when to ask off and when to know not to
  • Building physical stamina for the job- being on your feet all day or for several hours takes time to get used to. Even as a teacher, I was always so tired the first week back to school.
  • Transportation- which needs to be a factor in choosing where you will apply for a job. We chose a store about a mile away in a small strip mall so that getting him there and back would not always need to be done by us.

Should My Homeschooled Teen Get a Part Time Job?

How Do I Know If It’s The Right Thing for My Teen?

A job isn’t right for every teen and not every job is right for every teen. You have to know your teen and have a decent guess that the job they would do. Does your teen fit any of these descriptions?

  • Does your teen want to meet a financial goal?
  • Ready for a step up in independence
  • Could use some practice at fulfilling responsibility- Our son could use some tightening up of his schedule in order to help use his time better.
  • Has an interest in a field where there is an opportunity to work- even volunteer work at a place of interest can lead to employment later on.

Our Experience with The Part Time Job

So, once Ethan was working for a time and he began meeting his goals how was it going?

  • Reached his financial goal- He wanted to earn money for a writing workshop many miles away and the job helped him to meet the goal quickly.
  • Achieved his academic goal- Being successful with the financial goal meant reaching his academic goal and he attended the summer writing workshop.
  • Learned to work for difficult people- There’s a lot of turnover in this store and it’s not always easy, but he stuck with it.
  • Experience first hand that people aren’t always the same as you are- he knew this in his head, but it’s been a good experience for him to see that not everyone is like us and our family. It’s given him a whole new appreciation for us!
  • Given him independence- this job is his thing. Based on his proximity to the store, he can walk, ride a bike, or take the bus. All of these mean he doesn’t have to rely on us (though he does like door to door service).
  • Taught some good financial lessons- He’s able to make his own decisions regarding spending as we help him to practice saving, tithing, and spending. However, outside of engaging/purchasing something off limits, we let him choose how he spends it. Lots of lessons here!
  • Practiced responsibility and maturity- He’s stepped it up to be at work and to keep track of his schedule. He’s grown a lot from having the job.

What Have We Learned As Parents of a Teen with a Job?

We learned a lot from this experience as parents. Some of them took me by surprise.

  • This job is our son’s- It’s not ours. It’s his gig and his responsibility.
  • We helped him to navigate difficult situations- From home. Since it is his job, it is important not to run interference which is a new thing for us as parents of teens, right?
  • Make sure you know the labor laws for teens- Does your state require “working papers”? In the 80s, working papers were not a thing. Find out how often and how many hours they can work at 15-17 years old. In NY, one set of laws covers 14-15 year olds and there’s another for 16-17 year olds. We had to provide a physical form from our doctor and other proof of age and register him as a working teen with the school nurse at our local high school. Once your teen turns 16, they get a new form and that very day must report for a new set of working papers before they can work another shift at work.
  • Homeschooled teens can only work when public schooled teens can work- Resist the urge to have them work during school hours because it’s against the law. This was actually one issue we worked very closely with Ethan on because he was being scheduled during school hours. He was successful in making sure he was schedule during non-school hours, but just remember, the employer will not always pay attention to this piece of the law.
  • Not everyone thought it was a good idea- to have our son work. This is the one that surprised me. We actually got a lot of comments from our peers questioning us on the decision to allow him to work. When we were teens, many of us had jobs. Have you noticed that not as many teens work in high school? Academic pursuits have favor over part time work and I had so many people ask me why he was working. Because he likes money was my regular answer, but I often want to ask back, “Why not?” And, as one commenter pointed out, activities are an issue as well. But, I’ll save that discussion for another post!

In the end, Ethan was proud to have met his goal last year and we were proud of him as well. He worked at the store until mid-September, when I did break the interference rule and took his series of medical leave papers to his bosses. Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with Lyme Disease which he’d had for six months before a diagnosis. He spent several months this fall as a very sick teen, unable to work.

He is excited for the chance to return, but he is still recovering and is experiencing significant Post Treatment Lyme Syndrome. Perhaps I will blog about it one day, but for now just know that it is a long road back to feeling normal. He’s a good sport and we are still very proud of him!

So, do your homeschool teens work at part time jobs?

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Homeschooling Middle & High School Fine Arts

Blog, She Wrote: Homeschooling Middle & High School Fine Arts

This post contains affiliate links. Thanks for your support!

We’ve made it to Day 5 of the iHomeschool Network’s Winter Hopscotch 2014. Today’s topic is homeschooling middle & high school fine arts.

Strategies for Homeschooling Middle & High School Fine Arts

Fine Art is likely some of our kids’ least favorite subject as a teacher, but our 8th grader is a lovely creative soul who challenges and delights us in this area of our homeschool. We use a variety of methods to teach fine arts.

  • Homeschool Co-op Our family participates in a co-op that meets for two hours for 10 Mondays during the fall and spring semesters. It’s a low key co-op which focuses on the extras over the academics. So, we have art and music classes offered there quite a bit. Below are some examples of classes my kids have taken at co-op.
  • Choir- We have a homeschool choir that meets through co-op and our 8th grader joined my husband in our adult church choir. It’s a four part + choir which meets weekly and presents challenging music.
  • Guitar- Our 10th grader took a beginning guitar class at co-op last semester and has taken video courses at home.
  • Dulcimer- Our 6th grader made a dulcimer last fall and plays it. Such a great class taught by our pastor at homeschool co-op. Click the link (in the text or picture below) to see I11 play his dulcimer.
  • Art Classes- There is always an art class offered by talented parents.
  • Offering Supplies- We keep our supplies topped off and make ample time available for their use. They get used a lot, but mostly by our daughter who loves to try out things and learn new techniques.

Blog, She Wrote: Homeschooling Middle & High School Fine Arts

While co-op does not meet enough to meet the requirement by itself, the classes enhance what we do at home to round things out. At home we offer basic music theory and art lessons. For high school graduation only one credit of fine arts is required and our 10th grader is opting for art to fill the requirement and we’ll do that over the four years in high school- about a 1/4 per year.

Our Favorite Curriculum & Resources for Middle & High School Fine Arts

We have some great resources for teaching fine arts at home. Some are long time favorites and others are new to us.

  • Five in a Row- Literature unit study program which has lovely, very accessible art lessons.
  • Harmony Fine Arts- We use everything from Barb’s tutorials and blog posts to her curriculum for various ages and stages. What makes it all the more special is that we’ve met Barb and our daughter adored their time together. We still talk about how much they had in common in the art and nature world!
  • HodgePodge- Of course we love Tricia and Nana’s chalk tutorials! Accessible and fun and a soothing part of the day any time you pull them out.
  • Artistic Pursuits- We have one of the middle school years and I like to use them with Harmony Fine Art units.
  • Craftsy, YouTube- And other websites like blogs which offer tutorials are places where our kids will go to learn a new skill. My 13yo loves to read for this sort of information and try it out.

Blog, She Wrote: Homeschooling Middle & High School Fine Arts

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Join other iHN bloggers to see how they approach fine arts instruction in their homeschools.

HopscotchiHNJanuary2013

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FIRST LEGO League: Science, Technology, & Teamwork

Blog, She Wrote: FIRST LEGO League- Science, Technology, & Teamwork

I don’t blog enough about our FIRST LEGO League teams, but I’ll be catching you all up to date this season. This is the fifth season for our sponsored teams. Our homeschool group started with one team which grew into two teams coached by Dan and another homeschool dad engineer. We have lots of parent help and the teams practice together and so far have done well in competition together as sister teams. This is both teams’ third chance at going to the next round of competition. This year LEGO Da Vinci won First Place Grand Champion while the Disaster Masters won the Project Award.

FIRST LEGO League (FLL) begins with the FIRST Mission

FIRST was started in 1989 by Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway, to inspire kids to become scientists and engineers. FLL is all about the science and research with the LEGOs being the hook in a high energy atmosphere.

Our mission is to inspire young people to be science and technology leaders, by engaging them in exciting mentor-based programs that build science, engineering and technology skills, that inspire innovation, and that foster well-rounded life capabilities including self-confidence, communication, and leadership.

Mr. Kamen had a vision:

“To transform our culture by creating a world where science and technology are celebrated and where young people dream of becoming science and technology leaders.”  Dean Kamen, Founder

FLL Has Three Components

  • Research project- based on a theme. They must research the theme, choose a topic to become experts on and come up with an innovative solution to a problem they discovered a long the way. They get judged on their solution, how they contacted and worked with experts in the field, and in their presentation of their findings.
  • Robot- including programming, design, and performance. Teams must design and program a robot to perform missions in the robot game. It also includes their presentation to the judges about their robot.
  • Core Values- this is all about teamwork and gracious professionalism. Are teammates working together and treating others they encounter well? At the competition they have a team challenge to complete which tests them in their ability to work together well.

FLL Requires Commitment

The teams practice seven hours a week- one hour at co-op during the semester when Dan teaches the class and two other three hour practices during the week. The guys on LEGO Da Vinci are coming to our house, where we have the table set up, to work on missions this week for some bonus time.

Enjoy a look at just one of the missions. They have just 2.5 minutes to complete as many as they can. Next time I’ll share about their research project. The theme this year is Nature’s Fury and their research has been on blizzards.

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