Creating Opportunities for Your Homeschooled Teen
Homeschooling the younger years is a special time when homeschool parents are working on basic skills like reading and math. We all know the exhilaration we experience when our students learn to read and conquer long division! By the time we are homeschooling high school, the goals change and so does our game plan. Creating Opportunities for Your Homeschooled Teens is all about how to help your teens navigate the high school years while having authentic experiences which prepare them for what lies ahead- whatever that may be.
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Let’s talk about ways to provide authentic experiences for our teens
along with resources to help you along the way!
These are the methods we’ve used with our own teens as they study in their high school years.
Two of our teens used their unique experiences as part of their path to university.
Our oldest has a large scholarship to his first choice school and the other achieved an Ivy League admission to a competitive, small program.
I’m on a mission to help you homeschool high school with peace and confidence.
Collaborate with Others
Many families work out small co-ops and work with each other to provide certain areas of instruction, but collaborating can also mean gathering to work on things outside of the regular subject areas.
- Trade Expertise with Another Homeschooling Mom– Families here will often trade off course work based on what they are good at. Are you the science teacher? Trade foreign language instruction for some science classes. The possibilities are endless if you know how to connect with others.
- Work in Groups with Other High Schoolers– Even if you aren’t trading instruction, you can meet together for classes which are more difficult to do alone. It’s popular to co-op science with another family or two to keep each other accountable to the task of teaching a subject you may not enjoy.
- Form a Writer’s Workshop– I love to host a workshop for teens. A writer’s workshop can be a way to encourage kids who love writing or not so much. Working together with peers is a favorite for most teens.
- Meet for Book Club– Book clubs are a great way to get teens talking about good books together. Often they challenge members to read books they normally would overlook.
Strive for Independence
High school is a good time to add on to the independence you’ve probably been working on since middle school.
By the time your students graduate high school, you want to be sure they can study and work on their own in addition to engaging with others on their school work.
- Discuss Goals Together– Teens need to be in the driver’s seat of their education. Bring them to the table to discuss goals. These can be long or short term. Shorter is good when you are just starting out. Having students be a part of the discussion on their goals is especially important for kids who aren’t as motivated as others. They need to buy in and a good way to move in that direction is to make them part of the process.
- Provide Opportunities for Ownership– We all know our kids and some students are ready before others, but it is critical that teens own their work. Part of that is being a decision maker when it comes to academic work, but it also means taking responsibility for what needs to be done. And getting it done.
- Get a Volunteer Job– Libraries, science centers, ministries are examples of places teens can find volunteer work. If you can, look for a volunteer position in an area of interest. It’s perfect for exploring fields your teens want to learn more about.
- Look for a Part Time Job– Our son worked in a grocery store and learned a lot. Employment in an area of professional interest is great, but even a retail or fast food job and teach a lot of independence. Even better if they live close enough to work to get themselves there and back.
- Start a Business– Our 9th grader considered a camp counselor job at a local sewing shop for their sewing camps and decided she’d rather teach her own classes than just helping out all summer. She has been working with one group of girls all year and just added a new class to her week. I’ll be blogging more about this in the future, but it’s been a good experience for her. Rebecca’s niche really is teaching others to sew. Entrepreneurship offers excellent experiences for increasing independence.
The workshop, Dream Big & Take Action Goal Conquering for Teens is for you to learn and facilitate the goal setting process with your teens and to help you evaluate their goals. Subscribe below for a discount on the 12 lesson workshop!
This is a tried and true process at our house for both big and small goals.
Seek Mentors for Your Teens
As our students get older, we transition from being teachers to being mentors for our high schoolers.
While parents make one set of wise mentors, it can be beneficial to have others come alongside your teens.
- Character Builder– A person who can come alongside you as parents to speak wisdom into their life. This person can be a grandparent, aunt or uncle, or a family friend.
- Expert in the Field– A person who is knowledgeable in the area your student is studying.
- Niched Experts– A person who holds a specific field of study and works with your teen. For example, Ethan was mentored by a master falconer while he was learning and preparing to get his falconer’s license. This was a required mentor for Ethan’s goal and he learned a lot.
When it comes to mentors, even with older kids, make sure you know the person well and plan appropriate environments for them to meet.
Online Experiences for Homeschooled Teens
There are a variety of online classes available in various platforms for homeschooled high schoolers. Some provide credit (either college or high school) and others may give a certificate of completion if you do all the work and turn it in to the professors. Whatever path you choose, using online courses is a great way to expand your teen’s horizons at home.
- On line courses– through various avenues such as Brave Writer and The Potter’s School– Online courses for high school in writing and all the major subject areas plus electives. Our oldest son took Worlds of Imagination both Fantasy and Science Fiction Literature as a high school junior.
- Community College– Locally we have CollegeNow which offers credits to high school students at a reduced tuition rate. It can also be used as a path to a high school diploma. Check with your local community college for opportunities IF your student is ready for the commitment it requires because there are no take backs on the grades they earn this way.
- Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCS) – Online education platforms which provide courses from universities from around the world. You can find them on almost any topic and some offer certificates.
Resources for Homeschooling High School
I’m always on the lookout for resources to use as a reference and to provide perspective as we navigate our homeschooled teens through to graduation and beyond.
- Homeschooling High School– or How to Be a Rockstar at Homeschooling High School is the headquarters here at Blog, She Wrote for all things high school.
- 100 Books You Should Read by the Time You Turn 20– a list for teens by teens, this is a great list for adding to your high school reading.
- How to Create a Four Year Homeschool High School Plan– the essentials when it comes to planning with your teen for the high school years
- The Ultimate Guide to Homeschooling Teens– This is a nice reference for general items. Not everything in this book works for us, but there is a lot of good advice all in one place here.
- College without High School– I adore this book which speaks to the heart of our homeschool. The author has excellent advice on how to approach high school in a way that seeks to capitalize on the experiences homeschooling allows our teens.
More Resources on Opportunities for Homeschooled Teens
We have two high school graduates and two high schoolers this year. We’ve been homeschooling high school for 7+ years now!
Below are some of the authentic experiences our teens have had (with a few more to add on so stay tuned!),
along with other important opportunities for our teens:
- The Surprising Secret to Mentoring Your Out of the Box Teen– our daughter’s story from the first time at her sewing machine to a spot in an Ivy League fashion design program
- Should My Homeschooled Teen Get a Part Time Job– This is a popular post all about the positive influence of a job in our oldest teen’s life. It’s time for a follow up to this post based on all the questions I got about it.
- How to Engage Your Teen with Books– Stories of all kinds are a tried and true way of communicating with your teens. Printed language has a profound influence on readers and can be used to provoke discussion and inspire dreams for our teens.
Homeschooling High School Courses at Blog, She Wrote
We offer a variety of courses meant to help you navigate the last years of your student’s homeschooling well.
Choose from the following courses:
- Dream Big & Take Action Goal Conquering for Teens– take this 12 lesson workshop and guide your teen through the goal setting process. Then help them to evaluate their progress and make changes to achieve success! This is the perfect place to begin your high school journey and get ready to build your teen’s program from there.
- Homeschooling High School by Design– build the framework for your teen’s high school years and learn how to work with teens in general
- Homeschooling for College by Design– the second half of high school where all your questions are answered about dual enrollment, college essays & testing, selecting colleges, and preparing your student’s transcript and application. The course comes with a bonus transcript builder which allows you to make a customized official transcript.
- Six Week Writer’s Workshop– this is a great course to gather friends and go through to host a writer’s workshop. There are 18 lessons for six sessions. They are not to be missed!
Subscribe for Homeschooling High School Support
The main thing when it comes to homeschooling teenagers is to keep pouring into their niche and to help them to reach out for experiences and resources.
The high school years at home have such potential to shape their future in a positive way.
Great ideas and tips! We are really working to make opportunities for our daughter to gain some new experiences. She was just accepted into a teen volunteer program at the local zoo for the summer. This is something she’s been wanting to do for years. She is looking to gain some insight into animal science careers and learn some new people skills.
Marci that sounds like a great opportunity!
Great ideas! Thank you for sharing. My oldest is only 11, but we are always looking for more things to do.
I love this list! My son is only 11 but it’s already got me thinking of ideas for him over the next few years.
Thanks- I hope the coming years will be full of much creativity for you both!
These are awesome ideas! Thanks for sharing. I totally needed this.
You are welcome, Jen!
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