I have a 13 year old boy and a 16 year old boy. I homeschool them both and have since 2008! My 13 year old has never been to public school and my 16 year old went through 2nd grade. I also have an 8 year old girl and have homeschooled my nephew through middle school.
I know most people dread the teenage years and think homeschooling teenage boys has NIGHTMARE potential. But, I LOVE it! Here are 7 tips I’ve used to help us along the way.
- Keep a daily rhythm. The kids need to have some structure to their day. I don’t let them sleep in until 9:00 and I do make them eat breakfast and clean their room. I do have them start math by 8:30 or 9:00. Our meals are the anchors to the day. We eat three of them. I feel like this is of utmost importance. Especially for the growing boys. They need to eat. A lot. It keeps them way happier throughout the day, more cooperative and just plain more content.
- Sit down and ‘do school’ with them sometimes. Even if they don’t need you to. I’ve found that when I sit down and read to them from their text/book/encyclopedia and discuss it with them I can evaluate how much they’ve soaked in from the lesson and from previous lessons. The more involved I am in the their lesson, the more alive it seems to come for our whole family. One nice thing about homeschooling teens is that I don’t have to babysit them through their school. But if I just leave it to them, sometimes at the end of the week, when we go over everything, it turns out they didn’t understand it as well as they should have or they (gasp!) didn’t do it to par or completion!
- Let them make popcorn. Or whatever it is they really, really want to do during school. This is a great incentive. My oldest loves to munch on popcorn during school. If the morning has gone smoothly, he’s sat down and started math without being told, managed his time well etc, then he can make a big batch of popcorn. It makes him think homeschooling is still cool!
- Don’t be too structured with them. We have a rhythm, not a schedule. This allows us to make allowances for other learning experiences that may come up during the week. There are lots of them, too! So, if something will teach or show them how to become better adults, make an awesome memory with a sibling or allow for some sort of character growth, we’ll put book learning aside and do it! Most of the time, in our experience, life-learning is better than book learning.
- Take deep breaths. I do this often. While I’m breathing deeply, I tell myself that puberty is hard. As hard as PMS and PMS can be really, really, really hard. I appreciate when Izee has patience with me and I try very much to have patience with them. The worst times are when PMS and Puberty collide. I don’t have 7 tips for that. Yet. Maybe I will grow and learn. When I do, I’ll let you know! But, what I do know, is that when one of them gets upset or seems illogical, they will, most of them time, come to their own logical conclusions as long as I’m not yelling at them and making them defensive. They are smart boys, they are both responsible and want to do what’s right. When I yell and place blame, they become defensive and angry. While I’m all about strict boundaries and don’t mind a little tugging on their ear to remind them of respect, usually deep breathing and quiet is more productive.
- Give plenty of outside free time!!!! I believe in this whole heartedly. They pretty much spend from lunch to dinner outside. They chop wood, climb trees (yes, still) work hard and play hard. They have so much energy, they have testosterone they need to burn off. They need to do this outside, away from me! Some of their best brother-bonding times happen outside, in the woods, making camp fires, building shelters, exploring and conquering the useless. It seems man-boys need to conquer something. Isn’t that what has gotten our world into so many wars? Maybe conquering the useless is the answer!
- HAVE FUN! Sing and dance and be crazy with your kids. Laugh and play with them. Give them hugs and cuddles as if they are tiny children at the same time as giving them responsibilities of young adults. They are in a special, short lived transition. We can have fun with our teenagers. We can enjoy their company. It probably starts with mom, though. So show them the fun-loving self inside of you. Don’t be too serious about everything. Pray for them and trust they are turning out just fine.
- Limit computer and device time. I know I said 7 things, but this is the most important one. The more the kids are online and watching crap on Netflix, the worse their attitudes get. The more they play outside, the better they get. It’s a no-brainer. We don’t own a TV, but if you do, TURN IT OFF DURING THE DAY!
I hope these are helpful to you. I’d love to know what you think, so please leave comments with any feedback or questions. Follow me and share my blog if you feel like it!
Thanks & Blessings to you!