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Home Learning for Teens: Are You Both Ready?

by Jane Wangersky | January 17th, 2017 | School, Teens

teen studying (400x400)We parents tend to think of home learning as something for elementary aged kids — once they become teens, we figure, they’ll need, and probably want, the experience of full-time high school.

Yet there are reasons a homeschooled elementary student might want to go on with it into high school, or even a student who’s attended school all along might want to switch to full- or part-time home learning. Maybe there are issues of illness or disability, maybe your teen has a serious, time-consuming outside interest, maybe home learning just works for your teen and he/she sees no reason to give it up.

The question I want to deal with here is: Are both of you, as a team, ready for it? To answer that, ask yourself some other questions:

Can you and your teen work together peacefully on academics? Or does every assignment turn into an emotional issue between you? If you’ve homeschooled before, you may think, “Of course we can work together, we always have”, but that can change, along with a lot of other things, as adolescence arrives. If you haven’t homeschooled before, experiment to see if the two of you can handle it.

Is your teen self-disciplined enough not to waste time on the Internet? Many high school home learning courses have to be done partly or wholly online. Will your teen be able to resist the temptation to click over to YouTube or whatever? You probably have a good idea.

Are you ready to be ultimately responsible? If your teen’s not meeting his/her academic expectations, you will be called in to meet with administration. Yes, your teen has to take ownership of his/her work, but you won’t be able to hand it over completely.

Will tests and exams mean extra work for you? Many home learning high school programs require students to take tests on site — a few will send someone to your home to supervise — and for government-mandated exams, your teen will have to be someplace at a specific time. Are you prepared to see he/she gets there?

What’s your teen’s motivation for not being in school full time? I mentioned some reasons above, but there are also teens who just want to give up on the whole high school social struggle. Time off may not necessarily be bad for them. I know of at least one student who spent the junior year pretty much as a recluse, then decided to go back to school — and loved it. But if your teen is having that kind of difficulty, counseling is probably needed. At least home learning leaves the day flexible for appointments.

What will be his/her social outlet? If they don’t want one, see above. Otherwise, they’ll need an outside activity, or at least regular times with friends.

Having a high school student learning at home has its challenges — be ready for them.

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