Monday, October 1, 2012

Strive & Thrive: Getting Real

I am not sure if there is anyone out there like me but I have found that when I can find a blog out there that speaks to me about homeschooling our teens or highschoolers I am really interested.

I have found three things over the past years when it comes to homeschooling our teens; many decide to quite home learning and join back up with public schools for all different reasons, many begin to practice complete unschooling with their teens, again, for many different reasons and then finally many who do continue to homeschool and share their schedules, courses and activities make me want to crawl under a rock due to my feeling of inadequacy in comparison to our own schedule and lessons.

So if your like me, then you might be happy to read and enjoy this series that is a bit, well, realistic on my own terms. It is more about meeting my teen where he is, not where some book tells me he needs to be.  Its about having/letting him have a voice in choosing and advocating for himself his own needs and wants at this point and stage in his education.

As I had said in earlier posts I plan on sharing here in this series what we are doing, how we are doing and then why we are doing it.

If your looking for a quick post to help you out, this series (on most weeks) won't be that. This series on some days might be longer than usual so it would be best to grab your favorite cup of tea or coffee and settle into a comfortable chair to read on. Then other days it will be shorter because I may be just sharing a tip I recently tried or something funny and whimsical to share~ so it will all depend on our days and what is going on.

Today's post "Getting Real" is to help those who are feeling inadequate and not exactly sure they know or even want to homeschool their highschool aged student. If your there, I understand and hear you. Its not an easy decision and it won't always be a rosy road, but its a worthwhile consideration.

Here are some thoughts/suggestions I have in homeschooling your highschooler:

1.  Start to enable better communication with your teen.  At this point in their learning there needs to be a better understanding of their personality and in how they like to do things so being open and talking openly about things is really needed. You will find your more successful if you do. Forcing methods and styles only postpones the inevitable.  

What kind of communication am I talking about? Its the kind of communication that doesn't reflect how "we" feel. Its about them. It has to always be about them. Its "us" asking questions instead of telling them "you need to ...." its more " how should we...." kind of communication. Its less confrontational and authoritative than many are used to, but I promise it works.  Its giving them the voice they need to find for adulthood. I have actually begun incorporating this with my middle school aged child now. Its never too early to begin having this kind of communication with our older learners.

2. Be realistic about how your Highschooler learns and what his strengths are.  Honestly, I am just going to say it, we need to stop kidding ourselves as to how best and which way we need to teach our teens and how we want them to learn. At this point in the stage of learning our teens know ( or should know) how they need to do things and how they need to learn best. They do know just ask them! If you hear the words "I don't know", then there is work to do in #1 above. And that can take some time, it means we need to facilitate more and teach less. It means we listen more and talk and lecture less. Its scary but they need to find their own way through some of this. Remember we are raising learners not pouring information into an empty pail.

At this point my son pretty clearly knows how he needs to learn. He has some struggles because how he needs to learn and how he likes to learn can be different in some cases but he can communicate this to me and we work together as a team to overcome any issues or struggles. I am no longer kidding myself about how he needs to do his school work. I have tried enough programs and things to be able to see that we need to make sure we are working how they do best and how best they can be successful.

I can hear your question already, "what if that is all I get, the I don't knows"- this takes some time, I promise your teen at first will think some alien has over taken his mom. I had my one child say to me, "where is my mom and what did you do with her"? - yup it can be like that but enjoy this new journey!

3. Make a commitment to not make any decisions without your teen's input.  I actually did this a while before we hit highschool. I look for the boys input in everything. They review all programs, tools and methods with me before we start anything new.  I continually meet and chat with them about how things are going, likes/dislikes, pet peeves etc.. some things I can see right away that are working well and but then other things I can see we might be sinking in we will go ahead and see how we can tweak things. I have taught them that no program or method will be perfect for us, its more how we can alter things to make it fit us and our needs. ( notice I say "us")

Following these three important things can really start your year and highschool learning off to a great start! If you have already started, great, its never a bad time to begin this ~ especially when school is already in session. You will find you have something to work with and chew on.  

Feel free to ask questions and leave comments on any of these suggestions, I look forward to the feedback.

Until next time!

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