Is Homeschooling a Teenager Different than
Homeschooling an Elementary School-Aged Child?
BY CAFI COHEN
Teenage homeschooling presented a new set of challenges. Our children wanted to try all sorts of things with which we were only vaguely familiar. Our son wanted a private pilot’s license. Our daughter needed outlets for all kinds of creative endeavors: writing, speaking, performing, drawing, even cooking. In addition, both kids decided to tackle subjects in which we lacked expertise, most notably foreign languages.
As parents of homeschooled teenagers, we began to worry about college admissions tests like the SAT and ACT. Our kids were also eager to begin researching colleges. One had a clear-cut goal, and our questions centered around the best way to help him attain it. The other could not begin to decide on a goal; and, of course, we worried about that.
See also Homeschooling and Time for Me
In short, the kids seemed to need more expertise than we could personally provide. And we, their parents, worried more about the future than when they were younger. Were we doing The Right Thing?
Teens Can Accomplish a LOT on Their Own!
Fortunately, as we discovered, teenagers can do more for themselves than younger children. Contrary to what many educationists would have you believe, teenagers can learn trigonometry and biology by themselves for the SAT. They can read college catalogs on their own. They can teach themselves computer skills with little outside help. They can even find resources on their own – like community drama groups and free flying lessons. When challenges arose, more and more often as the kids got older they would find a solution before we even realized there was a problem. Sometimes we brainstormed together to generate solutions.
The Biggest Difference in Homeschooling Teens
What was the biggest difference we noticed in homeschooling our teenagers? Our role evolved from networker to facilitator. Our earlier research and our talking to experienced home educators had served two purposes: 1. We found resources, and 2. we provided a networking role model. Eventually, our kids adopted our techniques and became good networkers themselves. As they assumed more responsibility for their education, we, their parents, found we had an altered job description. We had moved from planning, motivating, and teaching to discussing, providing wheels, and writing occasional checks.