When our family first started homeschooling, over a decade ago, I did not know many families with high schoolers and I certainly did not know of families pulling their kids out of local traditional and private schools to homeschool them.
Times have definitely changed. With the rise in popularity of home educating, more families with teens are homeschooling high school. While there are plenty of helpful books and resources for getting started with homeschooling, they tend to focus on families with little ones who are just starting their educational journeys.
Homeschooling for the first time can feel overwhelming enough. Add in teenage hormones, expectations, and the inevitable worries (yours and theirs), the whole thing can feel downright scary.
5 Tips for New Homeschoolers with Teens
Looking to start homeschooling and you have teens? I've put together five helpful tips to help you get started. You and your teen can partner to create a unique home education adventure.
- Get reacquainted.
When you and your teen decide to embark on homeschooling, you will need time to get reacquainted. Yes, I know this is your kid and you live together, but adding homeschooling to the mix can change the dynamic.
I recommend not jumping RIGHT into any kind of formal school work or classes.
Take time deschool. Not sure what deschooling is? Check out our extensive deschooling resources. If your teen is coming directly out of a traditional school setting and is used to being on the go all day long, the change of schedule that brings sleeping in, eating when they'd like, and having seemingly "nothing" to do might feel weird to you and them.
Plan some fun outings together, even something simple as a late morning visit to a local coffee shop or a movie marathon day.
Play games together or take walks.
Perhaps cook meals together or just sit in the same room and read. Getting reacquainted first is important for creating a solid foundation.
- Get recommendations.
I was going to put this tip first, and in truth, if you decided to begin homeschooling your teen, you've probably already started gathering recommendations. Relationships, in my opinion, will always come before the actual classes, textbooks, and resources.
As tempting as it might be, do not drive this homeschooling-teens-train all by yourself. You will want your teen to take some ownership over the education. Have your teen research topics and courses. If you can, get them connected with other local homeschooled teens (either online or in-person).
As the parent, seek out veteran homeschooling parents who can encourage you and guide you (without overwhelming you). Depending on the time of year, you can look for local homeschooling conferences and even online homeschooling events. You can also work with a homeschool coach (I do!) who specializes in the high school years.
- Get ready.
Once you've become reacquainted and have collected some (not all) recommendations, it's time to get ready! Could we just clear up one thing first? Nothing will be perfect. Not on the first day or the 11th day or even on the 284th day.
You will find your rhythm, yes, but if there's one thing I've learned over the last few years of homeschooling teens (and homeschooling in general) is that flexibility is key.
You will need to be certain that your homeschool meets all your state's homeschooling requirements. If you're homeschooling teen is considering post-secondary school education, you can also make some notes to research various college requirements.
Pick a starting date and if your teen needs or wants a "first day of homeschool" experience, plan one together. Keeping your teen involved is key.
- Get (started) record keeping.
Recordkeeping will depend on your state's requirements and also what you, as the homeschool parent, would like to track and record as well. Personally, I did not start keeping records until high school (because I didn't have to and mostly because I'm not super awesome at tracking everything).
I now use a simple printable for planning and tracking all of my kids' high school classes and extracurriculars. If your teen is planning on attending college, you will need transcripts. TheHomeSchoolMom offers a free printable planner and a free transcript guide and template.
- Get REAL.
To round out my tips, I want to encourage you to get REAL. And because I love a good acronym, I made one for us!
- Relax. GULP! Yes, I said to relax and yes, I need to continually remind myself of this too. Your teen will feed off your stress and worry. Make time to relax together and be sure to fill up your own self-care cup too.
- Eat. Honestly? 9 times out of 10 when my teens are grumpy and complaining about school, they are hungry. Yes, I know they just ate breakfast. And a mid-morning snack. But somehow, they keep growing and their brains and bodies need sustenance. You probably do too, so check out my article on self-care biscuits.
- Activities. Teens need to stay active and engaged. This will take some extra effort and creativity but it's worth it. Online classes, local events, theater, sports, part-time jobs, and volunteering are all wonderful ways for them to stay connected to other kids their age.
- Love. That's it, friend. You love your kid and want what's best for them. On days when you feel like you're failing or they are, just love on them.
You can do it!
Homeschooling high school is challenging. But just because it is challenging does not mean it's not worth it. Your home school high journey is unique to your family and your teen. Lean into it and learn alongside them. If you need some inspiration, you can check out my posts on homeschooling a non-traditional learner here and my favorite things about homeschooling teens.
Are you just starting out with homeschooling high school? Check out our "How to Homeschool High School" for more information.