Parents who are homeschooling teenagers need to be prepared to handle things that may not come up in homeschooling younger children. Teenage is a life-stage that is a time of transition from childhood to adulthood. They are formative years which will have a huge impact on the type of adult your child will grow up to be and it can be a truly exciting time to be homeschooling. On the flip side, it is a time of physical and hormonal changes and it is good to remember that homeschooled children as much as teenagers in public and private schools may go through 'teenage angst' and be prepared to handle it.
The late middle school and high school years are grades in which there is increased academic focus and a homeschooling parent has the opportunity to truly create and accelerated and challenging curriculum if his or her parent is ready for it. This is a time when the opportunity for customization can be exciting. More than in earlier years this academic acceleration can be helpful in teenagers' educational path forward and can give them a leg-up in college. The study skills honed as teenagers will stand them in good stead as they progress into more specialized areas of study or research.
Parents who are focused on academic progress of their children sometimes seem to be blindsided when their homeschooled teenagers start showing signs of rebellion and dissatisfaction. One homeschooling parent says that the idea of homeschooled teenagers being extremely pulled-together mini-adults is almost an urban legend and stresses the fact that they can be as influenced by the media as other teenagers. This can be a time of experimentation and pushing of boundaries in many ways and it is good to have a strategy to handle it. Those who have sought to keep their children away from negative peer influence are liable to feel that a challenging teenager is a failure of homeschooling and that is really not true. Some amount of rebelling against authority figures and assertion of individual taste is a part of a child finding an adult voice and should be seen as essential for growth and development. A parent homeschooling a teenager should make efforts to facilitate social interaction rather than cut off all contact with the outside community. Interacting with other teenagers, participating in sports or Scouts and going out to the movies have an important place in a teenager's life.
Unlike parents who have to send their children into school and have to rely on lesser hours of interaction to influence or mould a teenager, a homeschooling parent has a huge advantage in the several hours spend together. Use this opportunity to be creative in interacting with your teen. Homeschooling teens is not just about worksheets and lesson plans; it is also about building quality relationships that can be a source of strength for the teen. A parent does not have to be a teenager's best friend but it is a great time to play the role of mentor and adviser and build on the foundation of love and affection that is already in place.
While homeschooling teens can be challenging, there is much to be gained when a teenager is taught with the intuitive understanding that a parent can bring to the role of a teacher.