Homeschooling a teenager is much different than homeschooling a younger child. Teenagers usually know what they enjoy learning about and have a goal in mind about what they would like to do as a career. Home school is a great way to enhance and explore specific areas of expertise. Teenagers usually plan out their curriculum and document their record keeping, which teaches accountability. Most teens are capable of self-study and self-monitoring; they usually know where their strengths and weaknesses lie.
Teenagers should be making decisions on what they plan to do after school. They may plan on going to college, military, community college, or maybe something else. College is just one option. Interests, passions, hobbies, and past times can all be turned into a career. A parent should research career options with their teenager by their gut feelings and instincts and nothing else. Do not let anything else get in the way of an intense passion that your child holds. Even if it is something you think will not make enough income, it is a passion. When someone does what they love, money comes.
This is a time during home school years when a parent may wonder if they can keep their children at home. Parents need to find out about diploma options. Some home-schooled teenagers receive a GED, which stands for general education development, and is equivalent to a high school diploma. Parents may also research college preparatory curricula and classes that may supplement their home studies.
During these teenage years, it is crucial to include the student in as many extracurricular activities as possible. Some activities may include: sports, working in a family business, self-employment, tutoring, community memberships, local arts productions, etc. Keep good documentation of awards, essays, interviews, and recommendations for future college requirements.
Homeschooling Teenagers: Curriculum
When designing a curriculum for home-schooled teenagers, parents cooperate with their teens and plan the school year together. Some parents prefer the traditional, textbook-driven curriculum, especially during the high school years because it opens up options for diplomas and college preparatory courses. A structured curriculum is not the only way to earn a diploma when home-schooling. Other parents and teenagers prefer the interest-driven curriculum, where teenagers are motivated to learn interesting subjects and apply them to the curriculum.
For college admissions, there are core courses that should be taken. English, math, science, and social studies should be worked on each year. Health, language, and fine arts are another batch of classes that should be included each academic year. This ensures a well-rounded individual who has learned the essentials for the age level.
Parents should not be discouraged to pursue the interest-driven approach while still completing the same college preparatory high school curriculum. Reading and writing are essential parts of communication, which is vital in society. Most homeschoolers read plenty of books and visit the library often; on average, homeschooled students read many more books than institutionalized students. After each book, the student writes an essay, and spelling lists are derived from misspelled words.
When it comes to math, homeschoolers use real-life math problems, such as consumer math, statistics, gaming and probability, recreational math, mental math, math history, and especially bookkeeping. Some students use math programs on the computer or the Internet. With math, the repetitive practice of problems is the only way to learn.
Science can be found anywhere, without a formal lab. Homeschoolers visit hospitals, rivers, volcanoes (if they are lucky!), and any workplace. Many attend camps and field trips and learn biology, botany, and astronomy. When homeschooling, students are open to so many more fields of interest such as meteorology, paleontology, nutrition, health, equine science, herpetology, nature studies, engineering, physiology, and even psychology. This is why most home-schooled students do not stick to a boring, limited textbook curriculum.
Home Schooling Teenagers: Preparing For College
Most of the high school years are spent preparing for college and discovering passions for future careers. This is a time when most homeschoolers do not follow a textbook-driven curriculum. Most homeschoolers learn by interest-driven curriculum and some students even become experts in their field.
There are diploma programs for homeschoolers, which are equivalent to an institutionalized curriculum. But that is not the only option to provide learning. Many home-schooled teens use selected correspondence courses in specific areas of interest, take classes at community colleges, or use community education programs, home school cooperatives, or online classes on the Internet. Students have the opportunity to pursue what they enjoy, which usually involves extra training with a mentor or tutor, or special courses. There are advanced placement courses online or by mail, county immediate school district programs, or private classes, the learning options are endless.
Teenagers should focus their energies on schoolwork, excellent grades (and grade point average), and the direction they wish to take for a career. If a student is interested in pursuing a college degree, he/she should practice and prepare to take PSAT, SAT, and ACT. Some home-schooled students get college credits for taking CLEP (College Level Examination Program) courses. Colleges are seeking students who are well-rounded, who have a desire to learn and be a part of the community, and who excel in textbook studies.
Parents who homeschool their teenagers cannot teach them everything they are interested in learning. For instance, a student who is passionate about flying and aviation probably doesn’t have parents who are experts in this field. Mentorships, apprenticeships, and on-the-job training are necessary to better learn a skill or trade that is not found only in a textbook. Experience is more valuable than textbook memorization of subjects.