I know it’s so easy to do… and we’ve all been there. Just let a little go today, and before you know it you’ve gotten way off track. But, as experienced home schoolers we’ve been around this block a few times before. And, on behalf of all of us at Let’s Homeschool High School – You don’t have to fall into this trap; there are a few simple ways to avoid it.
Stay Connected – Just because your teen is older now doesn’t mean that they won’t fall prey to the “slack a little here and there” mindset. If I’m prone to do it, by golly, I know my offspring is! Yet, taking the time every day to do a quick check in can work miracles. Here’s my low down.
Daily – Use an agenda or planner of some sort. We use Time4Learning and they have this awesome weekly planner that you can print out. (We’ve got great free downloads with planners here!) It works perfect and allows my teens to “decide” how much they want to do each day. I’m totally cool with what they choose, as long as it is completed by week’s end. So, daily I ask a few questions
What’s on your “to do” list today?
Do you need my help with anything?
How are your grades this week? Are there any topics you need extra help with?
Weekly – We chat a bit about the week and I make sure that the weekly assignments have been completed. I then ask my teen:
Did you have any difficulties?
Were you able to finish all of your weekly assignments?
Are there any that you will need to work on over the weekend?
Were there any topics that we need to work/get tutoring on?
Did you take good notes in all of your classes?
How were your weekly grades?
Respond to their answers as positively as you can. If they have done well, praise them! However, you may need to give them motivation. Sometimes, if there is the matter of laziness they may need you to give them a goal. At our house, this often does the trick. “If you finish for the week you and I (or a friend) will _______. However, if you don’t finish this week, you will stay home Saturday and catch up. No video games/shopping etc.”
Make sure your teen has plenty of physical activity. It’s easy to fall prey to the sedentary lifestyle. I know, I have to make myself get up from my desk stop the work I’m doing and move around every hour or so. Your teens might need help remembering this as well. This not only with help them keep mental acuity, but also keep them healthy!
Give them outdoor chores. No, I’m not a slave driver, but everyone in our house earns their keep. (I often refer to the little red hen!) From the oldest to the youngest, our family of 8 all takes a vested interest in keeping the kitchen clean, yards mowed, and house picked up. This not only keeps the family running smoothly, but teaches them life lessons on how to run their own home.
Car washing – this is above and beyond chores and usually is a paid activity.
Encourage athletics. We are fortunate to live across the street from a county recreation club. Many of our children play baseball or softball. It’s a great way to encourage physical activity and team participation.
EAT! Make sure that your teen is eating enough healthy foods. I know from experience that my son will ALWAYS without fail choose cereal – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. So, I have to make him eat foods that will give him the energy and brain power he needs for his 15 year old 6’2” growing body. Most teens are alike in the fact that when they are hungry they want something now! Having foods prepared and ready for them to grab and go is key!
Tortilla shells or loaf bread for the all-star sandwich!
Their favorite fruit – don’t fight an uphill battle – just ask them and buy their favorites.
Peanut butter crackers
Prepared salad with the “stuff” ready to go
Keep a stock of easy to make soup. There are lots of healthy versions!
Keeping your teen headed in the right direction is possible! You can do it, but it does require effort and time investment. Staying connected is the biggest concern, and if you can find a habit that fits you and your teen and works, stick with it. It will definitely pay off in the end!
Jamie Gaddy, B.S., M.Ed., Ed.D. has been a college education professor for over 17 years. Education has been an integral part of her life in both the classroom and as a principal. Six children later found her dissatisfied with traditional schooling and homeschooling became the better fit. She is also a pastor’s wife, remote project manager, and entrepreneur who now homeschools four of her six children (ages 11-17) in southern Georgia. Jamie loves to share about her homeschool experience and help other homeschoolers find success. Connect with her at [email protected]