Good crazy Monday morning to you! Who knew a week ago that today would look like this?
My planned blog post for Friday had to be put on hold because — COVID19. It was going to be all about senioritis, which was beginning to hit hard at our house. However, we are wishing for senioritis around here now!
The truth is, this enforced quarantine that most of us are experiencing is especially hard for seniors this year. And not just senior citizens! (Although that, of course, is true.) Suddenly, end of the year celebrations are put on hold, the moments of “lasts” are gone – no last track meet, no last musical, and graduation and prom plans are up in the air.
Now we are ALL home school parents. What?! We did NOT sign up for this.
Many of us still have to go in to our jobs. For now. So how do we homeschool teens?
I’m not a teacher and I am certainly not a homeschool teaching professional. However, I do know teens. And this will not go well unless we:
- Lower our expectations
- Meet them where they are.
- Have parameters in place that we need to be consistent about or our kids will fall behind.
Lower your expectations
If you go in there with a “let’s do this!” attitude and act like a drill sergeant about them learning all they are supposed to learn this senior year, you will increase the tension, which is already high, and be disappointed in the results.
If you go in there with a “let’s get through this” attitude you will transmit that negative attitude and not be able to get through it at all.
If you go in with a “we are in the together” attitude and “we can do this” spirit, you just may!
However, recognize that it just won’t always be pretty. You will get frustrated. It is hard enough to get teens to stay around the house right now, let alone work on schoolwork at home. Give yourself, and them, grace to figure it out.
Call your homeschooling friends, neighbors, or relatives to get their advice. Especially those with older kids. Granted, their kids are pretty self-sufficient by the time they reach high school, but they can at least give you a pep talk and say “it’s okay if it’s messy”. Because it is. We are all in survival mode right now.
Meet them where they are
This generation is all about technology. So use that. Many K-12 online programs are being offered for free right now. Look up what classes they need and point them in the right direction.
Sit through lessons on Youtube with them, so then you can ask questions and they can teach you. When we use more senses/skills/learning techniques we absorb it better. Talking it through may make it stick.
Whatever books they are supposed to read, read along beside them. They may shock you with their reading comprehension. That is a muscle that needs exercising and they have been exercising it and you haven’t. If both of you don’t know, I’m thinking it’s not cheating to look it up online. Don’t they have online Crib Notes, or whatever they are called these days? As long as you are “getting it”, who cares? (Teachers, ignore that!)
Encourage them to continue practicing the instruments, singing the songs, writing the words, and running the tracks. Granted, it isn’t team sports, but they also need to learn that life isn’t always fair. It just isn’t. After all, none of us are watching March Madness or getting to go on that weekend away with friends.
This is actually an excellent time to discuss government, economic, statistics, and business classes. Real life, man! How does a sudden weather or health catastrophe affect the economy? And I’m not just talking about the stock market!
Grocery stores are doing great right now. The travel industry and small local businesses are not. It’s a great time to be a truck driver or a nurse, financially, with all the overtime, but it’s a terrible time to be a massage therapist or a restaurant owner, with no one going out. And is it worth the extra stress to be that same nurse or truck driver? These are things that you can discuss at dinner, in a non-teachery kind of way. (I made up that word, but it works. You can do that when you’re the teacher!)
Set up parameters for them to meet
Fortunately, many of our kids in high school and college already have some sort of online syllabus or lesson plans in place. The wonder and curse of a technology world! (No more notices about a failed quiz – yes!) If they don’t have them, I believe many school districts are making an effort to have the teachers send it by email.
Because of this, you will know where they need to be and what they need to do, even if you aren’t sure how to get there. Tell them a certain amount of time must be set aside each day for schoolwork. If you work, this may happen in the evenings, so you can be available for ensuring it gets done.
If you got out of the habit of looking over schoolwork each day once they entered junior high and high school, now is the time to return to it. You may not know what it means, but at least you can see they made a good faith effort to do something.
This is when we can teach them about time management. Things like using their most alert part of the day for schoolwork. Yay! Suddenly they don’t have to be in class early – but they do need to get the work done.
Work alongside them. It’s almost taxes time, so work on that while they do a lesson in math. As I mentioned before, read the same books they are for English or History.
Get online documentaries about the time period they are studying, because who doesn’t love when you get to watch a video in class?! You can all learn something.
The fact is, this will make our kids better, if we work towards that goal. They can learn to be self-directed, they can learn to be more patient with siblings, and they can think outside-of-the-box to learn things. All of the stuff our homeschooling friends told us about their kids and we shrugged off. (Apologies to you!)
Good luck,, parents! We can do this!