We have gone back to homeschooling this year after a couple years in a Christian school. I would say it’s going well except for my teens.
I can’t even say its going poorly for my teens. In so many ways, I think homeschooling has been good for them. They have learned a lot. A child can’t really skate through in homeschool. All of the work they accomplish, they really get. They either understand the material, or they don’t move on.
I also love the content of what the children can study. I love the thought provoking, growth producing, mission minded literature Sonlight selects for the children to read. In my mind, nothing measures up to that.
We have also begun to learn Chinese as a family, which is a priceless experience for us and an incredibly valuable skill to possess in today’s society.
I love having the children home with me. I love that the emphasis is on learning and not on grades. I love the relaxed atmosphere and the reduced stress that is ours because we are out of the rat race.
I LOVE that our evenings are not ruled by homework and the demands of twenty different teachers’ requirements for keeping up in their classes. And I LOVE that family devotions at 8pm every evening is easier to maintain than when the children are in school.
I do struggle to maintain our schedule and to keep the children motivated to do all that they need to, but I don’t see that as a reason to throw the towel in, but rather as something I can learn to do better.
The problem I am experiencing is that it seems like my teens have too much time on their hands. My daughter especially feels like she is missing out. While I am against the world’s view that families should fill their time with endless activities or spend limited resources to further amuse the world’s wealthiest and most privileged children, it is true that there is just more going on when the kids are in school. There are choir competitions, bible quiz teams, student government activities, and the list goes.
I know that homeschoolers can be involved in all of these activities too, but it does seem to be harder to find them, and it also seems that it all falls on the parents to make it all happen. I don’t know about the experiences of other big families out there, but I can clearly say that being portable is not our strength.
The truth is, putting the children back in school would really be a hardship for us, financially as well as time management wise. The bus ride to the Christian school our children attended, is an hour and fifteen minutes each way. The bus comes at 7:13, folks, and for me that is just a hardship! They get home in the afternoon at 4:30pm. That is just too long a day for our little ones, and driving the kids is just not an option with the cost of gas and our big van. Mark gets home at 7:30pm and late dinners and evenings are our norm.
I also know that teenagers go through periods of discontent no matter how they are schooled, and if life is always filled with busyness there is often very little time for spiritual growth.
So here are my questions.
How do you fill your teenagers days?
Are there some neat hobbies or crafts your home schooled teens enjoy?
Do you feel pressure to occupy your teens, or do you allow them to work through the time in their own way?
Is free time good for teens? Or do you feel they are better off highly structured?
Are you a big family balancing the needs of your little ones and big ones? How do you do it?
I realize these are all subjective questions, and there are probably as many opinions as there are people, but I value your thoughts and ideas!!