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!!


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One comment

  1. Jennifer says:

    I was hoping there might have been some great comments left that I could glean some information from!! 🙂 I am interested in the topic as my daughter who just finished 7th grade homeschooling is going to do it again for 8th grade and is seriously considering homeschooling through high school. I am trying to think through this balance in the years ahead if we do this- between letting her be involved in things of interest to her vs my feeling that God wants more for our children then just letting them run around and be in every activity available. It is also challenging for us to be on the run with so many children…both logistically and financially. The one thing that I focus on right NOW that I THINK is helping her see long term homeschool as a positive reality…is that I let her explore her areas of interest at home as much as I can. She wants to learn more about photography…I bought a DVD digital photography DVD ($12 I think??). I figure she can enter contests for kids, enter the fair, etc if she likes to do this (little effort on my part or time away from home). She wants to dive into piano further. Instead of paying for lessons, I give them as best I can, buy her the lesson books, and incorporate music theory (easy, cheap workbooks) in our homeschool, and we’re buying her a keyboard she can have in her room this year. She loves horses…this is her one “formal” activity outside youth group and she helps pay for her lessons and shows. She has a mentor who takes her to help with the therapautic riding lessons each week. A here and there she has friends over. We do let her text to stay in contact with them. In high school, I’m going to let her do our homeschool “yearbook” (her sisters are much younger otherwise I’d have them take turns being editor/photography/layout design/etc). There’s a homeschool “prom” each year at a resort by the beach- family oriented…so she is aware that someday she CAN go to a prom. She says she feels pretty good about how involved she is in things and thinks she will be happy the way we do things through hs. I guess I’m just saying is…I’m THINKING- ’cause I’m certainly not an expert and less experienced homeschooling then you- is that if I’m going to homeschool a teen/more teens later, I better think outside the box and look for opportunities. 15 minutes and $10-25 for a curriculum item/sport item here and there is less time/money then if I would have hauled them to more weekly lessons/events 🙂 Blessings, Jennifer

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