5 Tips for Helping Your High Schooler Succeed
Congratulations, you now have a high schooler. Uncharted waters lay ahead, where a world teems with deadlines, college pressure, and headache-inducing algebra. Perhaps you’re just now jumping into the homeschool world with your teen, or perhaps you have already homeschooled them from the start. Either way, we are all aware that high school is another level of homeschooling, a different dimension, if you will. If you’ve already found yourself stressed at the thought of high school — pulse racing, hands sweating, heat rash forming — it’s okay. Take a deep breath.
It’s truly not that bad.
In fact, it’s not bad at all. Homeschooling a high schooler is a fantastic opportunity. You get the chance to help and encourage this teen as they venture into the world of adulthood. You’re right beside them the entire way, at an arm’s distance if you need, or there to hold their hand (or give a hug) when they need that, too.
Our Top 5 Tips for Helping Your Teen
There is a lot of doubt around the concept of homeschooling through the high school years, as many parents turn to public high schools instead. However, not only is it possible to continue homeschooling, it’s a wonderful chance to help your teenager soar through these years. Your homeschooler can still have a social life, still have a transcript, and even get a high school diploma online! To get started, here are our top five practical ways to help your homeschooled high schooler.
- Organization is key. High schoolers have all the main subjects, plus electives, extracurriculars, dual enrollment classes, labs, you name it. Consequently, those pursuits are accompanied by mountains of paperwork, equipment, schedules, binders, and so on. Organization is a must for high schoolers, and as many parents are aware, not all teens are naturally inclined toward organization. You can help your teen by working with them to create an organization system for their homeschool year.
- Create an individual workspace. If you are homeschooling multiple children and ages, this can be especially helpful. Teens need the ability to focus on their studies and assignments, which is difficult when other students are also learning at home. Further, their own workspace helps them feel that their privacy and success matters to you as their parent.
- Create a balanced schedule. The high school workload is not one to take lightly. Try to help your teen cope with the workload. Perhaps encourage them to look ahead in their assignments for any bigger projects due at the end of the semester so they can start early enough to avoid cramming. Offer to help proofread their papers, or sit down with them as they look over their schedule to teach planning skills.
- Encourage reading. The benefits of reading are nearly limitless. Colleges love a good high school annotated reading list, and beyond that, a good book list helps grow the mind, warm the heart, expand vocabulary, develop empathy, and more.
- Show the value of their education. A teen who recognizes the value in their education is a teen who will go far, make goals, reach beyond limits, and work hard for their dreams. Try to help your teen look past the struggle of the current lesson, to expand their scope and see the value of their education as a whole.
5 Suggestions for Homeschooling a High Schooler
Homeschooling a high schooler is no easy task, for either the parent or the student! High school is difficult regardless of your education choice, but homeschooling adds on a little more pressure. As a homeschooling parent, you hold the reins to their education and will naturally feel apprehensive when it comes to preparing your teen for a career or college, or even planning their semester or using a high school GPA calculator.
Teens go through a lot in these years, which can add another layer to the mix. It’s important to be encouraging. Still, the schoolwork must be done. Here are some of our favorite suggestions for homeschooling your teen.
- Let them have a choice in their studies. Having a voice even in a simple decision can make a world of difference with teens. Asking them for their opinion on what they would like to study (or if they’d prefer “A” or “B,” for example), will help them feel involved and let them know that you care about their preferences.
- Look for volunteer opportunities. Volunteering can help your teens learn new skills, expand their interests, and encourage a giving heart. If you track those community service hours in a log, they can look great on high school transcripts!
- Pursue their passions. What do they enjoy doing the most? What are their hobbies? Can you incorporate those passions into an elective or something they can study further? Incorporating your teen’s passions with their schoolwork is a great way to keep them motivated and engaged.
- Create a habit of completing tasks. We all have to learn discipline and follow-through at some point, and for many of us, that’s when we are teenagers. Teaching your teen in high school to make a habit of finishing their tasks will create a great foundation for skills they will need in a career, as well as come in handy in college.
- Try not to overschedule. High school subjects require a lot more study time, research, organization, and effort. While five subjects may have been checked off by noon for your elementary students, those same five subjects may require long into the afternoon even with block schedules for high schoolers. When planning their high school year, try to take into consideration the extra workload that each subject demands, and try to avoid overscheduling with electives and extracurriculars.
Courtney Newman is a homeschool graduate with a love for writing. She is also currently pursuing her undergraduate degree in Health Science at University of the People. Other than writing, her hobbies include reading, yoga, visiting the beach, and meditating. She lives with her husband and pets in Virginia.