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Upcoming Speaking Engagements
We hope to meet you
June 16-18, 2016: Christian Home Educators of Colorado (CHEC)—Denver, CO (Diane)
July 15-16, 2016: Arizona Families for Home Education (AFHE)—Phoenix, AZ (Carol)
Save the Date! August 6, 2016: HSLDA You Can Homeschool Symposium—Purcellville, VA (Carol and Diane)
January 28, 2017: Home Educators of Grove—Richmond, VA (Diane)
Not able to attend one of Carol or Diane’s high school events? Purchase a recording of HSLDA’s High School at Home: Turning Possibility into Reality event and watch sessions on developing a high school plan, creating transcripts, charting a course for post-high school plans, and receiving encouragement for the high school years!
“Both of HSLDA’s high school consultants homeschooled their children from kindergarten through the 12th grade.” Learn more >>
An Encouraging Perspective for Parents of Teens
|Dear Friends,||June 2, 2016|
For many homeschool parents, June is the month to wrap up and put the finishing touches on another school year. Even for those who school year-round, taking a short break in June probably sounds pretty good. It’s a good time to recharge and re-energize. If it was a tough year, you may currently find yourself holding on by a thin strand, but if the year went well, you may be raring to go! Either way, we encourage you to pause for a moment of reflection.
You are important to us, so we’d like to help you refocus on the important, refresh your inner spirit, and restore your positive attitude as you teach your teens at home. How might that be possible? Let’s keep things in PERSPECTIVE.
Position yourself to stay afloat. You have a limited number of hours in each day, so be on guard and limit your responsibilities to those you can handle effectively. Some activities are best left for another season in your life. A heavily marked calendar tends to result in a heavy and burdened heart, so before adding an activity to your calendar, consider the ramifications. Will the activity add stress? Will you be energized or drained after participating? Does the activity have merit? Wisdom also suggests that downtime is necessary time.
Exhale and inhale. We encourage you to breathe. Especially when you are tempted to hyperventilate. Medically, hyperventilation occurs in people who are nervous or tense. That pretty much described us on some homeschool days!
We understand. We can relate. We remember well our hearts racing when we heard about our friends’ teens who won the National Who Knows What Award, or who completed college calculus in 10th grade, or who built a replica of Apollo 13.
Hearing about the achievements of other people’s teens may sometimes cause you to doubt your own teen’s skills and talents. Remember that your teen is unique, created by the One who fashions each person in a fearful and wonderful way! Encourage your teen in his special interests and passions because you want to see him flourish in his own distinctive and matchless way.
Resonate with your teens. Deliberately build time into your summer to engage your teen. Give her opportunities to share her dreams, aspirations, and fears. Find opportunities to spend one-on-one time with your teen. Let her know that you are interested in her, and assure her of that with your words and actions.
For those of you with healthy relationships with your teens, this will probably come naturally. For those with strained relationships, it can take time, love, and prayer. Don’t give up. Do your best to keep the lines of communication open from your end and pray to have an approachable spirit that meets your teen where she is. Be your teen’s most enthusiastic cheerleader, her safest sanctuary, her bravest defender, and her most trustworthy ally.
Simplify your surroundings. Use the summer to ruthlessly throw out or give away items that are no longer useful. Take time to clean out closets, drawers, garages, and rooms. Spaces that are clean and uncluttered bring a sense of organization and freshness, so this is a good use of your time.
Although we recommend keeping good high school records, it’s not necessary to save every piece of coursework your teen has completed this past year. Instead, save major tests, papers, and some dated samples of daily work; you don’t need to store tons of paperwork. For important aspects of recordkeeping, read this recent newsletter, which explains what records to keep during and after high school.
Prepare and focus. We suggest that you use the summer to set aside time to think through your objectives for your teen’s upcoming school year. These objectives may be academic (what courses your teen completes), skill–oriented (what proficiencies your teen masters), spiritual (what traits your teen develops), or social (what interpersonal abilities your teen improves upon). Involve your teen in brainstorming to develop a list of objectives and ways to meet these goals.
Ensure that you invest time in caring for yourself. For many of us, self-care can seem selfish or self-focused. Actually, the opposite is true. The time you take to keep yourself mentally, spiritually, and physically fit overflows into benefits for your family and friends. When you are well-rested, you see clearly, have more energy, and can encourage others. Self-care may include carving out time to stay in God’s Word, which revives, restores, and rejuvenates.
Cherish the memories you make with your teens—during good and bad times! The good memories may include your teens growing in maturity, increasing in wisdom, flourishing in relationships, and developing godly character. However, the hard times will help you cultivate patience, nurture gentleness, and persevere in love. Viewing hard times as producing godly growth can give you hope and yield stamina that enables you to keep walking in faith.
Train yourself to walk and talk in grace. Receive the Lord’s lavish grace and then dispense it freely to your teens. Grace is a salve that promotes healing whenever you extend forgiveness, overlook an offense, or respond to harsh words with softly spoken replies. Extending grace without measure can be life-giving to your teens in the day-to-day crucible of homeschooling. Seeing your teen’s flaws and weaknesses can lure you into nitpicking and constantly correcting him. Kind words, kind deeds, and kind thoughts are the antidote to defuse these situations. Not that you shouldn’t correct your teen when necessary: rather, view shortcomings in the same way that God views yours—with a goal of restoring, redeeming, and edifying.
Influence others in the homeschooling community. Reach out to those who may not have a network of support. Mentor a younger homeschooling parent who may have the same fears that you once had. Sometimes we even gain encouragement ourselves by serving others.
You may want to check out the Home School Foundation’s (HSF) Ambassador Program. Ambassadors serve homeschool families who are going through tough times and need support. HSF helps widows, single moms, military families, and those with financial needs, and you can be the individual used to deliver tangible assistance.
Vanquish negative thoughts that steal your energy, belittle your good intentions, and mock your efforts. Not everything you endeavor to do—especially when it comes to homeschooling—will be successful. On some days, success may be getting up in the morning and tackling that geometry proof again. Other days, success means making it through the day without raising your voice and losing your temper. As you are faithful, success will be defined in new ways. Perhaps it will be the satisfaction of overcoming a fear, the essay written without tears, the spark of motivation that you thought you would never see in your teen! Be on the lookout for small achievements and let them inspire you to keep going.
Esteem and appreciate friends, relatives, and homeschool parents with whom you are privileged to walk through life. Perhaps one of them would be thrilled to receive a handwritten note that will take only minutes for you to write. Let them know the ways your heart has been encouraged by their involvement in your life. Your simple note may be kept by that individual for a lifetime, and you will be blessed as you write the note and relive the way you were encouraged.
PERSPECTIVE can make a crucial difference as you homeschool through high school. We are inspired by the parents we speak with each day. May the Lord richly bless you and your teens!
Join us next month as we discuss teaching history during the high school years and share resources to help you in the task.
Persevering during our busy season,
Carol Becker and Diane Kummer
HSLDA High School Consultants