Homeschooling with teenagers

by Darla on February 17, 2008


My daughter and I love each other very much and we have a good relationship. Guarding that relationship was top priority in my book along with accountability. My daughter realizing that ultimately she was accountable for the choices that she made in regards to her education. Her choices now would impact her educational goals and the choices she would have later as to what type of education she would have. It was her job.  I worked more in a capacity of a mentor/accountability coach in a way that we both agreed before the year started.

When my oldest reached 9th grade (now in college) we worked more and more towards an independent learner phase of her education. Mostly because I had other children who needed me more and she needed to be independent for both our sanity levels.

At the beginning of the year, we sat down together to pick the courses she would need. Some required and others were her choice. She had to pick a history, science and english topics but the rest was up to her.

In the four year plan she knew that she had to have world cultures, american history, american government etc. Based on her choices, I would give her a list of materials. She would look through them and pick what she wanted or come up with other suggestions within the budgeted amount for annual and quarterly.

Depending on how our expenses went, would depend on whether everything was purchased up front or as she needed them.

Once materials arrived, we would sit down together to determine accountability dates and end of year requirements determined by mom. Accountability dates are the times she would need to sit with me and determine if she were on target.  Once a month dates worked the best for us. Less motivated children might need more frequent accountability dates and we did this when she was struggling to stay on target.

Our family didn’t test in the highschool years so she would need to choose what type of project she would use to report what she learned at the end of the year. She was asked to have at least one paper for one of her subjects.  She scheduled her own work. When she was finished, I would look at it and either approve it or suggest changes. She also knew how many vacation days she had available to her and when we had family vacation so she could pick the rest.  Sometimes she would join us on family outings and other times she would opt out. If she missed our group study times it was up to her to make up the difference. This allowed her the flexibility that she needed to babysit, piano lessons, work as a page in the local library, flute choir, home improvement projects, and youth group activities.

At this point we paid for her piano lessons but other activities were on her to pay for especially youth conference, summer girls camp etc. We paid her to babysit her siblings on a weekly basis so dad and I could go on a date.

Daily Schedule:
6:30-7:30 am     Daily devotionals with our local church youth
9 am – 10am      Group study (Mystery of History which we loved)
10am-12             Individual study then Lunch
1-4                       Individual study continues until she is finished.  The ending time varied each day.

Sometimes my daughter came back after her early morning studies and took a nap. She did need to make an appearance for our 9am studies but everything else was on her as to what she did. She kept track of her hours/days by using homeschool tracker to keep an accurate record of her work. She desired independence and that was fine but in order to keep her independence she had to keep track of her work.

Now that she has moved to a higher education program, she has no problem keeping herself on target. She is excelling which is fabulous. It wasn’t really unschooling more child directed learning. Our second daughter (7th grade) is fast approaching this phase of learning and we are moving towards this program even now. It is exciting to see her growth.

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