When it comes to homeschooling teens, I’ve come to think it’s the same as riding a bicycle. However, I don’t mean that in terms of never forgetting how to do it.
Instead, it’s like those pivotal moments in a child’s life at 6 or 7 or 8 when the training wheels come off but the rider is still unsteady. Do you hold on? Do you let go?
Sometimes, I just don’t know.
|What should I do???|
I’ve been homeschooling four children for nearly thirteen years, but it’s just now that I realize that homeschooling teenagers is hard.
I don’t mean hard because the level of work is hard. After all, I’m an experienced secondary teacher, so I’ve educated teenagers before. I’ve run more than four different youth groups in the past twenty years, so I’ve mentored teens before.
I mean, for goodness’ sake, I even WAS a teenager, once upon a time! I know they can be hormonal and fickle, over-tired and grumpy.
So why am I finding it so hard as my own daughter creeps toward 16 1/2 years old? Because it has just hit me:
SHE … IS … NEARLY … GROWN … UP.
|Blooming before my eyes!|
Yes, yes, yes … I know that we never stop learning, we never stop growing, and that even when she leaves home for college or work or whatever, we’ll still be connected. My own mom and I are closer than we’ve ever been, so I’m not afraid of losing her once she packs that bag and heads out the door.
But it is hard. The time frame, for example. In just a few years, she will be DONE with homeschool. My chance to guide her and share her studies and explore what she explores is nearly over.
It is hard. The choices — OH, the choices!!! Whether SATs, or AP classes, CLEP or honors courses, online MOOCs or dual-enrollment, or bog-standard curriculum and our beloved Charlotte Mason approach to our studies. I’m sure I haven’t even touched on all the options, so I’m trying to stay true to our family mission: love to learn and learn to love.
|Our Motto: Love to Learn and Learn to Love|
But you know what makes it hardest? She is starting down the path of being dogged and determined about the vision she has for her own life. She is wanting to put her stamp on things - create her own narrative - and it’s causing friction between us that’s never been there before.
It’s not altogether a bad place to be. Standing back and watching her, I know that it’s the start of a really good phase. Like riding a bike, she has told me to take off the training wheels and give her a push. But if I let go and she falls, then I’ll be blamed for letting go, even if she asked me to do so.
So homeschooling teens is like riding a bike. I provided her with the best one I can afford in terms of time and money, and now I have to let her ride away on it under her own power, on her own path, steering her own course.
|A Path of Her Choosing|
And I’ll watch her from the side lines, with tears of pride in my eyes.