Keeping Your Teen Accountable in Your Homeschool
One of my goals as a home educator is to create independent learners. I want my children to grow into adults who continue to grow in knowledge and have a joy for learning new things. In high school, I tend to give them a lot more independence while I can still guide them and help them take ownership of their education.
Children react to independence differently depending on their personality. Some of my children are naturally self-directed and need little guidance from me. A couple of others asked for more autonomy only to completely tank in their studies. In those cases, we picked up the pieces, buckled down, and got back to work. I learned a lot from these experiences and I’d love to share the tips I’ve come to live by with the hope that it’ll help you in your homeschool.
With more and more homeschoolers relying on online classes and co-op classes, it’s become more important than ever to follow up with our students. Here are some tips for keeping your teen students accountable in their homeschooling studies:
#1 Set regular one-on-one time.
Meet with older students once a week and younger students twice a week just to go over their planner or calendar. I suggest Monday/Thursday as good checkpoint days. Put it on your calendar and stick to it.
#2 Teach planning skills
Show your students how to fill in their own planner or calendar. Managing one’s own calendar is an important life skill you should help your teens develop. Check your student’s planner in your weekly meetings. (Homeschool Connections offers middle and high school courses to help you in this task: Organized for Success.)
#3 Make your meeting special.
Maybe go to a local coffee or sandwich shop. Or, at the kitchen table with a favorite treat like hot chocolate or pancakes or muffins. The point is to demonstrate that this is a special, important thing you are devoting attention to.
#4 Don’t forget the fun stuff!
Use your one-on-one time to talk about fun things that are happening in your homeschool too. It doesn’t need to be all business! What book are you reading for enjoyment? What fun extra-curricular things are you doing? What sort of art projects have you been working on?
#5 Give your children a say in the direction of their education
When it comes time to decide on classes for next semester, include your students in the planning. Sit down with them and go over your homeschool planning forms together as a team. This helps your child take responsibility for their own studies and builds accountability.
Even with this help, your child may still falter. If they get off track, don’t sweat it; just start anew. Learning accountability is a process. Be willing to give the process time.
Extra Tip: Accountability Mentor
Finally, many homeschooling parents find that high school children benefit from being accountable to an authority figure other than their parents. If you think your student would benefit from some outside accountability, consider finding an outside mentor for your high schooler who holds them accountable. This could be a family friend or someone you hire. An accountability mentor is someone who coaches your student to help them fulfill their commitments and attain their goals. Working with an accountability mentor can result in increased focus and commitment to academics, enhanced organizational skills, enhanced discipline, and a stronger overall work ethic. Quite a litany of benefits!
To learn more about accountability mentoring, visit Student Accountability Mentoring.