Welcome to the month-long series “Homeschool HIGH SCHOOL Made Easy,” a follow-up to the popular “Homeschool Made Easy” series (now published on kindle). I’m sharing tips from my experience as a homeschool graduate and homeschool mother, showing YOU how easy and enjoyable these high school years can be for you and your teen. Be sure to sign up for the entire series so you don’t miss a thing!
For the past week, we’ve been looking at the unique social challenges homeschooled high school teens face and how we as parents can help them ease through this transition toward adulthood. This weekend, let’s take some time to evaluate where we are with our own teens and find ways to help them right now.
Go through this checklist carefully, thinking about your high school student’s own situation. Where can you help him take the next step? What support or training does he need?
Homeschool High School Social Checklist
- Is your teen gravitating toward a different parent? Plan with your spouse ways to accommodate him.
- Is your teen quiet, distant, too busy to talk, or moody? Find what environment or situations make it easier for him to talk, and make it as easy to come to you as possible.
- Does your teen have more emotional outbursts or arguments? Recognize his growing pressures and frustrations on top of confusing hormonal changes. And try to recall how difficult everything seemed when you were his age!
- Do you struggle with discipline? Try to focus on natural consequences of behavior instead of arbitrary punishments. Give one or two warnings (if he’s 10 minutes late from curfew, remind him he could lose his keys). Then follow through. Teens learn from their mistakes more than from our words, so these difficult times are crucial parenting moments.
- Does your teen nurture relationships from a variety of age groups and backgrounds? Help him recognize the important people around him, not just his own age group.
- Does your teen complain of loneliness? Listen carefully and ask him what he is specifically looking for.
- Is your teen involved in a variety of social opportunities? Help him find church ministries, community volunteer organizations, and other service groups to work in. Make sure he has a job that keeps him busy. And even look at sports, music, or drama classes. In every situation, gently encourage him to find someone who needs a friend or helper. By investing himself in others, he’ll find the relationships he craves.
- Are you hovering? Now is the time to step back and let the teen take charge of his relationships. Don’t micromanage his communication, ministry, or even classes. Let him make some mistakes and learn from them.
- Have you talked frequently about marriage and family issues? Now is when we hope that our values are already obvious to our teens, but maybe we missed something. Take advantage of casual conversation and off-hand opportunities to say a few brief words about the sanctity of marriage and the importance of fidelity.
- Does your teen know the difference between biblical principles and opinions? As strongly as we feel about these issues, it is vitally important our teens know what God says about the subject. Take time to share these truths with your young person.
- Do you make a distinction between choice and rules? Make sure you and your spouse are on the same page about dating rules for your family, and be clear what is your house rules, what is biblical truth, and what is opinion and advice. Being clear about these distinctions helps the relationship overall; teens appreciate our honesty. There are times we come down hard and say, “Thus saith the Lord.” And there are many times we assert our great advice. But sometimes we just have to say, “Sorry if you don’t agree, but as long as you’re under 18 (or living at home, or dependent on us, whatever the limit is in your house) this is the rule. When you are out on your own, you make your own rules.”
- Does your teen ask you health, sexuality, and dating questions? If not, find out where he is getting his information from. My husband has, on more than one occasion, reminded our sons that their friends do not have first-hand information on these subjects! It may be fun to joke with the guys about stuff, but when it comes down to it, only dad has actually seen the goods. So . . . consider the source and sensitively offer more accurate and comprehensive information.
With work and ministry
- Does your teen have financial responsibilities? Be sure to set up the need to work first by letting him want for some things: luxuries, extra clothes, electronics, phone, car, etc.
- Are you allowing your teen to find his own job? Give a few ideas, tell him some tips for his first interview, but let him struggle through this himself. Finding a job and convincing a business owner to hire him are important skills he needs to learn on his own.
- Have you set some work expectations? Look through my sample guidelines here and find what house rules work best for your teen.
- Is your teen involved in the church and community? Require volunteer service every semester, and be sure you are setting the example personally. Serving together as a family is ideal. Find ideas here.
- Do you know the teen driving laws in your state? Check your state’s department of motor vehicles online website or use this chart here.
- Have you set the teen driving rules for your family? Talk through the issues with your spouse, especially in these areas:
- What vehicles can your teen drive?
- Who is responsible for gas, maintenance, license fees, and insurance?
- Who is your teen allowed to drive with?
- What happens if your teen gets a ticket? An auto accident?
- Are you comfortable allowing your teen to drive away? Examine the character of your teen, and pray the Lord will allow that to continue to develop into maturity.
- Does your teen still recognize your authority? Be consistent in your parenting to provide the stability and protection he needs.
How is your teen doing in these social issues?
This article contains affiliate links to help support this site, but all recommendations are products I actually use and love. I am not a legal expert on graduation requirements in any state; please do your own research and plan accordingly.