Homeschooling Tips for Parents and Teens

The World Health Organization (WHO) on March 11, 2020 declared COVID-19 a worldwide pandemic. Nations all across the globe are taking preventive measures to ensure one's safety in this uncertain time. "Social distancing" has led to multiple organizations asking their employees to work from home and many public places being partially shut down. Mass gatherings are being discouraged by the local authorities which include public schools being shut down as well.

Symptoms of COVID 19 can take between two to 14 days to appear. See your nearest doctor if you think you've been exposed to COVID-19 and experience symptoms of fever, cough, and difficulty in breathing.

As we face this new reality in these challenging times of COVID-19, it can be overwhelming for parents and students to adjust to a new routine of working and learning from home. Parents now need to assume the role of a teacher alongside their regular office work and for teens, their education has moved online which will be an adjustment. Teens may enjoy a break from going to school, but it is important to set up a regular routine for learning and studying to keep on track in their academics.

Here's a list of 7 things to keep in mind while homeschooling teens

  • Give them control of their environment

For Parents - Kris Bayles, a successful homeschooler, writes when her kids were younger, they would all like to do the majority of their school work around the dining table. But as they grew, for example, her son would like to do his written work at the table but he would like to read in his bedroom where he was much more comfortable. Her daughter, on the other hand, likes to do all her work in her bedroom.

For Teens - Being at home can be comfortable but it should not be distracting or affect your learning abilities. Choose a place you're comfortable with in your house, where you feel you'll be least distracted and study there. Whether it's in the dining room or out on the porch, it really doesn't matter where you study as long as you get the work done.

  • Give them a voice in their curriculum

For Parents - Teen years are a good time to let your child decide what he or she wants to focus on in a particular academic year. This will help them to think and explore different areas of interest and help them find their passion.

For Teens - Talk to your parents about the different topics that interest you and see how they can be integrated into your curriculum. Colleges like to see subject diversity just as much as standardised test scores.

  • Allow them to manage their time

For Parents - High school is a perfect time to learn good time management skills which will be with us for the rest of our lives. Kris suggests she gives her children an assignment sheet each week but how her kids go about those assignments is completely up to them as long as all the work is complete and acceptable by the end of the week.

For Teens - As you go about your day, plan your assignments in such a way that you get a little downtown during the week as well. Depending on the size of the assignments you can double up two day's assignment in one day so that you can get a little free time the next day. Learning how to manage your time wisely will help you in college and in your work and family life.

  • Don't expect them to start school at 8:00 AM

For Parents - One of the best things about homeschooling is that it can be tailored around the family's needs. But sticking to a routine is important. Don't expect the kids to wake up super early to start their day. Give them time to wake and fill them up on a wholesome breakfast first.

For Teens - It is important to discipline yourself by sticking to the routine that you can help create with your parents. Getting plenty of sleep is as important as finishing up on a day's assignment.

  • Don't expect them to do it alone all of the time

For Parents - Training kids and teens to work independently doesn't mean that we should expect them to work all by themselves at all times. Teens require daily or weekly accountability to ensure that the work is being completed and understood by them. Read ahead a couple of chapters in your teen's books to understand the subject being covered so you can help them if they have trouble studying by themselves.

For Teens - Don't just finish an assignment for the sake of it. If you have trouble understanding a certain topic or chapter, ask for help and make sure you understand it well.

  • Embrace their passions

For Parents - Finding their passion is crucial in the teenage years as it'll help them pick what they want to pursue in the future. Some teens may not find their passion in high school and that's okay. Allow your teen to try different things that interest them.

For Teens - Explore the topics or subjects that excite you or you know nothing about. It might seem like a tedious task to find what you're really passionate about but you have more chances to explore in your teenage years.

  • Find opportunities to serve in the community

For Parents and Teens - This could be difficult during the Corona virus outbreak due to social distancing but there may be volunteer jobs you can do from home. Teens can use the time at home to explore future volunteering opportunities. The teen years are an ideal time to explore and become active in your local community. Find volunteer work that aligns with your interests and abilities. Consider:

  • Volunteering at the animal shelter, homeless shelter, nursing home, etc
  • Intern for local businesses
  • Become involved in local or state politics
  • Use your talents to serve others (place of worship, community theatre, tutor younger kids)