What it’s like to homeschool teenagers

Ever since we started homeschooling, I am always trying to keep my eye on the ball. I’ve had spreadsheets that showed me what my older son needed to accomplish each year so that he could take all the tests that he needs to take. I’ve had spreadsheets that showed me which cello competitions my younger son needed to go to each year so that he could get all the performance experience he needed to get.

And I’m always adjusting. Like I’ve had to adjust the cello competitions schedule to include piano competitions. This is hard for me, because he does not play piano as well as cello. But he enjoys playing piano so much, so I just go with it.

Which is to say, I try to accommodate the idea of not having a goal even if it’s hard for me. That’s a lot of what parenting teenagers is for any parent – it’s respecting the way they want to live their life even if it’s not how I live mine. And hoping nothing bad happens on Instagram. (I saw that coming, though. It’s in the teen section of every parenting guide.)

When kids are really young, what they need is so boring to us. And when my kids were young, I was surrounded by moms were sheep or shallow and had nothing in common with me except for the date their first child was born. But at this point in my life, I’ve surrounded myself with moms I like and respect. So for me, now, it’s very exciting to help each kid lead their best life because in that regard, parenting finally makes a big difference.

19 replies
  1. Alyson
    Alyson says:

    My elder one was 13 a few weeks ago. Have to say, homeschooling life just keeps getting better and better. And ditto on having nothing in common with other mums at first, but I’ve found my tribe now, all a bit different, like me.

  2. Dove
    Dove says:

    The idea that you have found mums that you like and respect to surround yourself with gives me hope. I have a seven month old baby and thought there was something wrong with me because I don’t particularly care for the other mums. I mean, I have lots of friends from pre-baby life and a couple of those have kids too. Generally, the mums I’ve met simply because our kids are close in age? Not bad folks, but not really for me. I worried that I’d be alone or, worse, my poor kid would be alone because of mum’s snobbery. Just need to keep searching!

    • jessica
      jessica says:

      There is not a lot to talk about with babies. Everyone is tired and busy and obsessed with their kid. Give it two years, still see your old friends as normal, as your kid goes into classes etc you’ll find more like minded moms, but they’ll be busy too!

  3. YesMyKidsAreSocialized
    YesMyKidsAreSocialized says:

    I was a homeschooled teenager (senior year of HS). And here is how it looked for me:

    Pre-packaged curriculum to ensure I had the credits needed to get into college. (1 hr and 30 mins a day, whenever I felt like it)

    Part-time job/internship.

    Spending time learning how to program with C++.

    Pursuing my own interests.

    Sleeping in/Staying up late.

    Reading and writing about whatever I wanted.

    My mom was basically not involved, except for helping with monetary restraints that I had at the time. And I was given a weekly allowance.

  4. Karelys Beltran
    Karelys Beltran says:

    I was gifted with a challenging child.
    I’ve googled this week “emotional dysregulation.”

    And I’ve finally made headway, a tiny bit.

    It’s been stressful.
    And I’ve never had the peace of mind to care about what most other moms are frazzled with.

    I can’t bring myself to say some moms are sheep or shallow.
    I love and respect people too much for that. But I think it. I think it all the time.

    The challenge has made motherhood more meaningful because it’s given me a chance to prioritize diving into psychology to better understand how to parent well my children. I may have done it anyway but the fact that my son was so challenging right off the gate made it more urgent.

    I am so looking forward to the years to come.
    They are already a blast.
    It will be even more so.
    Because, for myself, I’ve realized that challenging times don’t steal the fun. Interesting is nurturing.

    And Penelope, thanks for verbalizing that for me.
    When I was struggling the most with depression I gave up on trying to be happy and focused on my life being interesting. And it has made all the difference.

    You’re the one that brought it to me in many of your old posts that I devoured like a hungry wold.

  5. Isabella
    Isabella says:

    My elder one was 13 a couple of days ago. Are saying, homeschooling existence just keeps improving. And ditto on getting nothing that is similar to other mums initially, but I’ve found my tribe now, all a little different, much like me.

  6. AssGeek
    AssGeek says:

    I think, that homeschooling is awesome! You have more attention from teachers, have more time for yourself and you can concentrate more on assignments! Yes, people think, that kid can’t socialize well, but I think, it is false – child will find friends everywhere!

  7. emily ENTP
    emily ENTP says:

    There are some posts that reveal such a sweet part of the mother’s heart in you, p, and this was one of them.

  8. Gaurav Malhotra
    Gaurav Malhotra says:

    accroding to me homeschooling is perfect! You have a good concentrtation towards your work .child develops a belief in himself , which is very important part of life. This is a Good post !

  9. Cáit
    Cáit says:

    All homeschool moms are the same and they are boring. And they lack any self awareness. Homeschool bloggers like project-based-lady and brave-writer tell you over and again it’s not about teaching and pedanticism but about passion because they’re just cool like that– then you read their blogs more carefully and you notice it’s all bullet point step by step instructions for other moms that they very seriously expect you to follow literally. So they do like traditional teaching..as in them being boring teachers to other moms. Women are boring.

  10. Tracy Reedy
    Tracy Reedy says:

    I’m a homeschooling single father and I have to say this is one of the hardest ideas to wrap my head around. My son is 14 and has the attention span of a gnat at most time and nearly zero motivation to do any school work, whether before in regular high school or home school. This is suppose to be independent study but he won’t do it.

    Now mind you, I am reeling from am ex who has put my son through hell when it came to home life prior to me getting custody. He is on a 504 plan, his mom called the cops on him 16 times for temper and problems which landed him a 5150, 4 times. So, I know I have a long road ahead of me deprogramming him from the past but I need to find external support. This is EXTREMELY hard to work with every day.

  11. Carol
    Carol says:

    I think you are doing an amazing job! My kids have now left home and as I enjoy my retirement I am wondering if I could too have done it? Back in the 80’s it wasn’t as mainstream as it is now

  12. Online Essays On Web
    Online Essays On Web says:

    Many experts and counselors are in favor of homeschooling but there are many disadvantages of homeschooling as well. When students learn something together they explore the topic in the different and creative way as everyone bought with his own uniqueness but a single child, cant explore as he can do in class.

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