Teen Homeschooling: Pros and Cons

Sep 03, 2019

Ask any homeschooling parent and they will tell you that educating your kids at home can be challenging and rewarding at the same time. This is particularly true for when your kids become teenagers. Can you see advantages, especially for the development of artistic abilities?

Perhaps you’re already homeschooling a younger child and you’re wondering what to expect as your child grows into a teen. On the other hand, you could be considering taking your high school student out of school to educate them at home. Either way, if you’re wondering what to expect when it comes to homeschooling a teenager, here are some points for consideration.

The first thing to know about homeschooling is that it’s very much ‘what you make it’. Keep in mind that each country, and its states, has its own homeschooling laws. In some countries homeschooling is illegal but in other countries it’s an easy process! For some areas in the US, you’ve only got to submit a registration form online and you’re set to go. No matter what age your student is, make sure that you are following all homeschooling regulations in your area.

The next thing to consider is your student. If your child is a teenager, then you’re already aware of the phases they’ve gone through. At this point, teenagers can become moody and impulsive. At times, they are a joy and at other times they can be difficult. Of course, there’s no one who knows their child better than you, and that’s why you’ve got to make the best decision for your child’s education. Their personality, strengths and weaknesses, and yours, can influence your decision-making.

Pros of Homeschooling a Teen

Anyone who has ever taught a teenager will tell you that working with youths can be truly enjoyable and rewarding. Watching them transform into adults is special. As they gain new understandings of the world around them and grapple with ideas of their place in society, you can have a firsthand glimpse into the kinds of people they are becoming. Homeschooling a teen gives you a special look at this transition and along the way you’ll get to experience a number of joyous moments.

Homeschooling a teen means that you can help your teen embrace his or her interests and strengths while working on improving areas he or she is weaker in. For instance, if your teen is advancing in English, you can help them get to the next level. If he or she needs help in math, then you can adjust your schedule to provide additional time to work with them in this area. During his or her spare time, your teen could take advantage of extracurricular activities. If your teens find art lessons a great creative break between the more taxing subjects, then you can structure your day accordingly for maximum results tailored to your teen!  Where your teen would be stuck in a classroom all day in a brick and mortar school, he or she has more time to explore interests, excel, and persevere through difficult subjects in a homeschool environment.

Many communities have programs for homeschoolers and this can be particularly fun for your teen. Check with your local library to get started and you might also find local homeschool co-ops and groups where your teen can meet and socialize with other kids their own age. These groups can also be useful in scheduling field trips/excursions, finding information for testing, and locating resources that you might need in your journey. These local groups provide an amazing amount of support and structure for parents and teens, so if you’re planning on homeschooling your teen, then we highly recommend looking into a homeschool co-op or community.

If your teen has a learning disability, homeschooling can be especially freeing. Many parents of teens with autism, dyslexia, ADHD, sensory issues, and other diagnoses that can attribute to learning problems choose to homeschool. This way, you have the time to pursue individualised, specialised therapy while also pursuing a quality education at home without overwhelming your teen. Homeschooling a teen with a learning disability can improve their confidence and give them the joy of learning, all while helping them sharpen areas that need a little work. If you want to truly set your teen (with a learning disability) up for a bright future, taking a time out of brick and mortar school to homeschool could be the right move.

Teens who are homeschooled also have the unique opportunity to pursue university / college credits and even apprenticeships while they are still in high school. Teens can also take part in debate clubs, local government volunteerism, and other roles that can help shape and boost them as they set out into college and/or the career world. All of this real world experience can be useful to your teen in college, and it can even help them land a career straight out of homeschool. For instance, many homeschooled teens start businesses while in learning at home and they continue running their businesses beyond graduation.

If you’re trying to decide whether or not to homeschool your teen, keep in mind that this time can actually be used to teach time management, critical thinking, problem solving, and other skills that can be highly useful in the “real world”. You also have more time to instill valuable principles into your teen, further readying them for the responsibilities of adulthood. Plus, you get to do all of this without the peer pressure and bullying that can happen in a traditional school setting.

Ultimately, homeschooling can give you a special role in the transformation your teen is making into adulthood. You will have the opportunity to walk and work alongside him or her, demonstrating and modeling what it means to be a responsible adult. You are also the lead learner in this situation, which means you get to show your teen what lifetime learning truly looks like.

Cons of Homeschooling a Teen

Of course, there’s a flip side to every coin and while there are many benefits to homeschooling your teen, there are also negative aspects that should be considered. While these cons might not necessarily be a deal-breaker, they are important perspectives that should definitely be considered ahead of any decision to homeschool a teen.

Most of these consideration are in regards to the transition from brick and mortar school to homeschool. Keep in mind, if you’ve never sent your child to a brick and mortar school, then you might not necessarily face many or any of these possible challenges. Still, it’s good to be aware of the possible cons of any decision before committing to it!

First of all, homeschooling a teen takes time. While younger children can generally get schoolwork done in just a few hours, teen homeschoolers often work for 5+ hours per day. While this is time when they are working, you’ve got to consider that you’ll often be in the trenches with them. Are you willing and able to use or create lesson plans and work one-on-one with your teen for hours each and every day? If your student is struggling in an area, are you willing to work with them until they’ve mastered it?

Of course, there are other areas that differ vastly from private or public school settings. For instance, if your teen is currently in public or private school and involved in school sports, then you will need to make adjustments during the transition to homeschooling. You will need to research and find local independent sports teams or homeschool groups that support sporting activities. Taking the time to find these activities could leave you empty handed if your area doesn’t have homeschool sports groups. Some homeschoolers have found themselves in a position to actually create a team or league when there wasn’t such in their area. Are you prepared for the leadership that could be required?

Another area that’s particularly unnerving is teaching your teen a subject you aren’t strong in. Many parents turn to tutors in this situation, so you’ll have to consider that you might need to pay someone to teach your teen in areas where you struggle. So you might have to be in the mindset of working one-on-one with your teen student for several hours per day, but you’ve also got to be ready to find help for them if the two of you hit a wall.

Another aspect to consider is how your teen’s socialisation changes when he or she is homeschooled. Instead of seeing friends every day, your teen will see friends on a new, perhaps lesser basis. If your teen is driving, then they might not suffer dramatically. If your teen isn’t driving yet, then be prepared to drive him to and from outings with friends. Many homeschool groups schedule field trips, which can be particularly helpful for teens who crave socialisation. In addition, some homeschool groups have study groups or weekly meetings. If your teen is very social, or if you want to make sure that your teen remains social, then you’ll be in charge of facilitating these kinds of social outings.

When it comes to homeschooling teens, one rather difficult topic is how to create a transcript. If you will be teaching a high school student, you will be required to document his or her grades and create a transcript per the laws of your area. You might find that quite a bit of research is necessary to find out the exact requirements for transcripts in your area. Plus, you’ve got to make sure that your high school student is getting the right education that’s geared towards tertiary entry, should that be something you want to keep open for the future. What do colleges/universities look for? What credits are required? You’ll be in charge of finding all of this out.

Teenagers can be unmotivated, moody, and outright difficult at times. You will have to learn how to work with your teen to create and adhere to a schedule that works best. You will be in charge of making sure your son or daughter gets his or her work done. Your participation and guidance will help deem your teen a success or failure of homeschooling. Can you work through the hormones and moods to boost your teenager towards academic and life success?

While many teens think that switching to homeschooling will lead to sleeping late and barely doing work at all, you’ll have to prepare your teen for the reality that work still must get done. Homeschooling teens can be extremely challenging, but it can also be very rewarding as you go through the final stretch to adulthood with them. Are you ready to be your teen’s cheerleader through high school? 

In Conclusion…

If you are considering homeschooling your teenager, you’ve got a lot of things to weigh up. Homeschooling your teen affords you the opportunity to grow closer with your teen and coach them in aspects of their lives that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to. On the other hand, you will be there for many of their struggles, and in the case of homeschooling, you might be among their only people to talk to. If your teen has learning disabilities, you’ve got to be ready to help find therapy, and if your teen is determined to stay involved in athletics, then you’ve also got to be willing and ready to make that happen. Yes, homeschooling your teen will be a journey like no other, but it also promises to be a walk with your child unlike any other you’ve ever taken!