Here are four points for moms that will help you help your teen during high school.
As a mom I am certain you already know all of these points, but a friendly reminder never hurts.
Now, I know as parents we have only so much control over our young adults but here are some quick ideas that I have discovered that really helped my son as he was getting through his high school years (actually, for the entirety of school).
I must also note that we homeschooled so he was not in classes every day like most teens. That being said, he did take some classes and I always encouraged a few actions that he could take to make the most out of each course he took.
Getting Enough Sleep - Being homeschoolers we never really had to worry about the amount of sleep he was getting. He could sleep in when needed and usually woke up fairly early (around eight in the morning). I did find that as he grew into his later teens, he did get up later (around ten in the morning). Did this time change alter his learning? No, not at all. I actually found that he learned better when he received the sleep he needed. The one thing I love about the amount of sleep he received was that he never had to drink any coffee as a teenager. When I was a teen, I remember being so tired all the time due to lack of sleep that I was drinking coffee at age 15. I have been drinking coffee regularly ever since. I am absolutely not slamming any parent whose teen drinks coffee. On the contrary, I understand completely. When your teen is in school, public education rules the roost. It is beyond frustrating but I know that most parents just have no choice in the matter since most people’s economic situation demands that both parents work. If you are frustrated with the public school system, I highly encourage you to homeschool. Look at your finances and see if there is any way you can develop a life that will allow you to keep your kids at home and educate them yourself. You can do it and better than the public school system, I guarantee it.
Exercise - As far as our family’s exercise goes, my all time favorites are walking, hiking and archery. Finding a sport that your teen resonates with is sometimes tricky. My son went through soccer, karate and he hated every minute of it. But one day, he was playing Minecraft and I noticed that he was gravitating towards a bow and arrow whenever he was in a “battle” with a creeper, zombie or skeleton. We were in the kitchen and I remember watching him play and I asked him, “Hey, want to try that in real life?” He considered it and said, “Sure…” I got on Groupon and signed him up for a beginning archery class. We went that weekend and he was hooked and has been doing archery ever since. He even won 2 national championships in the boy’s barebow category! (Sorry, mom bragging moment 🙂) You never know what will spur on a lifelong hobby.
Basic Diet - Diet can be tricky since when your kids are in high school you only have so much control over what they are eating. But, there is always breakfast and dinner and those are two meals out of three (which is better than one out of three). Easy answer, I only make healthy meals - at least as much as I can. I rarely ask what he wants. I just present a plate of food and he eats it. I really never had a problem with our menu (with the exception of certain vegetables).
As any mom, I can make probably three meals out of a chicken if I play my cards right. Night one; roasted chicken and veggies. Night two; Chicken enchiladas and veggies with rice. Night three; Chicken soup with homemade dumplings and veggies. Night four; (I am going to stretch this depending on the size of the chicken.) Chicken pot pie. And don’t forget the chicken sandwiches for lunch. After all of this, we are clucking around the house and I need to switch gears as far as meals go.
So there, four or perhaps five meals out of one chicken! Although, I have to be honest. I usually get my chickens at the Wise Ox which is a butcher in my area. The chickens they sell are pretty small due to the fact that they are farm raised without any growth hormone crap so I have to admit, If I wanted all of these meals, I would have to use two chickens.
Understand Their Best Learning Style - As moms, one of our major roles after school is helping with the homework and making certain it gets done. Therefore, we are at the forefront when it comes to figuring out how our kids learn. We have been watching them since they came out of our bodies so (despite what some experts would have us think) we do have the greatest advantage when it comes to understanding our children’s learning and pretty much everything else. When my son was younger, he hated reading so I had to really dig deep to get him to not only do it but to love it. I decided to try different tactics to get him to pick up books. I left different books around the house. Any room he frequented had different books set out. When he was in elementary school I would set everything from college textbooks to comics. He did pick up the textbook a few times but only because it was about the solar system. His big thing was comic books. A good friend of mine gave us the comic series, Asterix the Gaul and my son loved it! If you haven’t heard of this amazing series: Asterix the Gaul - Wikipedia
It is a fun read and has some history too! The other set of books was of course the Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey. I remember when my son had to get tested in reading at his hybrid public/homeschool (which was not homeschooling at all, although I believed it to be at the time). His teacher came into the room and asked me what we read at home. I told her Asterix and Captain Underpants. And I have to admit, it felt ridiculous saying this at the time. The teacher responded with a roll of the eyes, “That’s not really reading.” Well, that’s all we got for now lady… was what I was thinking as I shrugged my shoulders.
My son took the reading test and showed reading skills “beyond his grade level”. At the time, he was in 4th grade. Although from what I have come to understand now as a homeschooler, grade appropriate reading really means nothing. Reading is reading and kids can read anything. They are just words on a page. Even today, if I am reading a book and I do not know how to pronounce a word or know the definition of a word, I simply look it up and I know it. That is a part of reading itself. It is really no big deal. I think the biggest part of reading is getting to your kids early and developing their confidence and understanding that mistakes are a part of learning. This way they can enjoy the books and really get into the stories. I mean that is the main reason we read in the first place.
Once I recognized my son’s interests, he took off. The teacher (the one who was the eyeroller about his choice of literature) actually apologized to me about her comment - “That’s not reading.” Sorry, it is all reading. She and I became pretty good buddies during his school year before I decided to pull him out of public school for good (for his own good). And, as far as his extensive vocabulary, I just didn’t speak to him like he was a mindless kid. I always spoke to him like I would anyone. He learned the words and that was that. If you use a word they don’t understand they will ask what the definition is. Or (even better) they will figure it out themselves.
I have more stories about his learning style with math, social studies, science and history but that can be for another blog.
But, lastly, I will say that after homeschooling and particularly unschooling he rocked it. He loved to learn as I think all kids do when they are left alone and are able to contemplate and think critically without being judged and graded. When they are able to learn what they want to learn and not what everyone else expects them to learn, they really do take off and if you think that they will not understand math, science or history because they are interested in gardening, think again 🙂 Everything is connected from math in a sunflower to Gregor Mendel and Peas.
I will get off of my soapbox about homeschooling. It is a great passion of mine and I recommend homeschooling to every parent who asks me the question, “Do you think I can homeschool?” or I receive the statement, “My teen is getting bullied every day in school. I wish I could get them out of this situation.” That one just breaks my heart. Not only do a lot of teens get bullied but their parents get bullied as well.
Honestly, you have more power than you think. So if you are interested in how to homeschool or college prep for your musical teen or even if you have some ideas that you would like to share, send me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org