You Know You’re Homeschooling a Teen When…

Because laughter is the best balm for a soul…. Here are ten signs that you’re homeschooling a teenager!

You have an intimate relationship with YouTube.

Gone are the days of stepping on Legos and math manipulatives.  These days, if you want to help your teen figure out how to solve a math problem, you have to YouTube how to do it and hope that it rings even the teensiest of bells from your own schooling so that you can help your teen…or just let them watch and explain it to you.  Check out – Should You be YouTube Schooling?

Your children have turned into Hobbits.

They require second breakfast and Elevensies.  They have their days and nights mixed up.  Granted, some kids start this as early as birth, but it becomes a real issue when they’re teens.  Maybe they’ll work second or third shift when they graduate.  Or maybe their rhythms will even out.  Time will tell.  Got kids who love the Hobbit?  Check out The Hobbit & Writing Fantasy Fiction.

The dreaded question has changed.

Remember how often you got asked about socialization when your kids were younger?  Now you’re getting asked about things like dating, prom, and graduation.  Won’t they miss out on it?  Think back to your high school days…some folks loved those events, others tolerated them, and others skipped out.  The homeschool community has evolved such that, if you want to participate in these events, you’ll be able to find them (unless you live in a superbly remote area).  No one is missing out!

Arts and crafts are less cute and more functional.

Sure, you can’t put a dissected sheep eye on the refrigerator (and who would want to?), and it’s difficult to show off your kid’s vocational skills (which saved you quite a bit on that refrigerator repair), but just because you can’t pin these images doesn’t make them less worthy.  These life skills, fostered in their teen years, can really pay off in the long run when they help you out in the future.  Check out Career-Based Electives for Teens.

Photos become much more unique.

Whether because they’re adding stickers and emojis to digital photos, or just because they can’t seem to pose without making a face, sticking out their tongue, or putting rabbit ears behind a sibling, you haven’t had a decent photo of your kid in a couple of years.  Hold out for those holiday photos – Christmas and Mother’s Day are sacred, and you deserve a smiling photo on these.  Stay strong!

The expensive Legos have been replaced by expensive musical instruments / car parts / insert hobby or sport equipment here.

Gone are the days of kvetching over spending a hundred dollars on a Lego set.  Those are the good ol’ days.  Sporting equipment, car parts, new technology, and musical instruments….these are the things that have replaced those simple building toys.  Check out Should Your Teen Have a Job?

Read: Must-Have Supplies for Homeschooling Teens

Daily life and chores counts as an elective.

Home Economics, Homesteading (if you have a farm), Auto Mechanics, Shop…all of these are elective credits that you can give you child now that s/he is actively contributing to the household management and chores.  Cooking, cleaning, doing laundry, meal planning, and shopping all count toward Home Economics.  Check out A Self-Sufficient Life.

Field trips become a little bit scary.

It’s not so much because they’ve run off at the zoo…again…as it is because they actually drove you to the field trip.  I believe that teaching teens to drive shaves a full year or more off of parents’ lives.  Especially when they nearly miss their turn and take a 90-degree turn at 45 mph, going up on two wheels.  Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything.

The house is suddenly very quiet.

It’s not like when they were toddlers, however, and you knew the silence meant that trouble was just around the corner.  Which is not to say that there isn’t trouble around the corner, but it’s most likely happening outside of your home where you won’t know until later.  But then the house is loud at night when everyone is together for dinner again.  Think of this as a transition period for when you become an empty nester.

You become sentimental.

Suddenly you understand what people meant when they were babies and you were told, ‘The days are long, but the years are short.’  We only get eighteen summers, and then they spread their wings and fly.  Savor these four years of high school.  Transition your relationship from parent-child to more of a mentorship, and know that there may be bumps along the path to independence, but you’re supporting them, love them, and will miss them dearly once they graduate.  (Even if they don’t realize it.)

DD’s Journal – Mid-Winter Blues

Well, I think I can see spring on the horizon!  So, we know what that means.  Planning for the next school year!  Woo Hoo! Yeah whatever. 

We all know better. We get a tingle down our spine every time we go to the mailbox and see a new curriculum catalogue!  We turn the pages with utter excitement, thinking of all the exciting learning that we can do for the next year.  We dog-ear pages and circle descriptions…..with great anticipation!  Oh the EXCITEMENT!  And then comes our Debbie Downers. 

First our most treasured prodigy begins with the long drawn out moans of, “Moooooooooommm!  I don’t want to do latin…whhhhyyyy do I have to do I have to do Algebra??  Seriously….this reading list is from the dark ages!”  Oh those precious faces so full of potential and ANGST. 

As we work hard, making our brains sweat as if we were doing Zumba in the Sahara, contemplating what classes each of our precious jewels would surely excel in, what will be needed for high school credits, and of course the super fun electives!  Oh, how we plan! 

Then the other downer appears… know the one.  The one at the end of the order form….yeah…that one….TOTAL.   That little box can take us from euphoria to the deepest darkest place in our children’s messy closets!   Then comes the saddest part…what can we do without?  Oh! My heart breaks to a million pieces, falling to the floor with tinkle of fine glass! (Look at me…practicing my descriptive writing!) 

BUT!  A thought jumps into my brain like the ding on the microwave!  THE LIBRARY!  YES!  I will make my own curricula…I will research, plan, outline, do all the worksheets and assignments!  I CAN DO THIS! 

Who am I fooling????  I have science experiments in the back of the fridge….that started as “left overs for lunch.”  I just can’t seem to recall what lunch…or when.  And if you look under the beds, the dust bunnies have formed a commune of free love and peace.  

We all have been there.  It is so hard to build your curricula to your children.  We battle costs, fear, intimidation, and failure.  But, with that said, we find such joy in what we see our children accomplish.  As home educators we celebrate the grades; but also the special little nuances, learning to tie shoes,  writing their name, finding them being quiet….with a book, seeing them help the elderly get a shopping cart from the rack….so much that cannot be measured in an aptitude test.  Moms, do not stress over the books and the grades!  Look at the human you have made and now are molding to be a generous, kind, caring, and loving person.

Mama, hold the head high! We are strong, smart, and capable!  We have coffee running through our veins!  We can teach, cook pizza rolls, change a diaper, and pay bills!   We are THE WONDER WOMEN of the world!  So, get your bracelets on, attach your lasso of truth (but does it work on a 3 year old?), put on that push-up bustier and high heel running boots, and get out there and show the world, “I AM A HOMESCHOOL MOM AND I AM STRONG AND FEARLESS!”

Well, except for the fear to open those containers in the fridge…

Hang in there moms…we got this!

Dee Dee (with coffee and sleep pants!)

DD’S Journal: Holiday Edition!

Dear friends…

Well it has happened AGAIN!  As I sit and look at my lesson planner, it hits me, like wrecking ball! (But, I am fully clothed LOL) 

Thanksgiving is in 27 days and Christmas is in 54!  Where oh where did the days go? I imagine planning for the holidays in a public school is stressful,  but as we homeschoolers know…we can either rock it….or pull our hair out ! 

I know when mine were littles, we would really RELAX during the weeks between the holidays.  One year we decided to have a homemade tree.  We hand made all the ornaments,  we used water balloons and bright tissue paper and made some amazing paper mache’ ornaments!  We also used standard balloons and made large ornaments to hang from the ceiling. It was really a lot of messy fun.  In other words, we did all of our art for the year in a couple of days!

I love the holidays and homeschooling!  You can incorporate so much into your teaching!  We have studied Christmas traditions in other countries,  researched the first Thanksgiving…and being of Native American Heritage, we did a focus on the First People’s history of Thanksgiving!

You can also download a free holiday guide – with Christmas reading lists for all ages, a holiday-themed cross-stitch design, and gift guide as a thank you gift from our webmaster and her blog, Homeschool On the Range.

So, dear friends as we prepare for the Holiday season, we as mommy educators can do so much to make a holiday more than food and gifts!  We can do history, art, science, and language arts (family Christmas letters), and hand writing…..and they will never know! 

Wishing you the best for the Holidays!

Dee Dee

DD’s Journal – Through the School Years

As the school year comes to an end, I see so many changes.  Teaching two instead of one been the biggest change, but I have to say…big brother has really stepped up with advice for his sisters!

It’s funny how as the year progresses, the Light Units disappear!  We are planning the closing of the year with much anticipation!  The sunny days make school seem, well, DULL.  The girls are enjoying bike rides, new kittens, and all the flowers!  

This year I had to rethink my teaching.  My number 2 daughter was really struggling with pre-algebra.  So, being a somewhat creative mom, I came up with an IEP plan for homeschooling!  I want her to succeed; so she and I set goals and discussed what she felt would help her with the transition into more difficult math.  And it is working!  Not every child will be an Einstein, but we as home educators have the ability to take what could be a DISABILITY and turn into a work of PROGRESS!

On another note, I found that both of my daughters really enjoy writing.  They write short stories and essays with a flare!  

And of course we had our “planning conference” for the next year.  I really encourage the children’s input for curriculum.  So we are ready to put down the moola for school year ’19-20!

It seems like if was just yesterday I taught my oldest to write his name, and *POOF* he is a full grown man -working and driving, being a productive citizen!  So my pearl of wisdom is:  enjoy these times…all of them.  From getting b’s and d’s written in the right direction, to learning times tables, suffering through endless history lessons, and the tears and arguments…because…they go by way too fast!  

So dear friends….as we close another year, may your pencils forever be sharpened with erasers, that rulers, compasses, and protractors never be lost, and that our wee ones always know, how much we truly love them!

Blessings to All,

                  Dee Dee

DD’s Journal – Homeschool Convention Time!

It’s that time again!  Every homeschool mom’s delight!  Homeschool children are singing the song of “their People”……Yes!  It’s homeschool convention time!

We plan for months, checking the vendor list, noting what we need to purchase (free shipping!!), what we want to look at, and of course, the gathering of the freebies!  Our children get excited, they will be amongst children like them!  I know that mine were excited for the book vendors, the hands on exhibits, and the most important….the young entrepreneurs booth.

I have to admit…I have been homeschool conventioning (is this a word?) since the denim jumper days!  I still drag my “box on wheels”, which by the way, gets some strange looks! I carry a small spiral notebook that has my needs and wants…when I visit my curricula booth, I am welcomed with a big hug and and friendly, “Good to see you again this year!” 

Every year I meet up with all my home school moms and we plan our yearly lunch….a walk downtown to our favorite Mexican restaurant! And this is with at least 9 children in tow!  If you have never been to a convention….you are missing out! The smell of new text books, an entire booth dedicated to paper products!  (YES) There is a booth where you can purchase the dreaded frogs and squids for dissection, and there are books galore for reading enjoyment! And this mom purchased two fabulous novels written in the 1800’s! 

Oh! The freebies! Pens, pencils, water bottles, candy, lunch bags, and keychains…..of course some of the best are the free drawings for curriculum, i-Pads, and lap tops!  From one home school mom to others…if you get a chance, visit a homeschool convention! It is day of fun and encouragement! PLUS….this can be considered a “professional day” for your records!

Next year….my plans are to attend 2 (yes..TWO) conventions! I may go into book overdose!  Here’s to lazy summer days! Oh…who am I fooling! I don’t know about y’all, but this girl has some deep house cleaning to do! 


DD’s Journal – End of the Year Reflections

Another school year is coming to a close.  This year really flew by fast.

13 years I have been at this…my oldest will be finishing his Junior year.

I swear it was just yesterday he learned to write his name! 

As I look over my dinning room table, well….maybe I should say “school table”, there are workbooks, text books, notebooks, and and tray of pencils that are without erasers, and all with broken lead;  through this mess I can see the the amazement of learning.

Homeschooling is not as easy as some would think.  You spend hours pouring over curriculum samples, deciding on what type of teaching and learning will work best with each of your little scholars.  You plan lessons, field trips, experiments, and extracurricular activities.  And, all the while you are also doing laundry, planning and cooking meals, cleaning house, shopping, doctor’s appointments, the many trips to the library, and any other task that needs to be done.

Not only is the table a mess, so is my house!  Deep cleaning is usually put on “hold” until summer break.  My therory on this is that I will only have my childrens’ attention for a moment, and that this house will wait, for these little minds need to be dust and cobweb free more then my home.

I have heard so many say, “How can I stand to be home all day with my kids?” or “I need my “Me Time”.  For which I gladly reply, “These children were a gift from God to me, and my time with them is so short, I want their memories of education to be one of family, learning without stress, and having life skills.”  My “me time” is at 5am….when the house is silent…

So, as these last few weeks are coming to a close, and I prepare for for the next year of learning….my heart is full.  The outcomes of this year’s goals have been met, the children have grown, they have learned, they have aquired more life skills, but most of all….they are growing into loving, honest,  and well adjusted young people. 

Yes my life is super busy, and sometimes I look around at my house and just sigh….but this is my life, a life of continous chaos, but it is all mine….and  I LOVE IT!