We have two students who have now graduated from homeschool. As they have transitioned into further study I have noticed a few things that we could have addressed in highschool that would have made it easier for them now.

One such skill is to be able to manage their time; not just to manage a couple of hours of independent study, but to manage their study week.
 
When my kids where young I would direct their studies. I would make my lesson plans, I would organise our study schedule and my kids were to be obedient within that.  I made all the decisions. As they grew older we worked on this direction together.  But still, when it came to when we did what and how much we did – that was my call.
 
That was me micromanaging their study time.
 
Sure, they had the ability to study independently – but they did it at my direction.
When we stop micromanaging our homeschool highschool student they start to take responsibility and learn skills that will be needed in their adult life.
Learning from this observation, the skills I want my two current highschoolers to learn is to:
 
  • learn to set study goals,
  • make decisions in light of those goals and
  • live out the consequences or rewards of their decisions.
 
For this to happen I have to stop micromanaging their study time and give them responsibility for their study hours.
 
[Tweet “When we stop micromanaging our highschool students schedule they learn responsibility.”]
 
With this in mind, I spent some one on one time with each of the kids, talking about their study habits: what they found hard, what they found worked for them, their goals for the next little while and how I could help them achieve those goals.

 

They set their Goals

As a result we have developed a study planner for each of them.  The goal (and it is still a goal, not a habit) is that we set our study goals for the following week on Friday.  The idea is by having a week’s work set out in front of them, they have the opportunity to get ahead and reap the benefits of not having to work every day, or they have a consequence if they don’t apply themselves and don’t finish by the end of the week, by having to work Friday afternoon.
 

I reduce the interruptions

Because it is very important for these older kids to have responsibility, accountability and consequences for the choices they make with their study I have to limit how often they are redirected from their study plans. This means what I considered a life lesson for primary age student may not be a priority for a highschool student. They have different goals in this season of their life, which will affect their lifestyle. I need to respect that.
 
But there will be times where family life, or life learning opportunities are important, so we have a system where I will sign off their study planner, excusing them from completing that aspect and incurring any consequences. Being responsible and being flexible does not need to be mutually exclusive!
 
I have been very surprised and impressed with how my kids have risen to this new system.  We have been tweaking it for a few weeks, and they still need to remember at times that they have to make decisions, instead of asking me about their study load but they are getting there and I am very pleased we have made this change.
 

It is their responsibility

Now, when they ask me if they can do something, I simply refer them to their chart; they can make that decision.  When they ask me if they can finish early (a bad habit that we have slipped into) I refer them to their chart and they can make that decision.  With their decision though comes consequences – and that is the one area that I need to uphold.  Nothing happens on Friday unless their chart is completed!
 
Which reminds me of a parenting principle: A teen makes their choice but a parent holds them accountable to that choice.
 
The highschool years is more than giving our kids an education that prepares them for a career – it is about fine tuning the habits that will last them a lifetime. Habits that will help them with their further study, with a career, and with any endeavour they pick up.
A teen makes their choice, but a parent holds them accountable to that choice.

Further Reading:

Do you Know the Purpose of the Highschool Years? The highschool years are for more than just preparing for employment – they are the years where we fine tune the character and skills for adult life.
As a Mum do you Delegate? Do you delegate to your kids? It is important that you do. When a mum or dad delegates to their kids we tell them they are responsible.

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