Strengthen Your Family Through Biblical Homeschooling

Tag: Communication

Building strong social networks for teens provides a foundation for later success in life.

Homeschooling through high school has more ups and downs than a roller coaster. In these years, our teens seek a sense of identity and purpose. They want to try new things and experience ever-widening independence. Helping them practice independence, while you are around to gently guide them, is a healthy thing.

Teen Friendships

We all know teens have a gnawing desire to be around peers. They wonder how they measure up or fit in academically, socially, and physically. They want to know know they can lean on what they know about managing life and relationships without you there to oversee it all. Sometimes, they just want a break from family to figure out who they are and if they can stand on their own two feet!

Hormones and strong wills can test the best of us at this stage. I always felt as if we were revisiting the terrible two years when our children were developing independence. Keeping that comparison in mind helped me say yes to as many non-harmful things as I could.

Ask yourself, “How often do I say, ‘No,’ when my teen makes a request about social outings and events?”

If you are saying no more than yes, you may be poisoning your parent-child relationship. Unless they are asking to do something dangerous, work with your teen to turn as many ‘knee-jerk no’ answers into yes’s as you can.

It’s important to choose your battles wisely. As my wise husband once said:

Teen End Goals

When you are hyperventilating over the challenge in front of you, remember what your end goals are. When your parenting job is over, you want children who:

  1. Love God.
  2. Have strong character.
  3. Exhibit a strong work ethic.
  4. Maintain good relationships with friends and family.
  5. Are able to navigate the world with confidence and success.

Listening to their desires for social activity builds trust. Keep communication lines open by not criticizing their dreams and ideas, no matter how impractical they seem. Ask yourself how their request may be answered in a way that supports one of the five goals above.

Self-discovery is healthy when it’s allowed and encouraged within safe boundaries. Let them know you want them to succeed. If they know you won’t criticize them when they fail, they will feel safer coming to you when they do. And, they will.

Don’t fight their need for social activity because it is overwhelming or scary for you.  Work with your teens to create safe and trustworthy options now, so they will know how to set good boundaries later when you are not there. With some creativity, you can tweak most any social experience into ones which will satisfy you both.

Ideas for building strong social networks for teens:

  1. Start a small Bible study group in your home and help your teen lead it.
  2. Sign teens up for an online class. This is a great option for interacting and relationship-building with students from all over the world!
  3. Don’t hover when friends are around. Get a basic feel for the group interactions, retreat to give some privacy, and trust your teen’s judgment.
  4. Host a Biology dissection group with the help of a knowledgeable friend.
  5. Be willing to drive a group of high schoolers to a field trip or movie once a month.
  6. Sign your teen up for a class at the local community college. They will become comfortable when taught by others, practice social engagement during class, and earn dual credits.
  7. Encourage a new independent interest: horseback riding, ballet, debate team.
  8. Help them find a job and apply the experience towards a work study credit.
  9. Start a Literature co-op in your home. Go on related field trips, cook literature-themed foods, and host movie nights!
  10. Sign them up for a creative writing class that inspires self-expression and encourages self-publishing. Young writers can make an income!
  11. Help teens create service projects and invite others to participate.
  12. Play a team sport or join a tennis club.
  13. Do some things just for fun like ice skating, roller skating, geo-caching, or bowling to burn up energy.
  14. Join a choir, band, or theatre group.
  15. Host an art group and explore different art mediums like water color, art journaling, or stamping. Take the group to an art museum or art show.
  16. Make home movies, music videos, or documentaries.
  17. Host a teen talent night at your house or church.
  18. Host a makeover and snack night with the girls.
  19. Encourage them to be a summer camp counselor.
  20. Start a photo club and host a photo scavenger hunt.

 

If you feel ill-equipped for building strong social networks for teens in your home, go over  our list with your teen. Ask which ideas they like and brainstorm more. Guarantee ya, they’ll have some! Then, network with other parents to help build strong social networks for your teens and theirs. All of you will be giving your teens an enormous gift that will last a life time.

This article was originally published on our Homeschool Launch Blog.

 

 

Here is another great article on teenagers, “We’re Raising Grown Ups“.

 

And sign up for the newsletter to receive more great articles!

 

 

Aiming Arrows into Adulthood

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As homeschooling parents, how can we prepare our children for adulthood? And how can we prepare our hearts (through prayer and effective communication) to release our kids, into a new season? There’s life after graduation– with college, careers, romance, weddings, and next-generation purpose. Let’s aim and launch our arrows to hit God’s mark!

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Homeschool Group Leaders meeting

Thanks to modern technology there are more ways to communicate with your group than ever before. While homeschool calendars—printed on fake parchment paper, filled with terrible clipart, too many fonts, and snail-mailed out to each mom—were a useful tool for our predecessors, there are far more efficient (and attractive) options available today. So, we thought we’d take a look at just a couple of the FREE options we’ve enjoyed using the most here at Teach Them Diligently in order to offer you some ideas.

Facebook
We all use it already, so making use of Facebook is an obvious option. Creating a Group for your homeschool co-op is a great way to get everyone on the same page, to create some community, and to offer a place for asking questions, giving answers, and sharing pics from your most recent Fine Arts evening. Facebook gives you a lot of options when it comes to privacy settings. You can make your group a closed group if you’d like to avoid prying eyes. You can also create calendar events, take polls, and send messages to individuals… But you already knew all that ☺

Trello
Imagine an infinite wall space for all of your sticky notes. Then imagine that you can organize and share them with all of your team, and easily search them to find what you’re looking for. You’ve just imagined Trello. This is a great little free platform where you can post plans, involve and get feedback from others, assign tasks, create checklists, and set due dates all in an easy-to-use environment. It’s simple to setup and there’s nothing more satisfying than dragging all of those cards to the “Complete” list when you’re done!

Slack
Not just for hipster indie startups anymore. Slack is a wide-open communication machine. Create categories for your group (i.e. field trips, monthly meetings, weekly coop calendar, statement of faith, etc.) then allow everyone—or only specific groups—to access and communicate on the topic. They can tag each other when posting to grab others attention. Upload photos, or documents, and link to other locations. Archive it all so that you can go back and reference it later. Remember AOL Instant Messenger? Yeah, it’s sorta like that, but waaaaaay better.

MailChimp
If you are looking for ways to schedule different emails going out to your group MailChimp offers a robust, and user-friendly experience. It’s free for up to 2,000 subscribers, and it allows you to easily import your homeschool email list. Then you can create email newsletters and blasts using their super fun templates and send them whenever you’d like. You can also associate social media blasts to have them go out at the same time, and of course check and see what percentage of your group is actually opening their emails ;)

Boomerang
If you are looking for a simple solution that doesn’t require logins and learning new platforms, check out Boomerang. It’s a plug-in for your gmail account that allows you to schedule when you want to send an email. Type it up just like normal, but instead of clicking “send” click “schedule” and decide when you want it to go out! 

Grammarly
If you were home teached like me then grammar is still one of your arch nemesia (and you’re supposed to be teaching your kids how to do this stuff!). One more plugin that I’ve personally found helpful is called Grammarly. It works the same way as spell-check, but takes it to a whole new level. Every time that you accidentally type “your” instead of “you’re” it’s actually smart enough to let you know (because it checks for usage not just spelling). Plus, it will inform you that the plural of nemesis is actually “nemeses”;)

Hopefully, you’ll find some of these tools useful as you help organize, lead, and direct your homeschool group. For more great resources for your homeschooling be sure to subscribe to our blog, engaging with us in our Leaders-Only Facebook Group where we can share ideas and struggles year-round,  and consider joining us at one of our 6 Homeschool Conventions this year. We also offer a leadership share program that allows you to share TTD with your group while earning commissions. For more details on that, email office@teachthemdiligetly.net.  Finally, at each event we’ll also be hosting a very special Leadership Summit focused directly on you, the Homeschool Group Leader. Don’t miss out! You can learn more here!

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Homeschooling Parents

About David and Leslie Nunnery

Leslie Nunnery and her husband David founded Teach Them Diligently, the nation’s premier source for gospel-centered homeschool events. With seven years of homeschooling experience from preschool-high school and a passion to encourage and equip homeschool families, this mom of 4 shares her know-how and insights weekly through Teach Them Diligently media and on TeachThemDiligently365.com.

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