Realistic Expectations for Homeschooling High School

This week on Homeschool Highschool Podcast: Realistic Expectations for Homeschooling High School.

Realistic Expectations for Homeschooling High School

Realistic Expectations for Homeschooling High School

You need to have the perfect homeschool high school so that your teens grow up to be perfect, right? NOT! There is no such thing as perfection in any homeschool journeys, so let’s be realistic. You have real teens and your real teens have real parents! So we need to be realistic about our expectations.

However, we are not saying “let’s be realistic” means that you should not have dreams or ideals for your homeschool. Not at all! That is because we know that God wired us to have dreams and passions for what our homeschools should become. If God made us to dream, He created us to have expectations!

On the other hand, we do need to set some realistic expectations about homeschooling high school, in terms of:

  • Counting the cost
  • Preparing well
  • Making the big commitment to homeschool high school well

Not only that, our teens need to find and develop their interests and dreams while they learn to set realistic expectations about what it takes to bring those dreams to life.

One of our jobs as homeschool moms (or homeschool dads) is to help our young adults learn to create realistic expectations, in terms of:

  • Thinking with maturity
  • Getting input from people of wisdom

Let’s start with some basic things areas that teens need to set realistic expectations in order to work on their dreams

High schoolers, like their parents, are real people who are spirit, soul and body. So their expectations need to encompass all of those areas.

Realistic Expectations Considering Health

What are your teens unique physical abilities, strengths or challenges? For instance, some teens have illnesses or disabilities that make education difficult. (That is why a number of teens start homeschooling.) Sometimes, teens must adjust their dreams for their future to respect their physical challenges.

Kym gives the example of a teen that had such challenges with chronic health issues, that she had to give up her dreams of a college graduate school education that required math. After adjusting her dreams and allowing herself grace and time, she found a college major that would fit her abilities. Now that teen is and adult and is doing well in her realistic, but happy, career.

Kym suggests helping teens say,

At this point, at this moment, what do we need to do to get through or adjust…this lesson or this goal or this need?

This really means:

  • You can help your homeschool high schoolers develop self-awareness.
  • Also you can teach them respect their dreams while also respect the fact that at the present, they can only do what they can do.
  • Then help them concentrate more effort on what they CAN do at the moment.
  • Next make peacefully adjustments, for instance, at the moment, they may not have the strength to do something right now but there may be some things they can accomplish well.

Here is a tip: Bring a mentor in to help guide a discouraged teen who is struggling with health issues. Sometimes mentors can say the same thing that parents do to guide or encourage a teen, but teens actually hear it from the mentor. (Ever noticed that?)

Also, sometimes a teen’s health struggles might include depression, anxiety or other mental health issues. If so, counseling is a good choice. (Vicki knows, that is what she does for a living.)

Realistic Expectations Considering Social Situations

Sometimes homeschool high schoolers have socially unrealistic expectations. They think they can do everything:

  • Sing in choirs
  • Have a job
  • Play a sport
  • Get involved science and history competitions
  • Top academics
  • Time with friends

One thing that can help these teens is help them do a time audit.

(Instructions for a time audit here.) After a two-week time audit, sit down with them and look at their time audit. Ask the question:

Is this how you want your time audit “pie chart” to look? What can you realistically fit into your life and still keep that time management in a healthy place?

You can also teach them that saying “Yes” to one thing, means saying “NO” so something else.

Teach teens that saying "Yes" to one thing, means saying "NO" so something else.

Note for parents who might slip into “heavy equipment parenting“:

We have also found that some parents have unrealistic expectations about how much their teens can actually do. They need to take a breath and notice that their teens can only do so much and remain healthy- spirit, soul and body.

Not only that, sometimes parents need to tell the “do-everything” teens that they need creativity or boundaries to actually make the transportation or financial resources happen for their dreams. This is especially pertinent if you are homeschooling teens and youngers. In this case, ask your teen to think about what they could do to make their activities happen (or not).

Sabrina gives the story about a teen who wanted to be a filmmaker. This young man is now a young adult. He has found he has to have a day job to support him while he actively works towards his dream. That is realistic for him.

Realistic Expectations for Academics After High School

Vicki served as academic advisor in their local umbrella school for many years. She sometimes worked with young teens who had an academic dream that was unrealistic based on their academic abilities or energy. For instance, one young teen talked about becoming a surgeon. However, this teen did not enjoy math, chemistry or long hours of study.

Kym talked about helping teens begin with the end in mind. Sit down with them with a job and education-level description from CareerOneStop.org. Then write out:

  • the kinds of college
  • numbers of years of college
  • the academic work during college
  • the SATs or ACTs needed for college
  • the course levels and extracurriculars needed in high school.

Sometimes teens simply need to blunder into the future and find out in person what they can and cannot do. Parents can be there to encourage them to fail forward, think with a growth mindset and be open gracefully to different futures when the time comes.

In other words, give teens an arena for safe failure! Teach them the power of “Yet”! (I can’t do that, yet but I can do this other thing.) Those are the roots of growth mindset and failing forward.

Help your teen know that they are not a failure if they experience a failure. Also, remember you are not a failure if your teen experiences a failure. Remember:

A mom’s mind plans her way but God directs her path!

So, realistic expectations does not mean raining on your teens’ parades. Teens need some parades and some sunny skies full of hope and encouragement. However, sometimes we need to be there with umbrellas.

Join Sabrina, Vicki and Kym for realistic encouragement about realistic expectations. Share your stories in our 7SistersHomeschool Facebook group!

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