Homeschool Teens and Summer Vacation

A Production of the Ultimate Homeschool Podcast Network.

Unless you homeschool year-round, your teens probably look forward to summer vacation! And so do we as homeschool parents. But teens who plan to attend college and win scholarships, need to keep in mind that they will often be asked on applications how they spent their summers during high school.

homeschool teens and summer vacation

What summer vacation should NOT become

Teens do NOT have to settle for a miserable summer. They need time off to have fun and relax. They do not need to cram their summer full of activities and classes they think will impression admissions counselors. Summer should not be a time to add to all the stress teens may already be feeling about getting into college.

How teens can use summer productively and still have fun

If teens spend time intentionally planning their summer, they can have an enjoyable 3 months and still have plenty to write about on college and scholarship applications. Students should consider what they enjoy doing and then come up with ideas on how to keep what they enjoy about the activity, but add another layer that will …

Some examples would be for someone who enjoys reading, to start a book club. Enjoy writing? Write a novel. A teen who loves playing computer games could learn how to create them. I know a number of teens who love a particular sport who are helping coach teams or acting as referees. This could be a paid or volunteer position.

Of course, getting a job shows that a student is prepared to work, and is capable of holding down a job. If they do it well, their boss could write them recommendation letters in the future. And jobs provide money plus teach so many skills so working during the summer is something to consider.

Another idea is for teens to take their passions and turn them into a business. This could be as simple as starting a blog, podcast, or Youtube channel about it and making money from affiliate sales and advertising, to creating a product or service around what they are interested in. One teen I know who loved ballet, decorated old ballet pointe shoes and sold them on Etsy. One of my sons built websites for other people. There are so many possibilities. Even if the business idea fails, the teen will have learned valuable lessons.

All high schoolers, homeschoolers too, are usually so busy during the school semester there isn’t time to try out new hobbies. Summer is the perfect time for that! Learn to play a musical instrument, take up pottery, macrame, calligraphy, whittling – it doesn’t matter what! Trying something new shows that you are open to learning and new experiences.

Even going away on vacation can be a valuable activity as well as enjoyable – get your teen to help plan the vacation. Perhaps they can research where to stay and the cheapest place to pick up gas on the way there. Give them a budget and let them plan activities at your destination. This has the added benefit of taking some of the preparation from the parents! My parents always involved us kids, and my husband and I have done the same with our children. It’s a great way to teach real-life skills

Documenting the vacation through a blog, photos, or video is another idea. Perhaps sign your child up for a Photography, Photoshop, or Video-editing class and let them practice their skills during and after your vacation.

A fun way for teens to start thinking about what college they might want to attend, how they will pay for it, and if they have the skills necessary to succeed at college, is to participate in FundFunda Academy’s annual summer High School Challenge for homeschoolers. Students have the whole of June and July to complete a number of challenges related to college prep that will earn them Target and Amazon gift cards – and the overall winner gets $150!

There are so many ways teens can have a fantastic summer AND have plenty of interesting activities to mention on applications. For more ideas take a look at my post on 101 Things for Teens to do in Summer.

Written by Meryl van der Merwe, host of the Homeschooling with Technology podcast.