by Daniel Hopkins, teen
Being a homeschooled teenager isn’t always easy. There are many problems that can arise. Some of these may be familiar to you: “All I do is just sit at home all day—I never get out of the house,” “All my friends are at school,” and “This is really boring.” As a teenager myself, I’ve looked at how I’ve dealt with some of these problems and how they’ve worked out. Also, I’ve looked at how and why I enjoy homeschool. Hopefully some of these tips will help you.
First of all, teenagers need friends. Good friends make the difference between surviving and thriving in homeschool. In a homeschool situation, sometimes the only people you associate with are your family members. Ideally, they should be your best friends, but you also need friends outside the home. Friends make you feel accepted and comfortable, and if they’re homeschooled it’s even better because you have friends that you can relate to. Since I’m not in a public school, I’m not constantly surrounded by kids my age. I have to seek out friends on my own. One of the ways I do this is by going to homeschool activities and get-togethers. If you don’t know of any homeschool activities in your area, plan some!
Where I live, there are a whole lot of homeschoolers to be friends with and have activities with. In some other states they are more few and far between. But the homeschool movement is growing rapidly, and you’d probably be surprised how many homeschoolers there are in your area. As I help run our family business, I see many homeschooling families in the same city that don’t even know about each other. Many people think that they are all alone and maybe the only homeschooling family in their area when in fact there are other homeschooling families right in their same city.
Another important aspect of homeschool is being involved in real life, the adult world. You learn skills that will really benefit your own life. On the other hand, if you are taught something out of a book or by lecture, it’s harder to apply the principles learned to life. One of the ways I learn “life skills” is by working for our family business.
(Mom interjecting: Daniel has surpassed me in computer skills. I taught him, but now he has to bail me out of problems and is a real help! Daniel’s phone skills are great as you may have experienced if you have called our family business. Customers actually call us from England, Kuwait , Germany, etc., and he is cool and collected. I would feel nervous when a long distance call like that comes in. It also pleases me to see Daniel help our customers because he is courteous and respectful with all ages. That is pretty refreshing to see in a teenager. Daniel handles much of the money for the business, from sales in the store to making bank deposits. Well, enough bragging, I think “life skills” are pretty important!)
If you don’t have a family business, it might be fun to start one. You could even do your own personal business. Another idea is to start an apprenticeship with a professional in a trade you are particularly interested in. For example, if you’re interested in auto mechanics, you could call an auto mechanic and see if you could go maybe a couple of days a week and just help by handing him tools or do some easy jobs around the shop. Eventually, you may start making some money being an apprentice. Many apprenticeships turn into good jobs.
Service projects are another good way to get in touch with others and keep your homeschool interesting. As a family or a group of friends you could go visit a rest home, shovel snow or help clean a neighbor’s house. Service projects can be great fun and also an important learning experience.
All of these things have helped me enjoy homeschool without feeling like I’m missing out on what’s going on in public school or being bored with being home. I know that I’m a contributing, productive young man, and public school isn’t at all attractive to me now—I’m just too busy having fun in homeschool! The environment at public school is just too detrimental to my spiritual growth, and I can learn so much more at home. Again, I hope that some of these tips have helped you. Good luck homeschooling!
May I recommend: