Thursday, February 25, 2016

Addressing The Social Needs of Homeschooling Teens

I have been known to say all children should be homeschooled during the middle school years. I mean that. So many adolescent hormones running wild in one place is unnatural. The young teen years are about finding who you are and your place in the world. Your body betrays you. You hyperfocus on yourself, and so you think everyone else is just as focused on you. I think homeschooling would give this age group space to breathe and relax and figure out what they want out of life.

Not that it's easy to be the one home with the teenager. Homeschooled teens seem to be rare birds that don't often flock together. Some are beginning to do things out in the world. They start businesses or find mentors in the community. Some focus on studies and plan for college.

I've gone through this twice already. As children reach their teens, they begin to disappear from the homeschooling group. My oldest managed to hold on to her closest friends until high school, then they both went to school.  She had other friends in our groups, but none as close. Then she got a job at the library and was just as busy. 

My son lost one friend to a cross country move, another to the ballet, and his best friend to studies and volunteer work.

It was with our son that I realized how essential computers were. He was more adept with the computer and better able to keep in touch with his best friend through online games they played together. He also craved the social interaction more than his big sister. Gaming and online social networks filled a need.

As the homeschooling parent, you do your best to fill their social needs. After all, everybody asks about socialization. But there comes a point where you can't keep arranging playdates for them. All you can do is give them opportunities to meet friends, whether those opportunities are in groups, classes or online. 

Now I am dealing with my third teenager, and it is no easier the third time around. Her biggest loss was her sister leaving for college. She deals with that by Skyping and chatting with her sister online. She also has social anxiety, so it's hard to get her to go to events unless she knows exactly how it will go. She had a couple of bad experiences with activities in the past where she's gotten embarrassed by teachers. I am learning to help her as I go and hoping I'm up to the challenge. All this while I'm dealing with my own perimenopausal hormonal imbalance. Look at that, I didn't avoid the clash of the hormones after all.

1 comment:

Inner Elder said...

Thank you for addressing this issue so honestly. Seeing how well M. and C. did adjusting to college, I would say that everyone gets thru the terrible teens in their unique way. It may be especially hard for us shy types but who knows? Love, Mom

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