Homeschooling Teens – Finding The Balance Between Responsibility and Reward

Homeschooling Teens - Finding The Balance Between Responsibility and Reward

If you have chosen to homeschool your struggling teen, it is important to find a balance between responsibility and reward.

This can be difficult, as the decision to homeschool may have been driven by the need to teach a stronger sense of responsibility to your child. But your teen still needs not only a division between school and home responsibilities, but also rewards for acting appropriately.

Define School From Your Teen’s Home Life

When homeschooling children, it can be easy to make the majority of the day into school time. Whether your child is doing school via an accredited online public school or you develop their curriculum, the time restraints of traditional schooling are no longer in place.

Yet children need defined boundaries. While there is more flexibility when homeschooling, having rules and boundaries when it comes to schooling can help your child be a more successful adult. One way to create those boundaries for both you and your child is to create a school schedule.

Part of school schedule for a 10th grade student may look like:

  • 7:30-8:30 am – English
  • 8:35 – 9:30 am – Math
  • 9:35 – 9:50 am – Break
  • 9:55 – 10:55 am – Science
  • 11:00 – Noon – Arts (music, art projects)

While it may be tempting to allow schooling to occur whenever as long as the work is completed done, it is important to create a schedule that clearly defines expectations.

You will also want school to be separated from home life activities as it can interfere with family time. Many parents choose homeschooling to help strengthen the families’ bonds. Having your teen doing homework when they should be participating with the family defeats part of the purpose of homeschooling.

Appropriately Rewarding Your Teen’s Good Behavior

For some parents who have turned to homeschooling their child because of bad behavior, it can be hard to remember to reward those previously misbehaving children. If the misconduct has been long-standing, you may feel a certain amount of reparations needs to happen before you give a reward for any good actions.

While you don’t need to immediately begin rewarding your teen for finally behaving, there does need to be defined expectations. Such as:

  • What merits a reward? – Maybe a week of completing chores with no prompting from you will earn your teen a reward. Or earning high marks on a test can reap a reward. Whatever you decide, make sure your teen understands what they need to do to receive a reward
  • Can a reward be lost? – Say your teen earns an A on their math test and is rewarded with going out to a movie with a friend. But then they have a fight with you over how late they can stay out with friends. You will need to decide if rewards can be lost or if a different punishment unrelated to the reward is needed.
  • Are rewards bribes? – Bribes can be effective initially when looking for results, but in the long run, they may provide fewer positive outcomes over time. Rewards should be set beforehand and be unchangeable where bribes have an element of negotiation. Consider it your teen’s practice for the workplace; consistent work yields a reward (set paycheck). A bribe is more like a sales contest where only a few workers are tempted to work toward the bribe and not for very long.

Homeschooling can yield great benefits in the form of personal and family growth as well as improved academics. But much of that depends on your ability to balance your child’s life between school and home.

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