High School Planning Tips for Teens

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The high school years are the prime time to ensure that your homeschooled teens have learned effective time management skills and are taking responsibility for their schoolwork and schedule (if you haven’t already).

These planning tips for teens may give you some ideas on what to expect from your teens and how to help them to practice the skills.

Learn to plan out schoolwork each week.

This statement will probably come as a huge shock to you, but sometimes the way teens prefer to schedule their schoolwork is the polar opposite of how you’d do it. {gasp} You’re probably still trying to recover from the shock of those works, but I’m going to keep going.

See, I’m a do a little bit every day kind of girl. When the kids were younger, I did like to alternate history and science, doing each two days per week. But Josh? Now that he’s doing his planning, he’d prefer to do all of his history assignments one day and all of his science another. It makes for some long days those two days, but it works for him.

planning tips for homeschooling high school

He does other subjects, like math, reading, and English a little every day. And, of course, he spends quite a bit of time on his music several days a week.

It may drive you batty, but as long as your teens are getting their work completed and understanding it, and it doesn’t negatively impact other aspects of your school day, let them plan out their schoolwork each week in the way that makes the most sense to them. It doesn’t matter if that’s a little each day or loop or block scheduling.

Just be sure to hold them accountable for completing their work by having a daily or weekly meeting with them and checking their work.

Learn to break down assignments to meet project deadlines.

Whether students go into the workforce or to college after graduation, it’s imperative that they learn how to pace themselves to effectively meet deadlines. It doesn’t matter if it’s a boss assigning a project or a college professor passing out a syllabus, there are going to be people expecting your teen to know how to work well on his own and manage his time effectively.

Help your kids learn to break down their weekly (or quarterly or whatever) assignments into reasonable daily (or weekly) goals. For example, I’ve taught my kids to figure out their daily reading assignments by diving the total pages to be read by the number of days available to read.

We like to plan for a catch-up day each week, so if they have six weeks to complete a book, they’ll divide the total pages by 24 to come up with the number of pages to read each day. Alternately, they sometimes prefer to figure out how many chapters to read each day since that’s sometimes a bit easier to keep up with.

For my personal planning, I like to give myself at least a week’s notice before a project is due. I have even been known to lie to myself in my planner by listing a deadline as a few days before the true deadline. Hey, you’ve got to do what works, right?

I try to teach my kids to do the same. If they’re working on a project, it’s a good idea for students to give themselves deadlines for completion of different stages, so that they’re not up all night slapping something together before the due date.

For example, they might give themselves a deadline for researching the project, another for writing a rough draft (or sketch or whatever), and a final deadline for the final draft or completed project.

Plan for graduation/post-graduation.

Help your teens figure out their goals and the steps necessary to meet them. Think of yourself as their guidance counselor. Help them research to see what the expectations are in your state for graduation and their post-graduation plans.

If they’re going to college, make sure you both understand the high school course requirements for the college they plan to attend. Devise a plan to meet those requirements. If they’re going into the workforce and have a specific career in mind, help them figure out how to customize their high school years to prepare for that.

Teach your teen to keep track of his classes, grades and credit hours each to be sure that he’s on track to complete the courses and hours needed to meet his goals.

Practice good record-keeping.

High school is a great time to begin teaching students the importance of good record-keeping skills. Teach your high school student to:

Keep track of reading lists. If your student is planning to attend college, he should keep track of the books he’s read. From Live Declared:

The reading list is simple. It should include a lot of classic literature and great novels. Just include the name of the book, the author, the date you read the book, and a brief description. If a book impacted you in a big way, share more about it. Write about how the book impacted you, a mini book report. You don’t need to do that for every book, just your favorites. Try to read a little from a variety of subjects and genres.”
student planners

Track volunteer hours. Again, this is very helpful for college-bound students and can be very simple. Your student can keep a list of where she volunteered, the contact person, the type of work, the date, and the number of hours she volunteered.

homeschool student planners

List course descriptions. You’ll probably be keeping a list of course descriptions yourself, but it’s a good idea for your student to get in the habit of jotting them down, too. That way, between the two of you, it’s less likely that you’ll overlook something.

Some students may find planning and organizing more difficult than others. I can’t stress this enough: it’s okay to come alongside to guide your older students and hold them accountable. It is all part of the learning and maturing process of becoming an adult. Don’t expect all teens to be able to sit down and do their planning without some guidance.

I love the Plan in Place planners for homeschool teachers and students. We’ve been using them for about a year now to help my kids to take over their scheduling and planning.

My favorite part is that the planners are completely customizable. The parts that come standard cover the things that homeschoolers need. When you order, you can customize the weekly pages to reflect the classes that your students are taking. And, you can create a personalized to-do and planning section.

For the teacher planner, you can even use the weekly pages to list “mom stuff” like a to-do list, cleaning list, or errands instead of school stuff. I like to use mine for school stuff, though. It helps me keep track of what everyone is supposed to be doing.

You can check out my review of A Plan in Place student planners and my review of A Plan in Place teacher planners. All the images in this article are from their high school planner.


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Kris Bales is a newly-retired homeschool mom and the quirky, Christ-following, painfully honest founder (and former owner) of Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers. She has a pretty serious addiction to sweet tea and Words with Friends. Kris and her husband of over 30 years are parents to three amazing homeschool grads. They share their home with three dogs, two cats, a ball python, a bearded dragon, and seven birds.

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  1. Thank you Kris for continuing your blog into the high school years. So many people stop once their kids get older and that leaves less information for those continuing on with homeschooling. My own family isn’t there yet, but I’m thinking ahead — and feeling appreciative of your efforts as I do so.

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