I’ve been talking a lot lately about how much I am loving this season of homeschooling some mostly-independent-learning teens. It’s true. It is an exciting season after the mom-intensive preschool and elementary years. However, I’d be remiss in my mission to encourage all homeschooling families if I didn’t tell you moms of littles that there are most definitely things I miss about homeschooling young kids.
Knowing more than them.
If you’ve ever spent much time with a teen, you know that they are clearly of the opinion that you don’t know a lot about much. Thinking you’ve got it all figured out is one of the hallmarks of being a teen.
The fact is, however, when they start learning things on their own or getting into the stuff that you haven’t thought about in 20+ years (algebra, anyone?), they may really be on to something. They really might now more than you.
When you’ve got littles, though, chances are in your favor that you have higher academic skill than them. Enjoy that.
Learning is fun!
I’m not going to lie. My teens and I do still have a lot of fun learning together. However, the days of really getting some serious learning accomplished with games like bingo, concentration, or Go Fish are no longer a weekly occurrence.
When you’re still in the phase where play is learning, you can have some serious fun. You just have to forget about the dust bunnies and the dishes in the sink for awhile.
History can be absorbed through great books and hands-on activities…
I still think that a good historical fiction and a hands-on project is the foundation for a great history lesson at any age, but in the younger years, history can be led entirely through great books. Need to learn about America’s early history? You can’t go wrong with Little House on the Prairie or American Girl books.
…and so can science!
I fondly remember the days of watching a Magic School Bus DVD and/or reading one of the books as a jumping off point for some fun science learning. And, then, there are life-size body cut-outs for learning about the human body and baking-soda-and-vinegar volcanoes or Oreo moon phases for earth science. (I’m still doing that last one the first chance I get!)
You can do nature scavenger hunts or use books like Nature in a Nutshell. You can study birds and insects and animals and reptiles. You can take field trips to the zoo, the aquarium, or a local pond. You can grow tadpoles and butterflies.
So. much. fun!
Sure, you can do a lot of those things with teens, too, but they already did all that when they were little, so it’s not as much fun, nor as relevant to what they’re currently learning.
Field trips are less complicated.
I love field trips for little kids: a guided tour of the grocery store or library, the police station, the fire station, apple orchards, farms – that’s fun, y’all, and I miss it. I’m already entertaining thoughts of doing some of this stuff again when my youngest niece is old enough. Sometimes her mom lets me have her over for play dates.
They’re not too big for fun stuff.
Night at the Museum parties. Around the World Day. Dressing up. Teens get too big for a lot of that stuff in a hurry. Honestly, there is still much they can learn from all those things, but I think it goes back to having already done them when they were little. They just don’t hold the same appeal that they used to.
And, don’t even get me started on all the preschool learning opportunities they’ve outgrown.
If you’re in the midst of those years, it can be so easy to want to fast-forward to more independence – I know. I was there. However, being now the mom of three teens, I can say that there is much truth to the saying:
The days are long, but the years are short.
Yes, it can be easier homeschooling teens, but there is so very much to be savored and enjoyed about homeschooling little ones and I’d be lying if I didn’t confess to missing those years from time to time.
What ages and stages are you currently homeschooling?