When your teenage homeschool students get closer to graduation, there is an inevitable intersection between your homeschool practices and their independence.

For many of us, striking a balance between junior high and graduation can be tricky. My children are growing older, and all but two have graduated and are enjoying their own independence as young adults.

The Fourth of July holiday serves as a reminder of how to embrace your high school students’ independence as they move toward graduation.

Leading up to July 4, my boys have discussed things like fireworks, cookouts, swimming and Independence Day. And, we anticipate the Fourth because it means extended family gathering together to enjoy family fun!

When you pause to reflect on the importance of our country’s independence, consider how you can play a role in your teenagers’ desire for independence. Here are three ways you can help your high school students embrace independence while moving toward graduation.

1. Have Your Teenage Homeschool Students Set a Schedule

The path to independence includes involving your students in planning the schedule for the next school year. This helps them take ownership of the many necessary details required to plan a homeschool year.

The process of deciding on coursework and then scheduling group classes is usually completed by late summer, so that you have time to receive the course materials before fall. This schedule also allows you to involve your students in the decision-making process during their summer break.

By allowing your students to embrace the responsibility of their own schedule, you will help them form good habits of making and meeting deadlines!

2. Help Your Students Learn to Communicate

Communication is a powerful skill. In order to gain independence, a student must learn to accurately and efficiently communicate. He or she must be able to clearly discuss a challenge or need and present a solution.

Teaching your child to communicate effectively is not easy in a society that encourages social relationships in a virtual world.

So, a practical way to develop communication skills is to require your students to present a solution when discussing a negative situation. In other words, don’t just complain about something; also have a solution for the situation. This encourages your students to think critically and verbalize possible alternatives.

3. Have Your Students Experience Natural Consequences

Nothing teaches a “lesson” quite like natural consequences. Allowing your teen to experience the results of his or her actions—or lack of action—will prepare them for the reality of living independently in the world.

As parents, we desire a path of happiness and calm waters for our children. But, it is also important to allow your students to experience disappointment, challenges and success while under your guidance.

Here’s an important tip: schedule a regular lunch date with your teen so that when these teachable moments arise, the time together is not awkward or forced. That way, you can have productive conversations helping guide your homeschool teenager on the path to independence.

Next Steps Guiding Your Teenagers

While enjoying the fireworks, picnics, and family fun of the Fourth of July holiday, spend time celebrating the independence of your older children this summer.

If you’d like to know more about how THSC can support you in your homeschool journey, visit our Resources page at THSC.org.

Also, be sure to join us for the THSC Convention in The Woodlands, July 20-22! You can learn more about homeschool resources available to help plan the next school year, and receive much-needed encouragement as a parent of teenage homeschool students.

3 Steps Toward Independence for Your Teenage Homeschool Students