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The terrible truth about homeschooling teenagers...

(today's post is part of the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum Bloghop
Homeschooling (and parenting!) Gifted/2e Kids into their Teens and beyond)

Dah dah dah.....the dreaded teenage years!

Be afraid, very afraid, because your Facebook feed is full of doom and gloom:




 

Teens (and increasingly, tweens) have attitude, they grunt, they hate their parents, they are discovering "who they are" (good luck with that by the way). Parents of young kids are terrified of the teen years - not assisted by the news and media portrayal of them as a generally negative thing that must be endured by all.

Add in gifted. Add in some kind of weirdo twice-exceptionality. Add in homeschooling. Enough to scare the willies out of anyone!

And yes, they do have their moments of gruntiness, but I am here to tell you, life with teens, particularly gifted, homeschooled teens isn't all bad.

Here is my truth about homeschooling and parenting gifted teenagers:

  • They sleep. You know when you have babies and toddlers (gifted as it turns out) and they NEVER sleep and you feel like slitting your wrists because you can NEVER imagine it getting better? Well, it gets better. They sleep. All night. Well, starting at midnight, but they are not in their rooms crying until then - no, they are reading (I wish), watching YouTube or listening to music (I wish). And they sleep all night and half the morning too, given half the chance. Homeschooling lets us take advantage of those altered hormones, because we don't have to have them up and dressed and semi-functioning to start school at 8:30am (thank goodness). 

  • They have a great sense of humour. When things do get a little tense, you can lighten the atmosphere with a bit of joke, some sarcasm (who me?) or a quip and they get it. I love my kids' sense of humour - especially my son's. He cracks me up with his witty observations on life and his laugh is joyful (especially because he's actually laughing - happy days, people!).

  • Contrary to popular belief, you can TALK to them. Yanno, really talk. And they understand stuff. We can have discussions about history, politics and the whether Masterchef or My Kitchen Rules is better. OK, so they decide the best time to have a deep and meaningful is usually at 11pm when you're just about to drop off your perch, but hey, I figure it's better than grunting. 


  • The schoolwork is so much more interesting! I read some Facebook groups and if I see one more post about teaching phonics and adding single digits I think I will stab my eyeballs out with a knitting needle. Quadratic equations and European imperialism are where it's at, baby!!!

  • They can help out more around the house. They might not like it, but who does? Because they are tall now, they can reach the clothes on the line. They can push the vacuum. They can even start help cooking dinner (hey, a mum can dream, can't she?). And I don't like to think of it as slavery, rather than I am preparing them to go out into the big wide world as functioning young adults (still dreaming!).

  • I've saved the best until last: it gets EASIER. For those parents of gifted/2e kids out there who maybe can't share how freaking hard it is with the people around them, please know that I know. There are days when you wonder if boarding school might not be a better idea. What with the emotional ups and downs, the sensitivities, the over-excitabilities, the executive functioning disorderlies - a Bex and a good lie down never sounded so good. But I'm here to let you know, that it gets easier. Believe or not, the moods actually even out in the teen years. Maybe it's because we homeschool, but things have gotten calmer, more sane and (dare I say it?) more mature around here since the hormones kicked in! Not perfect, mind you (but whose household is?), but easier. And that's gotta be the best news ever, yes?


So, there's my thoughts on teens. It'll probably all turn pear-shaped now I've declared it to be OK. So go check out the other posts in the bloghop by clicking on the pic:



Do you have teens/tweens? Coping OK?
If your kids are little(er), are you dreading the teen years?
What's your hot tip for dealing with teenage angst?


Comments

  1. I've always felt like a bit of an outsider in the 2e/ASC(ondition) circles because my two children, particularly my son who is EG/2e, are pretty easy. My son is turning ten this year and there were behaviour/social challenges when he was little but once he turned seven they all stopped. I used to go to those parent support groups but I was the only homeschooler and got sick of people saying to me "oh it must be so HARD homeschooling a child like that'. And I'd think ummm, what do you mean, 'like that'? I objected to people assuming he was a certain way behaviour wise, because their own children were experiencing challenges and difficulties. Far too many people look at a label/diagnosis and forget the child has a personality too. I'm happy to read your post because people do need to see that as you say, it's not all that bad. I ended up leaving groups because it seemed like people thought I had no right to be there, because we weren't experiencing difficulties, anger issues, etc. And sure, when my kids are teens we might be in for a crazy ride with lots of tears (from me!) but I'm also very aware of what my children are like at heart and we'll continue to provide them with fun and laughter (at the expense of parents, usually) and make their mental health the priority. I absolutely believe home ed is such a key component of good mental health in our case, backed up by supportive specialists/medical professionals we see. Thanks for writing this, people definitely need to know things can and do get better. Although obviously I don't have a teen yet, I certainly experienced the "does it get better?" when my son was little!

    Looking at my response here, it's the first time I've spoken about having 2e kids that, at this point in time, are really easy kids. I've always felt I had to censor myself because so many people around me were talking about how hard it is and I always felt like I couldn't say "please don't assume it's the same for me, because it isn't". I'm reminded of a time I went to a support meeting when my son was four, another mum snorted at me and said "well at least your son is highly verbal". I got a lesson then and there about *not* being able to talk about our experience. Even now people don't believe me when I say we have no behaviour or difficult anxiety issues. That's not to say it won't change at any point in the future, but I am relieved to read a post like yours where people can see it's not all anxiety/difficulty/tearing hair out all the time :D

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    1. Whoops when I say "backed up by supportive specialists/medical professionals we see" I mean those people support home ed-- we don't see those people in a support capacity (we only see a speech therapist for my daughter) but our paediatrican and a counsellor we know are fully supportive of home ed and encourage others to homeschool.

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    2. I get what you say - I think a lot of online groups form because people ARE having issues - they need the support and someone else who gets the difficulties. Maybe that's why I don't spend as much time on them - homeschooling and the kids have gotten easier and I don't have as many questions as I used to.

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  2. Kids all ages and stages here and totally agree with everything you've said. Oh hooray for maturity, I LOVE maturity and truthfully I love journeying with them to there. Teens are fascinating, really they are.

    "The schoolwork is so much more interesting! I read some Facebook groups and if I see one more post about teaching phonics and adding single digits I think I will stab my eyeballs out with a knitting needle. Quadratic equations and European imperialism are where it's at, baby!!!"

    Well had to laugh and then pop out my eyeballs at this. I've been teaching kids to read for 16yrs, and somedays I want to poke out my eyeballs indeed, still have at least another 6 years of reading instruction to go

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    1. Maturity is the goal, don't you think? 6 more years of reading instruction???? You deserve a medal, Erin - you're a better woman than I am!!!!

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  3. That was cheering! Thank you, Ingi!

    Actually the years that scare me the most are the ones between 18 and 22, when they are technically adults, but before the decision-making area of the brain is fully formed. Mini adults, who in reality are total dumbasses.

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    1. Lalalalala - I don't want to think about it too much.....

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  4. Love your positive attitude! Your kids are lucky to have you as their educator and parent.

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    1. Thanks Wendy - I'll remind them of that when they are having a whinge about me!

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  5. A question for you Ingrid, how do you police the You Tube now that they're big enough to take it to their rooms? Or do you not worry now they're big. Some of the stuff on there is scary-horrible. Lovely post, I've got something to look forward to then! 3 years to go. The mind numbing tediom of primary education did my head in too, so we skipped straight to the good stuff ;)

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    1. Good question, Alyson! The honest answer is I don't, really. We could put stops on the router, but yanno, I have to trust them. They are big(ish) now - so they will be curious, but they are also the sort of kids who will go "lalalala - I don't want to know that yet". I check in with them - they could be lying, but everytime I've sneaked a peak, they've been watching anime (not the awful type).

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    2. I think you are giving them too much credit and too much responsibility. I would not have thought it but then found my 10 year old watching porn videos. Even after we had a talk and so on I would find porn sites in the history if he was allowed online unsupervised. Yes, they are curious but there is a lot of stuff out there that they are not ready to deal with and don't have the maturity or wisdom to avoid. That's why they have adults in their lives IMO.

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  6. I find that I can have really great, down-to-earth conversations with gifted teens as well. It's the best part, for me. Thank you for sharing your positive perspective and the photos are wonderful!

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    1. Thanks Jade! I think photos bring a certain "realness" to the posts - the kids are OK with them, so far! I love our conversations - they make me a very proud mum :-)

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  7. A lovely post, Ingrid - thank you!

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  8. Homeschooling my girls when they are teens doesn't bother me. I think they'd be more anxious, stressed and bitchy in a school environment. When they have "bad days" I simply switch the routine, even if it is to take them on a spontaneous "nature" walk ... in a mall, with a credit card ... lol

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    1. Absolutely! I'm sure the fact they are homeschooled is one of the reasons they are great teens. Maybe they would be OK as well, if in school, but it does make some aspects of life easier. LOL about the mall - my daughter is not into fashion AT ALL (you can tell from the hats, can't you), so I'm also the fashion police so she isn't a complete dag.

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  9. Ah, hats! I know everything is okay when i see hats.

    I agree with everything you say, especially that, for me at least, things are getting easier now that we can discuss and reason.

    And like you say, there's always boarding school!

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  10. PRAYING it gets easier. If it gets harder I don't know what I'll do. (And they really do wake up at some point? Asks the mom whose child is still snoring at almost 10 am)

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    1. At some point - I have been known to wake my son at midday...

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  11. Jumping on the "I love this!" bandwagon. Thank you! Mine are only (nearly) 9 and 10 but already I am LOVING the work (and the audiobooks) getting more interesting. (& I'm quite enjoying that they're still up for some hands-on stuff which gives me an excuse for chocolate-tasting projects and what have you.)
    I'm only recently starting to notice quite how many phonics blog posts out there, which made me realise for quite how efficiently my "dyslexic?" son has taught himself to read. (Once he got me and my multi-sensory shennanigans out of the way and plugged himself into his laptop.)
    Please keep writing, Ingi!

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    1. Jump away Lucinda! I promise not to write phonics posts, ok?

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  12. Yes to more interesting conversations!! I love these teen years. I am so with you on the phonics posts. :)

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