Engaging Your Teens and Tweens With Others When You Homeschool

As a homeschooling mama with 3 kiddos, ages 13, 9, and 7, one of the challenges has been to find resources to help me engage with my teen and tweens. So much homeschooling content, activities, and groups are geared toward elementary-aged children, especially the younger ones. As they reach the 10, 11, and 12 year old ages, and beyond, it becomes even more challenging.

Many mamas struggle to figure out what to do to engage older kiddos in the tween and teen years, especially when they have littles. It feels like activities have to cater to the youngest of the group or you can’t do it at all.

But, the tween and teen years are filled with so many joys and blessings. Homeschooling during these years is extremely powerful. Your influence on your children can set them up for success not only in their career and life paths, but also in their faith walk and relationship with Jesus. Keeping them engaged may require more flexibility, and also giving them opportunities to stretch their legs of independence.

Here are some ways to keep your big kids and teens more engaged.

  1. Connect with local homeschoolers who also have a teen or tween close in age to yours. We got involved with a co-op when my oldest was 10. I felt like we needed to connect with a group with a wide range of ages of kids. I knew that if I couldn’t find this in one group, I might have to be willing to get involved with more than one if necessary to help my kids make connections with different kids. This can be accomplished through a structured co-op or a more relaxed unschooled style of meetup group.
  2. Build relationships with other moms of teens and tweens. Relationships for us mamas are as important as they are for our children. Finding even just one mom you can regularly hang out with while your kids explore forests, play video games, or go on field trips can make all the difference in the world. It may seem impossible depending on the season of life you’re in, but asking the Lord to connect you with the right people can yield powerful friendships.
  3. Schedule hangout nights at your house. If everyone pitches in a few bucks, it’s easy to get some pizza and sodas or make some easy sandwiches so the teens and tweens can hang out. Creating a space that’s safe where they can build these relationships can help them feel more connected to their homeschooling community and like they have a distinct space for them.
  4. Ask your teen or tween what they would like. Collaborating is especially important at this age. It helps tweens and teens when they can express their thoughts and have input into their learning and life journey and the kinds of activities they want to participate in. Of course, they won’t always get exactly what they want, but giving them a voice in the process is powerful. Maybe your child wants more unstructured time, and you have them in a lot of highly structured activities.
  5. Help them be entrepreneurial. Helping your tween or teen start a little business can teach them so many important life skills. From budgeting to following through on commitments, there is a lot of power in small business. Whether your teen wants to mow lawns in the neighborhood or babysit other kids, help connect him or her to people who need these services. Your support can not only help them earn some extra cash, but it can also help them gain confidence.

What are some of your questions about homeschooling teens and tweens?