Sometimes our homeschooled teen startles us by disagreeing about something we think is fundamental, or doing something that we're not sure we can support. Try not to freak out. Hear a veteran homeschool mom's positive take on this somewhat disconcerting occurence.
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Episode 70: When Your Teen Disagrees with You
Hi, this is Ann Karako from notthathardtohomeschool.com. You're listening to Episode 70 of the, It's Not That Hard to Homeschool High School podcast.
Welcome to another episode of, It's Not That Hard to Homeschool High School podcast, the podcast for real people so that you can confidently, competently, and yes, even contentedly provide the high school education that is best for your teen and your family. I'm your host Ann Karako from notthathardtohomeschool.com.
Ann: Welcome back to another episode of the podcast. If you're a regular listener, I need to start off with an apology right away. I just need to tell you that I am sorry that I missed the last episode in November. I do try to publish a new episode on the first and third Fridays of the month; that's about all I can handle — but the third Friday in November I missed altogether because I was sick with that virus that's been going around. [chuckles] I do need to apologize for that and hope that you can forgive me; I know you all understand.
Then I had a nice long high holiday break. I was wanting to be back possibly the first Friday in January, but I decided to take a little bit of extra time to think through how I want this year to go on the podcast, and be very ready rather than only somewhat ready. That's what I've attempted to do. I'm ready now for a brand-new year.
A couple things are new in addition to the year. [chuckles] There is a new website. Okay, the website is still the same. There's a new name on the website — instead of being Annie & Everything, it is now, It's Not That Hard to Homeschool. Which seemed to make better sense, considering that my Facebook groups are, It's Not That Hard to Homeschool High School, and It's Not That Hard to Homeschool K-8, and this podcast's name is It's Not That Hard to Homeschool High School. So I decided to change it from Annie & Everything which really doesn't talk about what I'm about, to, It's Not That Hard to Homeschool. So you can find my website at notthathardtohomeschool.com. Whenever you want to find a podcast episode there is a menu bar at the top, and just click on podcast and all the episodes will appear for you.
Another new thing I have is a new microphone, which I'm super excited about. I think it will have less problems than the old one, which was a very small portable little thing that my son had given me several years ago as a Christmas gift. This new microphone is one that was recommended by a fellow podcaster. I can tell already that it sounds better. [chuckles] That's pretty exciting.
The last thing that's going to be new is I'm hoping to have a new format for the podcast this year. Instead of being so nuts and boltsy and how-to-y, I'd like to just share from my heart a little bit more from my own experience, just giving the advice of the veteran homeschool mom. Along with that, I'd like episodes to be a little bit shorter than they've been in the past. We did get up to around 30 plus minutes and that's a lot of your time to expect. I'd like to make sure that I get the episodes a little bit shorter, more like 15, 20 minutes on the outside.
I just wanted to give you a roundup of where I've been, where I'm at, and what we have to look forward to. Now let's get into a topic for today. I tried to pick something that wouldn't take super long so that we can still maintain that 15 to 20 minutes that I have been hoping for. I actually wrote an outline of something that was looking like it was going to go a lot longer. I'm going to save that for the next episode.
When Your Teen Disagrees with You
What should we talk about today? Today I'd like to give you just some overall encouragement about the idea that your teen is starting to not agree with you [chuckles] all the time. There are certain topics that your teen is saying, “Ah, I don't get that, I don't understand that, and I don't agree with it.” There are certain ways your teen is behaving that you're like, “That is not how I trained you to behave. Where did that come from?” Sometimes it's positive. Sometimes it's negative, but it's like, whoa, that's different, and it's not necessarily in agreement with how I would like you to behave. Sometimes that can be a little disconcerting.
Remember these teens are becoming their own individuals, and they are stretching their wings as far as having their own opinions and choosing their values and their behaviors. Sometimes the pendulum on that can swing a little bit far in a direction that you're not happy with. Try to remember that that is partially that they are just exploring and they have to figure out how far is too far and then come back to something that they can feel more comfortable with and that you probably will feel more comfortable with too.
By the same token, they are becoming individuals now. That means that they are not always going to agree with you about everything. It might not be as obvious in the high school years as it becomes perhaps in the young adult years, especially as they go off to college. Now they are getting input from their peers a lot more than they used to as homeschoolers. They are also getting input from their professors, which you were their teacher during the homeschool years for the most part, so they didn't have a lot of outside influence during those years and that was great.
That's what you wanted. Totally fine, but now, as young adults, they might be getting a lot more outside influence and they might be enjoying it. They might be agreeing with it, even when it disagrees with you, and this can be hard to swallow, but it can start while they're still with you in your home school. I feel like it's something that's good to talk about, so let's do that today.
If you received my newsletter, then know that I sent out an email about this very subject a couple of weeks ago. It is near and dear to my heart. It actually comes up in my life a lot because my kids don't agree with me about everything that I raised them to believe. I do feel like I speak from experience on this point, but also it's a great, just “let's get the year started off in a good overall perspective” type of topic.
Hey, I need to jump in here really quick and say that this episode is sponsored by CTCMath. Teaching math, to your kids can be a dreaded task and so is finding the right
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Homeschooling raises independent thinkers
Remember, we're not trying to make carbon copies of ourselves. Actually, homeschooling is an exercise in independent thinking, isn't it? That's what's happening, is your teen is learning how to think independently. This is a good thing, actually. Homeschooling, as we know, is something where we are bucking the system. We are not sending our kid to public school because we don't want them to be part of that system for whatever reason, it doesn't matter, but we're bucking the system. Why should it surprise us when our kids buck our own system?
We're doing that by homeschooling. And through the education we've been giving them, we are presenting them alternative viewpoints than what they might get in the public school, conformist education, if you will. Why do we think that they have to conform to us? Not only are we giving them just an overall example of independent thinking, thinking that goes against the “norm” by homeschooling them in the first place, but then a lot of the content that we tend to use as homeschooling high schoolers is content that is also different than they might receive in a public school setting.
Whether it's a different historical viewpoint, or if we have a certain spiritual outlook, that might be how we are presenting the education. There are any number of ways that they might be receiving information that is not mainstream, if you will. Then it shouldn't surprise us if they begin to think differently than we do about things.
This actually means you have been successful homeschooling high school. This is not a negative blot at all; this does not mean oh, my goodness, my kid thinks differently than me, what did I do wrong? Where did I go wrong? That's not it at all. Instead, realize that you have created a human being who is thinking through things for themselves. They're not just taking the party line or the parent line, if you will; they are thinking things through for themselves and reaching their own conclusions, and isn't that one of the main goals of homeschooling our kids all the way through high school?
It certainly was for us, and so when I am talking with my adult children and they say something that startles me or that I didn't realize they thought that way because maybe it's completely opposite of the way I think about something, I do try to remember that we raised them to be independent thinkers and they're just exercising that right now. It can even be about homeschooling itself.
I have had one kid tell me that she does not intend to homeschool her children. I've had another kid thank me for homeschooling them all the way through high school. Each kid is going to be different but does the fact that one of them doesn't want to homeschool her children, does that mean I failed as a homeschooler, that I didn't make this such a wonderful wonderful thing that it's definitely something that she wants to pass on to her children? I'm not going to own that to a large extent or feel guilty or bad.
All the time we were doing the best we could, with the information that we had, in the circumstances that we were in. Sometimes that meant that the homeschool didn't look as wonderful as we had hoped it would, and I think that would be true for anybody. Doesn't mean homeschooling was bad or wrong, but it does mean that this child is thinking she wants to go a different route. That is okay, that is okay with me. It will be her chance to make that decision with her husband and her family when she has her own children.
I've always said every family needs to make the decision about whether to homeschool or not to homeschool for themselves based on their own convictions, their own circumstances. Why would I revoke that right for my own child? I'm not going to; she and her husband will have to decide for themselves and it's okay if they decide not to homeschool, doesn't say anything negative about my own homeschool or the homeschool that she grew up in. In fact, I view this actually as a positive testimonial.
When your kid feels confident enough to share an opposing viewpoint with you, they're confident in the relationship with you, that's huge. That is huge. My goal was always relationship over academics always. The fact that my adult children and I have vital relationships where they feel confident to share with me what's going on even if it opposes what I think, that's got to be a positive testimonial, not a negative one.
As you are homeschooling now, as your teen begins to express some of these things, you know what, it's probably best not to express shock and awe or [chuckles] remorse or frustration, none of that stuff. First of all, some of that just drives them more to try to shock you even more; we don't want that. Just dialogue with them, respect their opinions. Remember that this means that they are testing the waters, not only testing the waters of different ideologies perhaps or different thought patterns but also testing the waters of the relationship.
Do you want them to keep coming to you with things that they're thinking? And if you do, then let's not overreact to some of these things that they might say or do. You can certainly say, “I disagree with you on that,” but you don't have to turn it into a big issue where there's anger and frustration and yelling and discipline, right? [chuckles]
Obviously, it depends on the issue, and it also depends on how your kid is approaching you. If they're being disrespectful, then that's a separate issue that you can deal with and that is, as I said, separate from the content of what they're saying, so keep that in mind.
What are we always wanting? We're wanting a good relationship, we're wanting to build bridges with our teen, so this is another area, another aspect, another opportunity to do that. When they startle you by expressing an opposing opinion or by doing something that you are not sure that you're on board with [chuckles], try to remember that you have an opportunity here to either build bridges or burn them [chuckles], and let's choose to build them.
You know what, as I'm listening to this recording and editing it, I'm realizing I need to put a caveat in here. I am not talking about huge, huge issues like drugs or getting drunk, or obvious breaking of house rules or safety or laws. I'm not talking about those sorts of things, okay? Those are going to be dealt with completely in a different way than I'm talking about here. Although even with something like that, it still pays to keep one's cool and dialogue and build bridges rather than burn them.
Hopefully, that's enough for you to go on this week. [chuckles] Let me know if you have anything in particular that you would like me to speak on during these podcast episodes. Don't forget to go to the show notes on the notthathardtohomeschool.com website, click on Podcast on the top menu. Look for episode number 70, and there will be links to all sorts of related information to help you with this topic. Also, feel free to share the podcast with your friends, and don't hesitate to leave a review on the platform that you're listening on. Thanks so much for being here. Remember, it's not always easy to homeschool high school but it doesn't have to be that hard. I'll see you next time.
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