Graduation is near. Are they ready for life AFTER homeschool? Take these steps to help prepare your teen for the next phase of their life.
I’ve homeschooled her for 13 years. From the ABCs to the SAT. From researching and hand-picking her curriculum to creating her transcript. I’ve been there each step of the way and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed watching her learn and grow into an amazing, brilliant, young lady.
Now it’s time for my daughter to move into the next phase of her life. A phase where I anticipate I’ll be gradually being phased out. But, questions loom in my mind.
Will she be ready?
In exactly 59 days, my baby girl will be a high school graduate. In 108 days she will leave for a summer program at the college she will attend in the fall – a college that requires more than just logging into a computer or even a drive across town. My daughter will be 1,073 miles away from home – but who’s counting?
Have I done everything I can to prepare her for this next step in her life?
Truthfully, the answer is probably no. No, I haven’t prepared my daughter for every little thing she may face in the future. Can any parent really do this?
I know we all mean well and want the absolute best for our children, but life throws curveballs that we may never ever see coming.
But, that doesn’t mean that we don’t try.
And that’s exactly what I’ve been doing. I’ve spent her senior year of high school working to prepare her for life after high school. Life after homeschool. Life after having me just a few steps down the hall, ranting about the excessive amount of time she spends on her phone!
How I’m Preparing my Teen for College, Career, & Beyond
I’ve been doing all I can think of to help ensure my daughter’s ready for college, career, and beyond. But, as I contemplate her last year of high school, three specific tactics stand out.
1) Making the Most of Teaching Moments
It’s almost like when she was a toddler. Everything is a teaching moment. No, I’m not talking about singing the cleanup song to teach her how to put her toys away – although that’s not a bad idea. Her college roommate would likely appreciate this gesture.
What I am talking about is this: when situations arise, I make a concerted effort to talk to her about it – even if it doesn’t directly concern her. We discuss how one would, could, or should have handled the situation differently. We talk about possible outcomes and consequences.
Related post: “Mama & Me” Journal – Create a notebook of memories to treasure for a lifetime by taking turns writing letters back & forth with your child! Download and print the FREE Mama & Me journal labels today!
We even joke about seemingly silly missteps, although I remind her that we all are susceptible to making bad choices. I try to turn everything – TV shows, news articles, even my own personal mistakes into teaching moments.
2) Rely on Others When Mom & Dad Won’t Do
Sometimes being the mom or the dad can be the problem. I can tell my daughter something and her youth group leader can tell her the exact same thing. Who does she listen to? Who is she often more receptive to? Take a guess.
In fact, she sometimes comes back to me sharing the brilliant idea that her youth group leader had – only it’s the exact same idea I presented to her days before. I’ve learned to be okay with that. As long as she has other adults in her life guiding her down the right path, I’ve thankful.
And, you never know who may take on these roles in your child’s life. It could be a leader from your homeschool co-op group, an aunt or uncle, or even Mr. D!
College & Careeer Readiness Course
Formerly known as Life Skills 4 Teens, the Mr. D Math College and Career Readiness course is an online, self-paced 16-week program designed to give teens the tools they need for success in life, while focusing on the skills needed to prepare them for college and/or their career. Be sure to read my review of the course. And, while you’re at it, check out Mr. D’s podcast, A+ Parents.
In fact, after completing the course, my daughter told me that she especially appreciated his lessons on time management and goal setting. Because, you know, senioritis is a real thing! Mr. D taught her how to break down her goals into manageable lists and steps so that senioritis wouldn’t get the best of her!
3) Finally, Let Go
While I wish I could go back to the days of my kids belting out the lyrics of Frozen’s “Let it Go,” I know that I can’t. They are growing up at warp speed.
My mom always said to enjoy them while they’re young because they grow so fast. I didn’t realize the truth in that statement until this year – as the time for me to let go is swiftly approaching.
As much as I don’t want to let go, I have to. I have to let her go. I have to trust that I have done the best that I could to prepare her for the next chapter of her life.
Onward – to the Next Phase
I wish I could turn back the hands of time and keep my baby girl from growing up so fast. Tears well up in my eyes at the thought of her waving goodbye in the rearview mirror as we leave the campus. I’m certain that I will be that mom who cries all the way back home.
And I’ll probably also be that mom who sends a “good morning” text message every single day – because, well, Facetiming every day may be a bit much. On second thought, maybe I should take back what I said about spending too much time on the phone!
As homeschool parents, we spend countless hours, days, years educating our children. Naturally, when they begin to move into the next phase of their lives – a phase that involves less of us – it’s hard! Even when we’ve done everything we can to make sure they’re at the plate and ready to swing, even at the curveballs!
But, it’s part of life. As long as we’ve prepared them to step up to the plate, it doesn’t matter the type of pitch.
Just remember to make the most of teachable moments. Rely on the help of others. And, when the time comes, it’s okay to let go!
This post was originally published on March 24, 2022.