Friday, March 3, 2017

Meeting My Teens Where They Are

Last week I talked about how my teens are struggling to stay focused on school this year. They are focused on what is going on in their bodies and minds more than my schoolwork agenda. So, I keep looking for ways to meet them where they are and still get the education into them. This week had some great accomplishments. Score points for Mom!!

The Mall Challenge ~ My son has been "screaming" for more independence, yet he really isn't ready to go out and conquer the world. In fact, he resists my many attempts to help him go out into the world. However, I found a challenge that he embraced. My friend and I created a mall challenge for her daughter and my two teens. We gave each child $25 and a list of places in the mall they had to go into together. They were required to make three purchases each. We took them to the mall early on a weekday when there would be very few people at the mall. We sent them off on their challenge while we power walked the mall. They knew we were there and they had their cell phones if they needed us, but they were free to follow their lists and make their own purchases. Her daughter and my son hate to use money to make purchases by themselves, because they are both very shy. But by being together, they both were able to accomplish the goal. It was a great experience! We plan to do it again with gift cards and get them to spread out farther into the mall. This time we let them tell us where they wanted to go in advance. Once we were there and walking, we realized that they had picked places all within one wing of the mall. (The only picture we got of them was off in the distance).

Literature in Movies ~ I'm going to break one of the homeschool myths. Have you heard that all homeschool kids love to read? They are all avid readers, right? NO! My kids aren't avid readers at all. They can read on grade level or above and do use reading every day, but you will never find them curled up with a book for free time...NEVER. My daughter is an avid athlete and my son is an avid musician/artist. They have their passions that consume their time. I just can't get them to read enough of the amazing books on my endless lists. I have decided to have them watch a literature-based movie every week that will replace having to read a book on my list. I will be doing a separate post about this soon. This week we watched The Great Gilly Hopkins. It was good and stuck pretty close to the book, at least from my memory.

Field Trip ~ This week we went to a gem and mineral museum in the next town over. It is a tiny museum that only takes up one large room in the basement of an old building. However, it was wonderful. We were greeted at the door by a very eager volunteer who walked us through all of the displays. We learned about florescent minerals, saw lots and lots of cool fossils, learned about a meteorite that was found in our town, and admired petrified wood. We then decided to break two geodes. I love geodes. They are my favorite thing about geology. Once the museum volunteer broke open our geodes, he told us all about the minerals inside. He then showed it to them under a black light, a florescent light and a microscope. It was an awesome lesson! This tiny, free museum beats the expensive one in our larger city.

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What We Did in Bullet Points
  • Mall Challenge (life skills and some math)
  • Lots of Sukoku (math)
  • Mineral and Gem Museum (science)
  • Work on eBay and organize/clean out pantry (home econ for Anne)
  • 10 hours of dance classes for Anne
  • Bessie's Pillow (English) almost done!
  • 12 math pages on average, mean and mode for Anne (math)
  • 6 pages of Are You a Math Genius? for Dean (math)
  • Geology ~ lesson 2 -- layers of the earth (science)
  • 3+ hours of art for Dean (art)
  • Dean started working on a timeline that he is illustrating (world history)
  • 5 lessons in spelling for Anne (English)
  • Guitar lesson for Dean and lots of practice (music)
  • The Great Gilly Hopkins movie (English)
  • CNN Student News
  • Anne finished reading The Little Mermaid (English)
Blessings, Dawn


  1. I would be very interested in hearing more about your movie swap out; I have two very reluctant readers!

  2. My boys struggle with reading and although Quentin can read at grade level, it takes a lot of effort on his part and so he rarely does it for pleasure. I am thinking of adopting your movie idea. The field trip sounds wonderful! The Mall idea was a good one. Malls in this area are dying out due to Internet shopping.

  3. Good job meeting your teens where they are! My oldest spent many hours working on his truck for school, and he graduated from high school and college. And I used a lot of audio books/curriculum for one of my boys who didn't like to read. :)

  4. Outstanding! Wish I were so creative. Your kids are blessed to have you for their mom. :)

  5. It sounds like a very successful week with a heap of creative ideas to increase your children's learning. Good for you Dawn!

  6. Fantastic idea. I've found that my daughter gets flustered when using cash and can't figure out where to put her change in a timel manner. We've been practicing, but she much prefers for me to put her purchases with my own and then pay me the money.