When A Teen

Doesn't Want to



By a variety of homeschool experts




NOTE FROM BARB:  The "story," while "specifics" are always different, is always the same: for one reason or another, a teen no longer wants to homeschool. Here is the email that spurred the responses further down on this page:




Now that I've been led to Senior High Form+U+la and am excited about it, my daughter has been away from home growing in the Lord on tour with [a Christian singing/performing group]!  That is good news here, but now I've another situation...
We were to start on [our own version of a] Lifestyle of Learning this September, and she was to be in  "9th grade".  She has told me that she may want to go to public school.  I told her that we need to hold off on that decision and she said that she maybe would like to go next year.  Now, I want to work with her to help her make decisions that are in alignment with God's will and she is willing to do this.  She has no clue yet about our doing a Lifestyle of Learning, so she will need to have time to adjust to the idea.  Still, because of this, I would need to take her feelings into account as we plan her year this year and she makes goals for the first time and grows in her decision making to follow God's will.  I don't want to just say, "NO you can't go to public school," at this time.  (Now I will, if that is necessary.)   I want her to come into her own.
So, based on this NEW info, HOW do I start doing this, taking into account a possibility of going into the system?  This is not an e mail that requires all to sell me on Lifestyle of Learning, or the dangers of high school.  You would be preaching to the choir here!   ;-D   I would like to go all the way through school with "Barb Shelton" this way...  AND hopefully my daughter will see that as well as the year progresses.  I am hoping God and myself will guide her gently. So any ideas would really be appreciated.



So, with that in mind, read on!





From Patti Ballard:


The reality is it is not your daughter's decision to make. I know we would like to have our children agree with us - but at times you just have to be the parent.


Having said that - when we come across things like that - I don't just speak "law" to my kids. It is hard to describe in written form, but I choose a quiet time, and speak blessings to the child. Then I explain why Dad and I feel that the Lord is leading us to a decision in a particular area. I tell them that we would like them to come along willingly, but in this issue we have to obey God. Then I pray with the child. During all this, I listen carefully to all they say, and validate their feelings.

Now this can't just be popped on them out of the blue. I regularly share how God is working in my life - the good and the bad - and sometimes the really ugly (but appropriate for them). They are also my brother or sister in Christ - and I want them to have an example of how to share in this way.  Soooo, if the home is a place where God is regularly consulted, and His work in the lives of family members is shared, then it is easier to accept a "mommy" decision.
(I am not suggesting that you are not doing that - just sharing how these types of decisions are dealt with in our home.)

Patti Ballard
; homeschool mom of 4 for 14 years; Inverness, FL



From Barb Shelton:


EXCELLENT response, Patti! And I am in total agreement! I love what Josh Harris shared about this in his "Why Homeschool Through High School" workshop... He shared that, when he was of junior high age, he went to his dad, Gregg, and told him he felt he was mature enough to go into the public school setting, and expressed his desire to do so. Gregg responded that the moment he and his (Josh's) Mom felt that any other educational choice would be better than homeschooling, he (Josh) would be the first to know!   ;-)   So the answer was "no." But he explained it much more in-depth than this; that was just the gyst of it.   ;-)

I believe that, as long as our children are in our care, we are responsible before God for them. But be sure to read ~ and apply ~ Patti's whooooole answer; not just "saying no, cuz I said so" and leaving it at that. Or you will reap a harvest of bitterness and resentment. Our older children *need* to understand "why."


Author of Senior High: A Home-Designed Form+U+la




From JulieBeth:


I know your family has been struggling with the homeschool/public school thing for a while. The peer pressure is tough. Are there many public school students in the program your daughter is participating in? That makes a big difference, especially spending 24/7 with a group who think another path is best, and seeing what nice people they are and that they attend public school, it makes it really hard.
I think you and your husband and all of your children need to sit down for a confab about what your plan is and why and stick to it and that's that! I know that sounds harsh, but I think your children have seen you two waffle before and feel they know better than you do because you aren't sticking to your convictions. Why are you homeschooling? What is required? Have you read through Barb's articles? I would also encourage you to read Jonathan Lindvall's article Discipling your children at www.BoldChristianLiving.com.


I am not telling you this to sell you on Lifestyle of Learning, but to help your heart get in the right place to decide why you are homeschooling, what God has to say about it, and if it is right (you will need to decide that prayerfully), then you will just do it and the children will have to obey.
I think you know I love you, and am not trying to be harsh or sound judgmental. I think you just lack trust in what God has laid on your heart. You need to believe that God has called you to this for a good reason and has good plans for your children that He is revealing to you and them to prepare them for His work throughout their lives. He is not going to reveal His plans to their high school counselor, and no public school  teacher loves your children nearly as much as you and God do, and there is not public school that will allow your children the freedom to be educated as God directs, no matter what that course is, to prepare them for His service. Only you and your husband, guided by God's Word and the Holy Spirit can accomplish these things, and He has told you that, so you can trust in it.
Love in Christ,

JulieBeth Lamb, homeschooling mom of 5 for 13 years, Knight's Ferry, CA
List Shepherdess for the Sr. High Form+U+la lists (Click here)

and also an Online Secretary for Barb Shelton




From Barb again:


I totally agree, JulieBeth!  Now, let's say you do "all the above," but your child still has their heart set on going to public (or even private) school.  There are many possibilities for why this is; I have a few suggestions that may help:


Your child needs to broaden their vision:  Have him/her read Sharnessa's article called "Letter of Encouragement from Sharnessa"


You need to change your approach to homeschooling:  Read pretty much every article at my Article Chart.


Your teen is burned out and has a bad attitude:  Read To Moms with Burned-out Teens.


You have some outright rebellion to deal with:  Read Remedy for Rebellion ~ by Barb Shelton





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