Friday, April 24, 2009

Friday's Answer: Keeping Teens Interested

Our homeschool group is centered around kid activities (field trips, events, etc) while still supporting the moms. How do you keep the teens interested in the homeschool group?

Many times a support group begins in response to the need of supporting moms or socializing young children. As the children grow, the group usually metamorphoses with them to offer more structured activites like field trips or classes. But as the children grow into their teen years, what's a group to do to meet the needs of this age group? Can the group add to it's already-full schedule to meet the teens' needs?

Yes, it is possible to keep the teens interested and take care of their needs. Here are a few simple ideas to kickstart your teen activities. We will have a ton more in our upcoming ebook!
  1. Watch and pray ~ It can be extremely helpful to have a leader specifically planning activities or classes for teens. Pray that the Lord will lead you to the right person to fill this need. He can lay the need and desire on their heart. He cares for the teens and has already laid it on your heart to pay attention to their needs.
  2. Ask and evaluate ~ Find out what the greatest needs or fears or desires are that the teens in the group have. What ways do they wish to socialize or serve or learn? Then you have a direction to move toward.
  3. Create and provide ~ Be creative in meeting their needs. If they fear the SAT's coming up, start a study group to prepare for it. If they need specialized subjects for college requirements, look for a teacher to provide a class for credit. If they desire to find out more about career paths, provide field trips for teens exploring their options.
  4. Be radical ~ If you have more teens than young children, it is possible your whole group needs to change its complete focus to meet the older group's needs. Park days may need to change to skating rink socials or hanging-out, game times at a home. Other children's activities may be need to be exchanged for debate teams, driver's ed classes or high school subject clubs. And don't forget--the moms are going to need different support than before, too.

It can be daunting to look at revamping your whole group, but it is well worth it to keep your teens interested. Not only does it keep them interested in the group, but having teen social activities and oportunities for answers to their future also keeps them excited about homeschooling in general. This wonderfully supports your group's families and helps them accomplish their goals of homeschooling through high school with a happy teen.

God bless,

Denise & Kristen

P.S. We are excited about our soon to come ebook that will be packed with ideas for making every type member of your group excited about being a part of it!

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Christy said...

I have always been a person to look at the needs of my own family and know that I'm not alone in X area. So last year, I started a group within our support group for the teens. Then, I asked them what they wanted to do. It ranged from eating pizza to taking extravagant trips. We have done a political science field trip and have a standing date at the local CiCi's once a month.
Teens are always very busy with lots of other activities, so you have to find a balance in providing activities. Not too much, or parents get overwhelmed. And you can't get discouraged when things are not well-attended.

Stacy and David said...

The founding families of our group recall the #1 question asked at the first meeting of our group was, "What do you offer for teens?" In the 2 years since we are blessed to have some GREAT moms serve as Teen Director.

When members renew or join our group, we have them complete a Teen Survey if they have kids in grades 6+. We ask about social interests and academic needs. The Teen Director has put together plenty of great activities---too many to list! Also, we produced a musical drama, Annie, this spring that really brought our teens together as the best of friends. Next year, I am hoping we can buy a license to show PENDRAGON to our teens. Also, don't forget getting the teens involved in service projects, they really enjoy ministry, too.