3 Painless Ways to Get Your Teen Son to Love Poetry

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I have sons. My sons love poetry.

While I recognized that this was an anomaly among public schoolers, I had no idea it was unusual even amongst our homeschooling brethren. Poetry, it seems, isn’t considered relevant in these days of textese and emojis; it defies the practicality test, too. Why spend time rolling a string of pretty words in your mouth when everyone else is racing to get as few characters as possible onto a screen? Why engage a page of text that doesn’t get right to the point when there are eight billion other academic subjects vying for your attention? Why force your teenage son to read poetry when frankly, he hates it?

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To whom are you accountable?

Every state has it’s own legal codes surrounding homeschooling. It’s our job to give unto Caesar and be sure we’re compliant. This year, I’ve put extra hours into researching the laws in our state, checking and double checking to be sure that Mathaus has met the  requirements for graduation. (No worries there— he already exceeded them.) I take my administrative role seriously. I maintain thorough transcripts for my high schoolers, and I keep detailed portfolios and records for my younger students. If the state says I need to register with an umbrella school, I do it. If I have to provide a semester of state history, I do it. If I’m supposed to give a test once a year, I do it.

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How to feed the hero-hungry soul of a child (with books/history/biographies)

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Every once in a while, someone says something so profound within earshot that your soul can’t help but nod in agreement, highlighting the words, drawing your attention to the truth with an intellectual vigor akin to being grabbed by the cheeks, forced to gaze into serious eyes and demanding, “Are you listening?” I had this experience recently at the Charlotte Mason Institute East National Conference, where Dick Keyes of L’Abri Fellowship spoke on the importance of giving our children a deep well of hero culture from which to drink.

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Yes, there is a WRONG way to homeschool

I get asked quite a few questions about homeschooling. What curriculum is the best? How do you handle upper level math? What is the best way to teach a child to read? How do you teach multiple ages? Why did you choose this over that?

Along the way, I’ve realized that there’s a bigger question being asked, one that arches over all the smaller, more specific ones and is begging to be answered:

Is there a wrong way to homeschool?

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To my very weird teens

I know we’re different.

Just like you, I’ve seen the reactions, heard the mutters and gasps and whispers. I’ve watched you carefully steer conversation from risqué topics in groups, and I know that you’ve demurred, more than once, on a movie night with friends that ran afoul of our standards. I’ve seen you avert your eyes in public spaces, pass on offers of trendy free reads, and admit to your peers that no, you’ve never played that video game… or any video game without Mario involved, actually.

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Studying Church History {it’s worth the time!}

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The high school years follow their own space-time continuum. The four years from kindergarten to grade three are achingly slow at points, despite being chock full of hours spent learning to read, to count, to spell, to multiply, to stay on task. But high school… high school flies past you at the speed of sound, broken up only by pesky questions like, “Do you have enough math credits to graduate?” “Are you ready for your driver’s exam?” and “Are you applying to college, trade school, something else altogether?”

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