I am the mom of two teenagers and one tween. To say we are floating in a sea of teenage hormones would be pretty accurate on most days. The mood swings, the food consumption, the sleeping, the not sleeping, the mess, the smells, the hour-long showers, the attitudes, the mountains of dirty laundry — it’s a lot.
Some days I long for puberty to be over. Other days I love hanging out with these new almost-adults who live with me. But, the overwhelming prevalent feeling for the last few years is of a roller coaster. You never know what you’re going to get from moment-to-moment, so you hang on and try desperately to enjoy the ride while not throwing up.
The Different Faces of the Hormonal Teenager
For the last few years, my husband and I have learned to be prepared for any type of reaction from our teenagers. One moment they are talking 90-miles-a-minute telling us about everything that has happened while simultaneously dancing around the room to the next moment falling dramatically onto the couch claiming that they hate life and nothing is fair.
The mood swings are lightning fast, and they are dramatic. We never really know what is going to create a swing, but we have learned to be careful about certain subjects.
Never ask a teenage girl about her outfit or her makeup. Do not ask if she brushed her hair or if she is going for a Cleopatra look. Never remark on her shoes good or bad. And, please, for the love of all that is good do not comment on how much she has eaten that day… even if the refrigerator now stands empty.
Likewise, don’t ask a boy about his girlfriend. Do not ask what he might like to do with his life after he graduates. Don’t interrupt a really important PS5 tournament and absolutely never ask what the smell is coming out from under his bed.
These are questions you don’t really want answers to. I mean do you really want to know that he has plans to play video games into his 30’s while he makes his fortune on YouTube? And, do you really want to see her dramatic wing eyeliner suddenly become a teary streak down her face as she runs to her room screaming that everyone thinks she’s fat?
No. No, you do not.
These are subjects you need to have predefined before you step into the world of the teenager. And this is IF, and I mean IF, they actually answer you. Most days you should feel good if you get a slight shrug or a non-committal “I don’t know.”
The Moments That Throw You Off Your Game
But, on occasion — rarely — there will be moments of beautiful revelations. That sweet little boy will emerge from his cocoon momentarily to give you a peek into what he will be like as an adult. He will sit down next to you as you work and tell you about his classes and what he thinks might be a good career choice (after he makes his millions playing video games, of course). You will stay seated in your chair at your desk afraid to make any sudden movements. You’ll turn slightly toward him (not all the way) and start to nod and comment briefly so that he knows you are giving him your attention, but not trying to dictate his decisions.
And some days she will walk up to you and give you a hug for no reason. She will say “I love you, Mommy” like she did when she was younger. You will rub her back and tell her that you love her, too, but not emphatically. You’ll find that sweet spot between sharing a heartfelt emotion and a sappy mom-hug. The hug will continue until she decides it’s over and then you will step back and act like it’s an everyday occurrence and complain about the allergies that have suddenly attacked you.
In these moments, you will cherish every single second. And, I say second, because they don’t last long before those same kids are stomping up the stairs dropping laundry and food wrappers along the way and complaining about having to be up for class at 10 o’clock. These are the moments you live for. These are the moments that throw you off your game, so you’re not prepared when the next hormone surge hits and the mood shifts.
Homeschooling While Living Through Teenage Hormones
So, how do you continue homeschooling in the midst of teenage hormones? Well, that’s where things get tricky. You have options, and as a family, you have to decide what option is best for you.
When my son reached the hormonal overload, he was a junior in high school. He was taking dual enrollment classes and commuting from the college to work to baseball back home to start the whole thing over again the next day. He was rarely at home, and when he was, it was to hibernate in his room. Then he went to college and was gone from our house for weeks at a time. When his hormones hit the peak he wasn’t living with us and homeschooling wasn’t an issue.
My daughter, however, was a bit earlier (as I learned most girls are). The teenage hormones hit her in middle school. They hit hard and swift and knocked us all over with their ferocity. As a family (one that liked a little bit of sanity), we decided that her request to attend the local private school was reasonable and safer for all concerned. This was NOT an easy decision for me. In fact, I had a hard time accepting it (just ask her teachers at that first parent-teacher meeting). But, it was the right decision at the time.
I’m not advocating sending all teenagers to school to let someone else deal with them. But, what I AM saying is that you can’t make a decision about a situation you aren’t in. So claiming your child will never [fill in the blank] will only end up in you eating your words. The truth is that my kids have not reacted to the teen years the way I did and not the same way my husband did either. We had no basis in which to determine how we would react to these years and have had to navigate them learning as we go.
Will my next child go into the school system? I don’t know. For now, she is determined to always homeschool. But, as she is becoming more independent and slightly hormonal, I’ve started making adjustments. She has more free time to do her studies independently. I don’t make her sit with me for all her subjects, just the ones I know she needs a little extra instruction. I’m letting her help me determine what her homeschool looks like and for now, it seems to be working.
Will she eventually lose her ever-loving mind? Probably, but I’m experienced now. I won’t ask about her choice of shoes.
Advice from Other Homeschool Moms Dealing with Teenage Hormones
I would love to tell you that parenting a blossoming adult is easy, but in my experience, it is not. So, I’ve given you the only advice I know — the advice of my years of not only living with teenagers but teaching them (in a former life I was a high school teacher). As I thought about this article, I wondered what other moms might say about homeschooling their teens.
So, here is some sage advice from some veteran homeschoolers. These mamas have been in the trenches, some still are, and this is their real-world advice to you. They have come out on the other side, and they lived to tell the tale.
[su_quote cite=”Christine at This Bit of Life” url=”https://thisbitoflife.com/”]Oh, puberty! I was warned that when kids go through puberty, they kind of become dumb. I didn’t think it would be that bad, but then it started. My son started forgetting things almost immediately after we would say something to him! The teen (and even pre-teen!) years are years to test your patience and grace as a parent for sure![/su_quote]
[su_quote cite=”Ann of Annie and Everything” url=”https://www.annieandeverything.com/how-to-deal-with-teenagers-disrespect/”]Hormones, y’all. Do you remember what that was like? Emotions going crazy, self-control sometimes at a minimum, body changing, ZITS — it all conspires against their ability to process things with emotional intelligence. So glad I don’t have to go through that again myself, aren’t you? (Oh yea, there’s menopause… let’s just not talk about that.)[/su_quote]
[su_quote cite=”Michelle of Homeschool Your Boys” url=”https://www.homeschool-your-boys.com/”]When my oldest son was going through those early teen years, I often dreamed of sending him off to school. He was learning to deal with all of those hormones, and we honestly didn’t get along very well. Getting him to finish his lessons was such a struggle! Fast forward a few years and this same son has become my right-hand man. We have a close relationship, and he seeks me out to talk about anything and everything. Homeschooling teen boys won’t always be easy, but it will certainly be worth it. You will reap a harvest if you persevere.[/su_quote]
[su_quote cite=”Leah of As We Walk Along The Road” url=”https://www.aswewalkalongtheroad.com/”]Homeschooling teens certainly isn’t always easy. There are days when they are super hormonal – and that’s not just girls! But thanks to homeschooling I have a sweet, sweet relationship with my now adult daughter and son and my two high schoolers. There will be days when you’re sure that you won’t make it through without killing someone or signing them all up for school, but the rewards are definitely worth it![/su_quote]
[su_quote cite=”Felicia of The Zoo I Call Home” url=”https://thezooicallhome.com/”]Homeschooling tweens pulls at your heartstrings and every ounce of patience you ever had. But the teen years on the other side are a wonderful adventure I’m blessed to enjoy![/su_quote]
[su_quote cite=”Ticia of Adventures in Mommydom” url=”https://adventuresinmommydom.org/”]Push-ups and laps are your friend. As all these hormones are running through my boys (and to a lesser extent my daughter), they’re just not able to sit still, so if they’re having trouble focusing I send them to run laps around the block. Or push-ups if they’re getting things wrong they should know better. That being said, I love homeschooling my teens and tween. Homeschooling little guys was fun, but I’m having a blast with my big kids. I can give them assignments to get done and head off to run an errand. I’ll come home to kids all done with their homeschooling. It’s AWESOME![/su_quote]
[su_quote cite=”Susan of The Sparrows Home” url=”https://thesparrowshome.com/”]I’d have to say the low point of homeschooling teenagers was threatening to post their work to Facebook. But aside from that, I LOVED so much about homeschooling our teens. Watching them grow in their character and abilities, and begin to chart their course has been utterly priceless.[/su_quote]
[su_quote cite=”Amber of The Classic Housewife” url=”http://www.classichousewife.com/”]LOVE THEM. Love them when they are happy, love them when they are angry, love them when they don’t understand how they feel. They need structure, they need guidelines, they need consequences, but they need an extra portion of love to get through the transition to teenagerhood. [/su_quote]
[su_quote cite=”Renee at Great Peace” url=”https://reneeatgreatpeace.com/”]Remember all of those toddler years when you prayed for patience? Well, now you get to test it. Parenting a teen will teach you true patience as you learn to bite your tongue, remain calm, let them figure it out, and stand quietly with a loving heart while their hormones rage in overabundant emotions. [/su_quote]
[su_quote cite=”Shawna of Not The Former Things” url=”https://nottheformerthings.com/”]Hormonal kids with a hormonal mom is seriously the devil’s playground.[/su_quote]
[su_quote cite=”Ann of Annie and Everything” url=”https://www.annieandeverything.com/teaching-diligence-teens/”]Well, here today I want to go on record as stating that teaching diligence to my teen is a hill I am willing to die on. And I just might, because he’s killing me, lol. If what it takes is being the water that drips and drips and drips on the rock until it forms an impression, then I will be that drip. I will be a gentle drip, a more sensitive sergeant, if you will — but I will just keep dripping, just keep dripping, what do we do? We driiiiiiip.[/su_quote]
[su_quote cite=”Jen of Practical, By Default” url=”https://practicalbydefault.com/life-teenagers-fun/”]Teenagers have this amazing ability to see things in a way we don’t. The struggle for me is to LISTEN. Not just hear and continue on but stop typing, stop washing, stop moving and actually hear what they are saying. Try it. You might just be blown away.[/su_quote]
[su_quote cite=”Heather of Blog, She Wrote” url=”https://blogshewrote.org/”]I just finished a summer with four teenagers. My oldest is now 20. Girls are predictable. No problem there. Boys are hilarious. They lose their minds at random times. They blow up crazy style over really dumb things and then later have NO RECOLLECTION of the incident and wonder what the problem is. Just remember that you aren’t the crazy one in these situations.[/su_quote]
[su_quote cite=”Tricia of HodgePodge” url=”https://www.hodgepodge.me/homeschool-high-school-finish-line/”]First of all, fear not. Fear not homeschooling your young adults. It is simply just another unknown. Just like starting homeschooling, choosing curriculum, homeschooling multiple ages, homeschooling middle school. There is a learning curve but this time has become one of my VERY favorite times with my children. They are independent, can have time to delve in and study what they are interested in and can hone both their skills and goals. Plus they are just fun. [/su_quote]
[su_quote cite=”Melanie of Psycho With 6″ url=”https://psychowith6.com/how-to-homeschool-through-hormones/”]An important lesson I’ve learned about hormonal teens is not to talk to them when they are emotional. Wait until they have had rest, even if they require discipline. Have all important conversations face-to-face. Don’t talk about emotional subjects on the phone or via text. Guess how I learned that?[/su_quote]
How to Homeschool in the Midst of the Hard Things Series
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Hi, I’m Dachelle. I’m a homeschooling mom of 3 in the South. I love chocolate and have been known to hide it from my children. I can often be found reading a good book (or even sometimes just an okay book) and enjoying a jar of Nutella — don’t judge. I blog, here, at HideTheChocolate.com when I’m not creating book clubs and making lists…lots and lots of lists (it’s an addiction). Learn more…