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Teens Are Scary, and Other Lies I Once Believed

teens are scary and other lies i once believed

Teens Are Scary, and Other Lies I Once BelievedTeens Are Scary, and Other Lies I Once Believed ~
Written by Jamie C. Martin of Simple Homeschool and
Introverted Moms

I was terrified of teenagers. I mean, who wouldn’t be? All I saw on television and in movies confirmed it as a dreaded age – when once sweet and loving little ones transformed into hormonal monsters who would just as easily scream at you as talk to you.

They seemed…scary.

It’s weird because I remember what I longed for as a teen myself: a listening, nonjudgmental ear, protection from problems too big for me to solve alone, and someone who believed in and respected me.

But today’s teens, according to pop culture, are a different breed: purposeless, lacking dedication and motivation, only interested in self, faces constantly aimed down at a screen.

You can’t even get them to look up.

I wish I could go back and tell myself to relax. It turns out that interesting children turn into interesting teens, who long for the same things I once did, and struggle with the same things I once struggled with. 

I don’t mean to imply that this phase of parenting is all roses and buttercups. NOT a bit. It definitely has had scary moments. Each stage of motherhood has its own trials, and adolescence is no exception. The stakes are higher and everything feels dialed up.

During this season in our family’s life we’ve navigated significant learning struggles, attention and mood difficulties, depression and anxiety, suicidality, healing from trauma, as well as the typical hormonal fluctuations biologically common at this age.

But that’s where “relationship-centered homeschooling” has thrown us a lifeline again and again.

Teens Are Scary, and Other Lies I Once Believed

With that as your foundation you have something solid to build on. Something to go back to even when it feels as though everything around you has started to crumble. Because of what we’ve constructed for our kids, no cracks can grow large enough for them to fall through. 

While we’re on the subject of my misconceptions regarding teenagers, here are a few other lies I once believed:

Teens Are Scary, and Other Lies I Once Believed

1 – They don’t like learning.

This stereotype comes from the overall lack of control most teens have when it comes to their education. If you’re at an age where your body and brain long for independence and autonomy, but you’re forced to spend six hours each day in a building where much of your day is scripted, plus extra hours doing required work just to go back the next morning and do it again, would you like learning?

It’s kind of like being surprised that prisoners don’t like prison. That’s why home education offers a rare opportunity for teens to enjoy learning and focus on their areas of interest.

It’s a partnership, not a prescription.

2 – They don’t want your help.

Every person on the planet wants to feel respected. Modern-day teenagers know that society looks down upon them and expects nothing good from them, which ends up becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

As author Rachel Macy Stafford wrote, “Feeling seen and heard enables human beings to reach their highest potential.” Those who make us feel seen and heard are those we naturally turn to for help.

Homeschooling gives parents the chance to contribute to this role, instead of solely peers.

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3 – They are only interested in screens.

I’ve had to slowly accept this: Screens are everywhere. In spite of my inner resistance to that fact, this is the world our teens are inheriting. Instead of wishing it away, let’s do everything possible to prepare them for it.

Young people of every generation always embrace new technologies first, as you might remember from your past. As parents, however, we can provide healthy boundaries around screens, use parental controls wisely, research the tv shows and movies they’re interested in, and offer alternatives that get a teen off screens and into life.

This means we must put down our own screens to engage with them, however!

Let’s make sure they understand the risks and the attention economy by watching and discussing the issue regularly, and also pointing out when someone has publicly suffered the sad consequences of poor online choices.

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Brothers goofing off together…

4 – They think they know it all.

Teenagers in modern society are frozen between two worlds: desperately wanting to be “taken seriously” while knowing fully that compared to the adults in their lives, they lack power.

And what happens in nations where citizens feel powerless? They assert their limited power and eventually revolt.

The same is true on an individual level, resulting in this “know it all” grasping-at-power technique. But if we can slowly transfer real power when we sense they’re ready, they might push back just a little less.

And if we can model humility when it comes to our mistakes and all that we don’t know, they’ll be more likely to do the same.

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Trishna got to travel with my husband Steve to Romania this year to see up close the work his NGO, Infused Impact, is doing to create jobs in developing nations

5 – They don’t care about the world.

During adolescence introspective thinking becomes more refined in the brain, meaning that a teen’s focus naturally turns inward at this point in development. But too much inward focus comes with its own dark downside, as rising mental health statistics continue to showcase.

Interestingly, research shows that up-and-coming generations care just as much, if not more, about shaping a better world than past ones. The sense of powerlessness I mentioned above, however, can make it feel as though there’s nothing they can do to make change.

But when we model purposeful and meaningful living, we offer them outlets for developing and activating their compassion, through well-chosen books read together and separately, daily pitching in around the house, financial giving, family prayer, and local (or global) volunteer opportunities.

Not only do these opportunities allow them to make their individual worlds a better place, they also break up the natural self-concern that can otherwise run rampant at this age.

Teens Are Scary, and Other Lies I Once Believed
The same swing they used to play on as littles, sniff-sniff

No, teens are not as scary as I once believed. They’re maturing young men and women trying to find their way. Unique individuals with strengths, weaknesses, and a calling. We can help, providing our relationships remain strong.

The current structure of our society undervalues them, which can make them undervalue themselves. But we have a beautiful opportunity to speak value and life into this short, meaningful season.

Home education has given us the time to make relationships our top priority, and even with the many challenges that have come along the way, I have no regrets.

Teens Are Scary, and Other Lies I Once Believed

Have you had stereotypes of certain ages dissolve as well? Or did you once think teens are scary, too? I’d love to hear about it below!

What’s Your Homeschool Mom Personality? Take Jamie’s quiz now and receive a free personality report to help you organize your homeschool based on what your personality type needs most!

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Weekend homeschool links: October 22

weekend homeschool links october 22

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Weekend homeschool links:

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.

What’s Your Homeschool Mom Personality? Take Jamie’s quiz now and receive a free personality report to help you organize your homeschool based on what your personality type needs most!

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The Intensity of Homeschooling a Gifted Child

the intensity of homeschooling a gifted child

intensity of homeschooling gifted

The Intensity of Homeschooling a Gifted Child ~ 
Written by Colleen Kessler of Raising Lifelong Learners

We often think of giftedness as just that, a gift. While it certainly can be, it is not uncommon for academically and/or developmentally advanced children to also have a range of intense and asynchronous behaviors.

The truth is, homeschooling a gifted child sometimes feels like it would better be described as homeschooling an intense child. 

For example, this morning, we needed to be out of the house at a certain time to head to co-op.

All within a span of 15 minutes, one child was complaining about the seams in his socks, while another was having an animated singalong with her stuffed animals, completely oblivious to the fact that she has her shirt on backwards and her shoes on the wrong feet. Another was extremely anxious, and trying to make sure everyone has what they need to get out the door so she doesn’t have to walk into her class late and upset her co-op teacher.

Why Gifted Children Are So Intense

My family is a blend of what  Polish psychologist/psychiatrist Kazimierz Dabrowski called overexcitabilities. Gifted children are highly likely to be more intense than their typical peers. This increased awareness, sensitivity, and intensity can present challenges that make them difficult children to parent.

Learning about these five overexcitabilities has helped me understand my children. It has also better equipped me to help them learn in our homeschool.

gifted child

What Are The Five Overexcitabilities?

Dabrowski identified five different areas of overexcitabilities as part of his research. While not all gifted kids exhibit overexcitabilities, they are more prevalent among the gifted population than any other. 

The five overexcitabilities he identified are psychomotor, sensual, emotional, intellectual, and imaginational. 


Psychomotor overexcitabilities are marked by a constant need to move and expend intense physical energy. Kids with psychomotor overexcitability have drive, they are impulsive, and often show a physical manifestation of their emotions. They may have nervous habits or tics, and may have trouble sleeping.


An example of this is the child who needs every tag cut out of every shirt? Those with sensual overexcitability have a heightened awareness of all five senses – sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. These kids might not be able to eat certain foods because of their texture or taste. They might need more cuddles than others, or not want to be touched at all. Their sensory experience in the world is simply more intense.


Children with a high emotional overexcitability exhibit extreme emotions including anxiety, guilt, sadness, and even happiness. They often have difficulty adjusting to change. These kids can be prone to depression, suffer physically from their emotions (for example, stomach aches due to anxiety), and often look to their parents to feel more secure.


This overexcitability is characterized by activities of the mind, thought, and metacognition. It’s the one we are most likely to think of in relation to gifted children. Children with an intellectual overexcitability have a deep curiosity, love of problem-solving, and always seem to be thinking.


These children are incredibly imaginative– and often and unfortunately, their imaginations can get away from them, making them fear worst-case scenarios. They tend to have imaginary friends, vivid dreams, and a love of drama and music.

intensity of homeschooling gifted

Gifted children and adults may experience more than one of these. With more than one overexcitability, it is likely that a child would experience the world in a stronger and more multifaceted way.  Thus, the intensity we often see in our gifted children.

The Intensity Of Homeschooling A Gifted Child

Just knowing a bit more about these overexcitabilities has helped me better relate to and understand my children. Practically, it allows me to support them in ways that make sense for the various intensities they are experiencing. 

For example, for my child who clearly has an imaginational overexcitability, I incorporate lots of creative writing activities and art. I also know to start getting her ready a bit before the rest of my children in case the seams in her socks are overwhelming.

On the other hand, her brother has the incredible energy associated with psychomotor overexcitabilities. He can often be found doing his school work outside, running around, and moving as we discuss his assignments. 

Understanding the neurology behind your child’s behavior better equips you to understand – and help your child understand – those behaviors. 

Moreover, it helps you create a learning experience that is in line with their needs and aptitude. 

If you would like something to help you understand your gifted child a bit better and give you more direction in your homeschool, I have created a FREE quick reference sheet with all the overexcitabilities and their descriptions. You can download it HERE.

Overexcitabilities And Gifted Children

There is certainly an intensity in homeschooling a gifted child, but I want you to know it’s worth it!

Homeschooling gifted children allows us to maintain an environment that can use these overexcitabilities as strengths and celebrate the uniqueness of them.

What an amazing opportunity for any child, gifted or otherwise.

intensity of homeschooling gifted

What’s Your Homeschool Mom Personality? Take Jamie’s quiz now and receive a free personality report to help you organize your homeschool based on what your personality type needs most!

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Weekend homeschool links: Oct 15th

weekend homeschool links oct 15th

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If you’ve reached a tough place within your homeschool year, check out my course, Homeschooling with Purpose ~ It will throw you a lifeline and help you get back on track without burnout!

Weekend homeschool links:

Featured Sponsors:

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I regularly hear from fans of Ivy Kids, raving about their favorite subscription box. Designed for kids ages 3-8, it contains so many activities each month that it’s practically like pre-K/K in a box!

Each box is its own unit study based around a children’s book, containing both the book and all the supplies you need! Try a box for 20% off using the code IVY20.

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I don’t think I’ve heard of a single homeschool family that doesn’t have one or more reluctant young writers. But it doesn’t have to stay that way – Night Zookeeper’s creative writing platform can inspire your student to overcome their fear of the blank page and share their writing with other kids around the world!

They’ll receive positive feedback from a team of tutors, while in-game awards and competitions keep them motivated to continue making progress–try it out for free right now!

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.

What’s Your Homeschool Mom Personality? Take Jamie’s quiz now and receive a free personality report to help you organize your homeschool based on what your personality type needs most!

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3 Things That Totally Changed My Homeschool (for the better!)

3 things that totally changed my homeschool for the better

changed my homeschool

3 Things That Totally Changed My Homeschool (for the better!)
~ Written by Cait Fitzpatrick Curley of My Little Poppies

When I first began homeschooling, it was under duress. In fact, I call myself an unexpected homeschooler because I never thought we would homeschool our children.

But here we are, so many years later, not just surviving but thriving in our education. Looking back, I can see that there are three things that totally changed my homeschool and helped us establish our approach to learning.

It was difficult in the beginning. I knew my son needed a different approach than a formal school environment provided.  But I found myself wondering how to provide it.

My only reference was my own understanding of education. I went TO public schools. I worked as a school psychologist IN public schools.

The more I tried to find resources to homeschool, the more overwhelmed I became with curriculum choices and homeschool styles. Finally, in desperation, I decided to take it one step at a time and just do what really worked for my kids (and for me).

Eventually, these three approaches to learning became the backbone of our homeschool.

coffee and books

3 Things That Totally Changed My Homeschool (for the better!)

While I knew we needed a different approach to learning, I also knew we needed some structure. These three things have worked amazingly well for my family:

1. Coffee and Books

My motivation was at an all-time low. Instead of waking up early and accomplishing all the things, I struggled to put my feet to the floor in the morning and do some of the things. Somewhere, in the midst of my battle with getting started each day, our mornings evolved.

I don’t know if it was out of laziness or if it was an attempt to make myself feel better about homeschooling, but I started reading to my kids as soon as they entered the kitchen. I didn’t ask them to do math first. In fact, I didn’t talk about our homeschool must-dos at all.

Instead, I poured myself a strong cup of coffee then picked up a great book and read aloud.

Coffee and Books is our most peaceful time of day. The reading sparks fantastic conversations and learning. This ritual starts our morning off on the right foot and has made this family of bookworms smile.

2. Lazy Unit Studies

I love the idea of unit studies, but always felt overwhelmed with all planning and then actually getting started.

Somewhere along the way, I decided that the value of following my children’s interests and all the rabbit trails that come along with them was far more important than trying to make them perfect.

My Lazy Unit Study plan was born.

Essentially, when my kids stumble upon a topic that interests them, I use resources easily available to us (think library books, documentaries, YouTube videos, and any local field trip opportunities) to keep learning about it for as long as they stay interested.

If you want to know more about exactly what this looks like in our homeschool, I created a quick and easy ebook and an entire course to help you get started.

This guide will help you identify your child’s current interests and also learn to find the wonder in plain sight. It will guide you through the brainstorming, planning, and execution process. You will also learn how to document child-led learning.

bird unit study

3. Gameschooling

There is a wealth of research suggesting that learning through play creates more comprehension and retention for our children. Play impacts the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development of children and teens.

It is also a much more joyful and satisfying way to live our homeschool lives.

We are a family of gamers. I grew up playing and loving board games. My kids are the same. Why not combine our love of games with our love of learning?

Gameschooling is the intersection of PLAY and LEARNING. And it changed everything in our homeschool.

We use games to learn everyday, in all areas of academics and life.


If you are just getting started homeschooling, or are looking to shake things up in your learning, I highly recommend starting with the simple things that bring you and your children the most joy.

For us, that’s good books, interest-led learning, and games as often as possible. These are the three things that totally changed our homeschool for the better, and I’m so grateful!

How about you? What has changed your homeschool for the better?

What’s Your Homeschool Mom Personality? Take Jamie’s quiz now and receive a free personality report to help you organize your homeschool based on what your personality type needs most!

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Weekend homeschool links: Oct 8th

weekend homeschool links oct 8th

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Both of my books, Introverted Mom and Give Your Child the World,
are currently discounted over 30% if you’ve been wanting to read either one! 

Weekend homeschool links:

Featured Sponsors:


If you’re like me, you stress over creating a high school transcript for your homeschooled teens. Well, fear no more because I have lived to tell the tale, and Fast Transcripts made the process SO simple! 

Their service assisted me in assigning the best course names to my daughter’s work, pointed out potential errors, and produced a beautiful transcript that she can now use anywhere she needs it in the future! Find out more here.

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I fondly remember devouring Cricket magazines at the library when I was a girl, and guess what? Cricket Media is still going strong:

They now offer even more educational resources to homeschooling parents, including their beloved magazine line for all ages that covers literature, science, and history, free teacher guides, and an online program for studying Chinese! Get all the details here.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.

What’s Your Homeschool Mom Personality? Take Jamie’s quiz now and receive a free personality report to help you organize your homeschool based on what your personality type needs most!

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Weekend homeschool links: October 1st

weekend homeschool links october 1st

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It’s always a good day when a Sally Clarkson book releases,
and the topic of her newest one couldn’t be more timely! (afflink)

Weekend homeschool links:

Featured Sponsors:

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Tons of kids have mastered their math facts, improved their US geography, and conquered fractions thanks to the incredible learning games designed by SAT tutor Jim Moran of Semper Smart Games!

And I know from personal experience that as temperatures start to dip, these games are perfect to play during chilly days in front of the woodstove or fireplace! Order now for free shipping in the US.

Oak Meadow offers experiential education, introducing subjects according to a child’s development. In the early grades, this means that students engage in active exploration with wonder and curiosity.

In middle grades, students explore human accomplishments, conflicts, and relationships, and in high school, students apply their knowledge to make a difference in their communities and the world. Love this beautiful progression?! Learn more here.

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.

What’s Your Homeschool Mom Personality? Take Jamie’s quiz now and receive a free personality report to help you organize your homeschool based on what your personality type needs most!

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4 Awesome Benefits of Strewing in Your Homeschool

4 awesome benefits of strewing in your homeschool

Strewing in Your Homeschool

4 Awesome Benefits of Strewing in Your Homeschool ~
Written by Jessica Waldock of The Waldock Way

Have you tried strewing in your homeschool? Strewing is a method I’m passionate about. It’s all about choosing items that your homeschoolers can explore and learn from independently. 

Strewing is perfect for interest-led homeschoolers because it gives us the opportunity to let our kids take the lead while discovering their passions. There are tons of great reasons to practice strewing this school year.

Do you want to learn more about how to start strewing? Keep reading to discover four awesome benefits of strewing in your homeschool and get some great tips to explore it with your kids.

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What is Strewing?

Strewing is a method of providing your children with opportunities to discover and explore items you have chosen to place in their path. There are no invitations, no set instructions, and no expected outcomes.

You just leave the items out, whatever they may be, and wait for your children to interact with them. To practice strewing in your homeschool, you’ll first need to choose items to use.

Loose parts, craft supplies, and building materials are perfect for strewing. Other items you can use include activities, games, and science experiments you might not normally reach for in your homeschool. Choose things that relate to your lessons, your child’s interests, or items you really hope your kids will explore and interact with.

Place the chosen items in your child’s path. Don’t worry, strewing isn’t about covering your living room in toys and craft supplies or recreating a toy store in your home. You can choose a designated space or contain items in inviting bins for your homeschoolers to peruse. 

Let your kids discover and explore the strewing opportunities without much direction or input. If they seem uninterested, don’t take it personally.

If your homeschoolers aren’t using the items “properly,” resist the urge to correct them or give instructions. There is so much value in letting them explore and get creative, even if it doesn’t look the way you thought it would.

Strewing in Your Homeschool

4 Awesome Benefits Of Strewing In Your Homeschool

1. Insight into your child’s passions and interests

Strewing is a great way to gain insight into your child’s interests and passions. This is critical for interest-led or delight-directed homeschoolers. You can discover what your kids are passionate about and what makes them curious by watching carefully as they interact with different items used in strewing.

Do your kids gravitate towards craft supplies? Are they always building and inventing new things? Did they find the globe and maps completely fascinating? Answering these questions can help you discover what direction to take with your upcoming homeschool lessons and activities.

2. Encourages Independence 

Strewing is a good way to encourage independent learning. Teaching our children to become independent learners is an important step in creating lifelong learners.

Since kids interact with the items used in strewing independently, without adult instruction or encouragement, it’s perfect for encouraging curiosity and independent learning through exploration.

3. Sets The Tone For Your Day

Using strewing in your homeschool is an easy way for parents to set the tone of the day right from the start. When your children wake up to items and activities they can explore and interact with, the day begins with learning.

Since they are interacting with items on their own terms, it’s a no-pressure way to encourage learning right from the start.

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4. Gives Mom A Break

Strewing gives Mom a break too! I love strewing because it gives me a chance to wake up in the mornings and take some time to meditate and prepare for the day.

Sounds like a win-win right?

I’m not initially bombarded with requests by my child. Instead, she’s busy exploring and learning while I get to have a cup of coffee.

Strewing is helpful later in the day too. Homeschoolers can explore and get creative with items while moms take time for themselves or complete household chores. 

Want To Learn More About Strewing?

Would you like to learn more about how to successfully practice strewing in your homeschool? Are you interested in learning more about the awesome benefits of strewing too?

Do you need a helpful list of items and ideas to get you started on your strewing journey? 

Strewing in Your Homeschool


If so, you’ll definitely want to check out my new FREE guide to strewing in your homeschool. It’s filled with helpful tips, detailed information about the strewing process, and real-life examples from our own homeschool experience to help you along the way. 


What’s Your Homeschool Mom Personality? Take Jamie’s quiz now and receive a free personality report to help you organize your homeschool based on what your personality type needs most!

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Weekend homeschool links – Sept 24th

weekend homeschool links sept 24th

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When life feels tough, pictures of puppies help – you’re welcome! xo

Weekend homeschool links:

This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission from some of the links on this page.

What’s Your Homeschool Mom Personality? Take Jamie’s quiz now and receive a free personality report to help you organize your homeschool based on what your personality type needs most!

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Because things ARE different now

because things are different now

Because things ARE different now ~
Written by
Melissa Camara Wilkins

Last spring, just as we were wrapping up our learning activities for the year, one of my kids had an orthodontist appointment. “Where do you go to school?” the receptionist asked him, just making conversation.

“Oh, I’m homeschooled,” he replied.

The receptionist gave me a big smile and said, “So this last year has been normal for you! No change at all!”

I stood there and blinked. Because the homeschooling part was the same as usual, that is true. But no change at all?

No change except… everything that wasn’t school was different?!

Because things ARE different now

All kinds of things were different—the library was closed, all our usual routines about leaving the house had to change, my husband started working from home full-time. Our college kiddo was doing virtual school from home. Our high school senior was applying to colleges, having no idea if any of the schools would even be open in the fall.

It was a YEAR, even for those of us who already homeschooled. And things are different now, too.

It’s fall again, our oldest two kids have gone away to college. (Those schools DID reopen, as it turns out.) Our younger four are settling into fall routines. We’re figuring out how things work when one-third of our kids live somewhere else. How much dinner do you cook for four kids instead of six?

And at the same time, we don’t know for sure what this year will look like. Will the universities decide to switch back to virtual classes? Will we parents keep working from home? Will our kids have more activity choices or fewer? Who knows.

We have the usual questions, too: Will everyone like their math activities this year? How fast are the kids going to read through their book lists? Are all the good markers about to run out of ink?

I like questions with answers, and these have none.


I like to know what’s going to happen. I like to have a plan, I like to have a backup plan, and then I like to have a contingency plan for my backup plan.

I like to have a mental list of everything that might happen, because if I know what might happen, maybe I can control it?

Except, of course, that I can’t. I can’t control what’s going to happen any more than I can control the weather.

I don’t know what might happen. I don’t have all the answers.

But this is what I do know. This is what I’m telling myself right now:

You don’t need to have all the answers. Trust yourself to keep moving forward.

You have done hard things before, and you can do this, too.

You can handle this, whether “this” means staying informed and engaged, or making difficult choices, or explaining that the square of a hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the sides. (I don’t know why it is, it just is.)

Because things ARE different now

You can do this. And you can let go of some of the anxiety about what might happen, because you can trust yourself to respond to whatever does happen.

That’s the plan for this year. Not trying to pretend everything is back to “normal,” and not needing to predict or control how things go, either—just trusting that we’ll handle whatever happens, when it happens.

We can do this. That’s what I know. We’ll figure the rest out as we go.

What’s Your Homeschool Mom Personality? Take Jamie’s quiz now and receive a free personality report to help you organize your homeschool based on what your personality type needs most!