How to Overcome Homeschool Senioritis and Make it to Graduation
Don't let senior slump keep your teenager from finishing well. Here are ways to prevent senioritis or at least minimize its effects so that you and your teen can make it successfully to a homeschool graduation.
Urge your teen to be on the lookout for signs of laziness and disinterest to self-diagnose senioritis so you don’t have to!
Restlessness, lethargy, apathy, carelessness -- if you see these signs in your teen six to nine months prior to high school graduation, you may have a case of senioritis on your hands! Homeschoolers are certainly not immune to this common malady.
In their zeal to transition out of the high school years into adulthood, twelfth graders may check out mentally and emotionally well prior to homeschool graduation, leaving parents wondering what happened to their typically diligent and motivated child! Here are ways to prevent senioritis or at least lessen its damaging effects.
Place Responsibility Where it Lies
First of all, the burden lies on your teen to avoid the senior slump. You can nudge and nag, but it’s up to your teen to make the choice to finish well. So discuss the possibility of senioritis well before it rears its head and have a plan of attack that your teenager is willing to implement. Urge your teen to be on the lookout for signs of laziness and disinterest to self-diagnose senioritis so you don’t have to!
Once the college acceptance letters and financial aid offers are flowing in, it’s easy to become complacent. But remind your teen that second semester grades still matter! College offers can be rescinded.
Don’t Coast, Parents
Although the bottom line responsibility falls to your teen, you still have work to do besides paying for college application fees, ordering the diploma, and planning a graduation party! It’s easy to coast through the senior year as a homeschool parent, thinking you are home free. After all, by this time your child is a fully independent learner who will soon be living in a college dorm, far from home. He may have a job, a car, and a great GPA. But you still need to be aware of what’s going on with homeschool coursework.
Stay on top of your job as a homeschool parent by having weekly check-ins with your teen when you discuss upcoming due dates for schoolwork and deadlines for the college application process. In most cases, the knowledge that your child will have a weekly check-in with you is enough to keep him on his toes.
Set Large and Small Goals
During those check-ins, discuss the goals your teen has set for graduation and beyond. Of course, your teen is already focused on graduation. In fact, obsession with that one day can contribute to senioritis. Twelfth graders imagine that single day is going to erase all of their problems and usher in a new reality of bliss. So instead of focusing only on that one event, keep your eyes on the smaller goalposts that escort your teen to that graduation day.
By working towards the daily, weekly, and nine-weeks’ goals, your teenager will avoid much of the sting of senioritis. In the same way, remind your teen that she has goals beyond graduation that she is working toward today. No matter her post-graduation plans, what she does today makes a difference. Help her make those connections whether it’s working to save money for a car or learning calculus to be able to do well in college math courses.
Disenchantment, whether it is a minor disappointment or a major shock, is the signal that things are moving into transition in our lives. - William Throsby Bridges
Plan Little Rewards
Homeschooling seniors can get burned out from a busy schedule of classes, extracurricular pursuits, and work. The college application process is draining, and even the fun parts of being a senior such as prom and parties can still sap energy reserves. Make sure to factor in periods of rest so that your teenager doesn’t crash in late winter or early spring.
Setting small, personal rewards throughout the year will help a senior stay motivated. They can be simple things like family trips, church events, or birthday celebrations. Anything that helps teens see the remaining nine months as a series of positive points and reachable goals will forestall senioritis. So pull out that calendar, and plot all of the positives your teen has to look forward to prior to and after graduation.
Stay Away from Sources of Contagion
Senioritis is contagious, so encourage your senior to avoid friends who are infected or are showing signs of becoming infected. Again, this responsibility will lie with your teen, so discuss it in the fall well before the malady has presented itself. Senioritis usually begins in February and hits its peak in March and April right before graduation.
If a little senioritis creeps in, don’t worry too much. It’s merely a sign that your child is ready to leave high school behind and make the next big leap in life. You and your teen will weather this transition just like the others in the last eighteen years.