Let your high school students take ownership of their education. This is a simple statement that takes quite a bit of time to finally accomplish. What I mean to say is that the process of handing the responsibility over to your student is done gradually rather than in one fell swoop. It often begins long before high school when adults ask our children what they want to ‘do’ or ‘be’ when they grow up. The first identification of our student’s likes, skills, and desires can be the stepping stones on their journey to personal responsibility.
Our daughter liked to write, talk, and plan. Her communication skills were obvious to us all as early as 2 1/2 years of age. She negotiated like a pro. It was no surprise that she would veer toward communication fields. In junior high school we opened opportunities to her to take leadership roles that involved public speaking. She became involved in teen court as an attorney, was the emcee at our annual talent night performances, and hosted our service banquet. In high school we let her choose her courses and held her accountable to get her work done in a timely manner.
In contrast, I was more lenient with my younger children and often did for them that which I had expected from my eldest. I chose their classes and set their schedule. I held more tightly to their academic plans. They did finally take over the responsibility of their education, but it was only after I grew overwhelmed and realized that I was actually hindering their progress rather than enabling them to succeed on their own.
I give you both examples, because I don’t want you to think that I have always done the right thing. I also want to encourage parents carrying the burden for their older students that it is not too late to make some changes. It really is a disservice to our children to baby them.
Slowly hand the reigns over to your high school students, and watch them learn to take the lead in their own education.