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Book Review: Homeschooled Teens by Sue Patterson

What do 75 homeschooled teens say about their lives?

Book Review of Homeschooled Teens at Lisa Nalbone.comSue Patterson lets us hear their voices in her new book Homeschooled Teens: 75 young people speak about their lives without school.

Sue created a survey of 30 questions covering many aspects of the life of a  homeschooled teen that we parents – and teens- considering homeschooling wonder or worry about. She collated data from 75 respondents from across the US, and a few from Canada, Israel, and Puerto Rico, aged 15-39 who shared their experiences and reflections. Three of the respondents are Sue’s adult children, homeschooled in Alaska, California, and Texas and are clear examples of how we can allow and support our children to follow their interests and learn in the best ways for them. 

The preface gives a concise view of the arc of homeschooling history and where Sue’s family fits. She talks about her worries, and how reassuring it was to hear from the vibrant, engaged teens when she attended homeschool conferences. She knows not everyone can make it to a conference and that conferences typically only happen once a year. In her book, she is the moderator giving you an opportunity to sit in on a panel of teens sharing their experiences– without leaving your home, at any time of year.

What do the homeschooled teens address?

The book is organized by the questions answered which are divided into the categories of:

  • Getting to know them
  • Learning,
  • Social Life,
  • Extracurriculars,
  • Family life,
  • Post high school
  • Future plans

Sue starts by giving us context for each respondent as she introduces the respondents and their approach to homeschooling.

Sue briefly introduces each section with explanations, examples and her insights. She quickly turns it over the kids, so we hear their voices, and their perspective on their experience.  I especially appreciated the graphics visually representing the responses.

I could easily imagine their voices, especially as I know a few of the respondents. I wished at times, as at a conference, that I could raise my hand and ask a question for clarification, or look forward to a more in-depth discussion in the hallway after the panel. At times, I was frustrated by not being able to read one person’s reflections or answers all in one place to help me better remember who was who.

I loved the range of perspectives, especially hearing the reflections from the people, further along, their life path. With a clear, compassionate voice Sue provides a window into the variety of ways that teens can learn and thrive without school from the perspective that homeschooling clearly is the best choice for teens.

The pressing question is, with so many ways to learn, myriad opportunities for teens to engage in the world, numerous advantages for teens develop with less stress and better emotional health, why keep our teens in school?

And finally, to quote Sue’s words from the preface, from pages x-xi:

It is my hope that this book will reassure other families who are frustrated with the school system but worry that a dark cloud will hover over their teen if they choose to home educate. I want parents to see that homeschooling is not just an option for younger children. In fact, when a parent takes a good look at what’s happening in high schools across the country, watching their teens withdraw and feel powerless in their own lives, I want to fling open the school doors and help them release their teen. The whole world is waiting to engage with them–there’s no reason to continue with an antiquated system that is doing more damage than good.

Choosing to homeschool allows these teen years to be a true transition into adulthood with parents walking alongside, offering resources and guidance.  It’s my hope that Homeschooled Teens gives you the information you need to bolster your courage and step into this fabulous adventure with your teenager!

Now, over to you,

Are you thinking about homeschooling your teen?

What questions or concerns do you have?

Have you homeschooled teens or are you doing so now? What is your perspective?

What words of wisdom can you share?

Please add your voices in the comments!  Thanks, Lisa.


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