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Logistics of Starting a Teen Homeschool Group


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I have taken over a local homeschool group. A lot of the families have teens, but the teens don't usually show up. Maybe they came once, but no other teens showed up so they didn't come back next time etc. I want to build up my dd11's group of homeschooling friends and am thinking of starting a monthly preteen/teen art club. All of the events our group does involve the parents staying and supervising their own kids. I am imagining this group more as a drop off activity with a couple of chaperones. In this situation, how would you handle liability? Say a teenager sneaks off and smokes in the bathroom or something?  Would you have parents sign a waiver/permission slip? Am I over thinking this and is that unnecessary? 

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I was never successful getting a teenager thing going. Based on my experience the teens don't want anything to do with the preteens. I wish you success in your endeavor.

In my area the teens were few and far between. Most went back to school for high school. The ones who were left, my teens didn't connect with. At one point they refused to go to anything because it was always overrun with younger kids. They were tired of being the oldest. Once they hit high school 13 year olds were in the young kid category.

We ended up doing our own thing with a couple of friends through the high school years.

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Hmm. So far in our little area, we have teen parties (organized and scheduled by the teens with hosting parent's support) - regular party situation where other parents expect some level of oversight. No assurances of kids nor doing what kids do.

There's a tween group, but it is more of a girl party vibe and always run by the same mom.

I, personally, would just set up your expectations and if a kid can't handle them, they aren't allowed back. But we have a pretty small group. If someone is being mean or inappropriate, word gets around fast.

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IME, it’s difficult to do what you’re proposing. The standards of what is acceptable can vary greatly between families. So, Mom A gets huffy that one girl constantly wears “short shorts” or tops that don’t cover her bra strap. Or Mom B thinks the kids should have to surrender their phones when they arrive. Or Mom C doesn’t want two of the teens developing a relationship. Or Mom D will not approve any movie you propose to show. 

And I haven’t even touched on whatever your expectations might be. I personally have found it difficult to have several teens in my house if I did not know them/their families well, because I don’t know whether to make myself scarce so they can be natural or buzz around because I want to monitor what’s going on there. 

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I think as the parent of an 11 year old as your oldest, it's hard to be the figure head for a truly teen group.  Right now, I'd focus on activities for like 9-13 year olds.  When your 11 year old gets to be 13 and especially if your 13 year old is well into puberty and is mature, you will draw the teens.   My 13 year old daughter could easily pass for 16.  She would not want to go to a group that had many 11 year olds.  When they get to that point, you will know it.  My older son rolled with mixed ages for longer than my daughter.  And I don't say this to be difficult, but teens can be very fussy about their peer group.

We do have active teen groups here.  I think the most popular groups meet at a place that has open space for board games if you have something like that available.  I'd want to get to know some teens and their families first before inviting them over to my house for a regular drop off activity.

 

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We were part of a teen group for several years that was a great experience. It was not drop-off. Each teen had to have a parent (or other adult) present, but often people would agree to serve as the responsible adult for other kids. Like, I'll do it this month if you'll do it next month kind of thing. Since there were always several other parents there, it was actually a nice social experience for parents as well, and the organizers did not have to be responsible for behavior and safety. Each parent decided for themselves what was okay and what wasn't. 

There weren't many "rules" beyond that except that drugs and alcohol were absolutely banned.

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Yeah I'd probably just start a group around the age of your oldest kid and it might turn into a teen group when people get to know each other.

And then maybe not though.  These things are tricky unfortunately.  What I've found is teens often don't want these sorts of groups OR a lot of people stop homeschooling in high school. 

 

 

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The teens age seem to be when group participation dropped off here too.  But, a few of us moms would plan special events -- either at our homes (especially if it's a one-time deal), or maybe at a public place (a church basement, or sometimes a home) for maybe a once-a-week for a month special class that someone would teach (usually in something like art, drawing, etc.).  Often a mom or two would stay and help.  We did a once-a-year progressive dinner for teens which was fun.  These were all mostly social events with the exception of the art classes (or whatever they were), but even the classes were always more of a fun class where talking was allowed as they worked on projects together.

We were especially close to a couple families, where the ages of our kids all lined up pretty well.  The moms and I were close too.  With those families, we'd often plan all day events at each other's home, or go hiking together, on picnics, cross-country skiing, etc.  Sometimes those smaller groups as teens are the nicest.  Those are some of our kids' fondest homeschooling memories.

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We were never successful in getting or keeping a teen group going. I had expected the kids from our homeschool group to just continue to socialize, but too many kids stopped homeschooling at high school, either going to brick and mortar school or doing cyber-charter at home - which may still be homeschooling but changes the availability of the students.  Plus, they formed a new group among their schoolmates, irl and virtual.  Also, interests became more specialized, it seemed. Sports kids wanted to do sports, and non-sports kids would stay away. 

Also, parents would bring younger kids along, and as typically happens, the activities would end up being geared to the youngers, or the youngers would annoy the teens, and since the teens could be home alone, they would just stop coming. 

I hope you can work something out!  Lack of a group in the teen years is one of the big regrets of my homeschool mom career, even though it wasn't really within my control. 

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I think you guys are right that the older teens won't really participate. My real goal is to get a group of preteens/young teens together on a regular basis and have them build real friendships before we reach the stage where most teens stop participating. I think I would leave the age range as 11 and up but expect only younger kids to show up. 

As a former Girl Scout leader and Sunday School teacher, my concern is do I need to make some sort of permission slip for a drop off group like this to protect myself (not from smoking probably lol but maybe someone having an allergic reaction or some other freak accident). I was thinking of meeting in a room at a public library and asking the parents to hang around at the library during the group but maybe not in the room (except for 2 or 3 adults to facilitate)?

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I think I'd just be clear with parents that ultimately you aren't responsible.  I personally would have no issue with that.  My expectations of you would be very minimal.  Like if my kid had a serious problem you'd call me (if he didn't have his phone).  And only that.  KWIM? 

I let my teens go out on their own so this wouldn't be much different to me.

 

 

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When our homeschool group does teen events, we allow drop-off for our members. We allow non-members’ teens at some events, but as of yet, we have not allowed them to drop their teens off. We also only allow actual teens. Our group’s general policies require two unrelated adults at all activities, so that means we also always have at least two adults at teen events even if other parents drop their teens off. It hasn’t been an issue for us so far, but we will definitely be keeping an eye on things and making adjustments as we go.

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