Thursday, June 30, 2011

Connect With Your Teens without Spending Much Money

Oh my stars, I read so much that I can never remember where I read something. Likewise, I cannot remember how I stumbled upon The Homeschool Jungle. But Jana has a great site, there, and we agreed to swap posts since summer is always a hectic season. So, with no more rambling from me, I want to introduce Jana Miller.

Why is it that we spend so much time wishing them to grow up and then it happens and we are shocked?

Start a Hobby

I took up blogging 5 years ago when my son was 12. He was always entrepreneurial minded. I knew I needed to help that grow. I knew he would look at what I was doing and get interested in making some extra money. My goal starting out was for him to have some kind of business that would provide him passive income during college. I had to go and learn about blogging and how to make money online so that I could inspire him. Through the whole process, we found a hobby we both enjoyed. We always have ideas to bounce off each other. One woman I know became an expert in baseball and all the statistics involved in order to connect with her teenage son who loved baseball. That was my mom. She set a good example for me.

It’s Always about Food

This doesn’t have to mean junk food but it can. My son and I meet friends at the farmer’s market every Sunday morning. We shop and talk and pick up healthy food. The other day, Chase said, “I didn’t go out with my friends for fast food because I knew we had so much good food here at home.” Of course I love that he likes my food but I also get to sit and talk with him while he eats. This doesn’t mean having to spend extra money but simply having things that my kids prefer to eat, and choosing to stop what I’m doing.


Ask them what they are reading. This won’t work if your kids never read. But it’s the rare homeschooler that doesn’t like some sort of reading. Then take time to read the books they like. My older son had read, Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller. Then my younger son read it. So I picked it up and after reading it, I was able to have some lengthy conversation about God and formulas and what they think about Christianity for their generation. I lucked out…..I really don’t like fantasy fiction so it would have been a stretch to try and read some of the other books my son enjoys.

Teach Me

It’s a humbling experience. But I make it a habit to ask my kids to teach me things. Even if it’s something I pretty much know how to do. Most often this involves the computer, a printer or a cell phone. When they are able to teach me, we connect on a different level. They feel great about being the expert and they are able to see their strengths. You can start this when your children are young and they will become more teachable as adults.

How do you connect with your teens?

Jana Miller is a freelance writer and creator of The Homeschool Jungle, a website to encourage new home school families. Her first e-book came out earlier this year, The Homeschool Jungle: Get Started Homeschooling Today. She has been homeschooling her sons for the past 10 years. Her older son just finished his first year at Wheaton College outside Chicago and her younger son will graduate from high school in 2012. She admits to liking red meat and full-fat dairy products. She lives with her family in Orange County, California.

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