Letting Your Teen Take a Front Seat in Lesson Planning {Not Back to School Blog Hop}

Day Two of Not Back to School Blog Hop has me thinking about how EJ has become more involved in choosing the topics we will study and how we will accomplish this. Of course, there are certain considerations we have to make since we do travel for much of the year but he still eager to influence what he is learning. And maybe this is part of what makes him want to learn different things. He does like to study things he reads about in local newspapers and the things he sees during our travels. I try to ensure he follows a format and some regularity while allowing him independence to choose his own direction. He seems to have a much easier time focussing on his work and overcoming his ADHD symptoms this way.

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One fairly recent instance of being in a location when a memorable event took place was being in Houston when President George H.W. Bush passed away. We changed our plans to stay in the area and were able to see the President being carried on the special train to his final resting place. During the week we did a lot of studying about the president and his life. Being Canadian EJ knows about the very famous presidents like Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, and Teddy Roosevelt but President Bush was long retired from office when EJ was born so he didn’t really hear about him in the news either so he was eager to learn all he could and soaked up all the special programming that was available during that time.


There are also times when we work together to find a theme or a particular angle to use when studying as we travel. Last year we had the opportunity to spend a number of weeks on the Gulf Coast and visit several historic homes and villages while there. Since I knew we had this trip planned I made sure to take advantage of our visit to the Canadian Museum of Human Rights to begin learning about the Acadians who were deported and exiled from their homes in Atlantic Canada. Many of these families ended up settling in Louisiana and becoming known as Cajuns thus helping to mold the culture of that beautiful area.


We not only studied the history and culture of the area but also worked in the epic poem of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Evangeline. We even visited the Evangeline tree while we were there. A nice way to work what can be a bit of an unpopular topic with your boys and help make the characters seem real.

One topic that we often work into our lessons is the Corps of Discovery, the Lewis and Clark Expedition. We have managed to visit several of the interpretive centers along the trail and learn about the experiences in that area. Although this is one single topic, it spans the country and is easily adapted to going further in studying the expansion of the country to the west. This is also an area that helps teach about the relationship of our two countries since the Louisiana Purchase did take in the land north of the 49th Parallel that was agreed on as our joint border by the Convention of 1818. (EJ was pleased to learn this included the town where his great gramma, my mom, was born.)


The Lewis and Clark Expedition covers history, science, and social studies as we learn about their discoveries and how they worked with the First Nations People on their journey. Writing essays about a particular incident or interpreting a journal entry can easily bring language arts into our lessons and math can be integrated by figuring out distances and supplies needed to travel that distance. A giant unit study really.

When you ask him, EJ will tell you he just likes to learn about the different places we go to. He can’t really put his finger on what he wants to learn but he knows he wants to know more about the place and the people who live there. He also likes to learn about the wildlife in the region and the type of crops farmers grow there.

When traveling in Georgia he was excited to see nut trees and cotton growing along the side of the interstate. We stopped and visited a local farm shop and had a great time looking at the different things that could be grown as well as seeing cotton on their plants and realize this could one day be batting for one of my quilts or even spun into the thread that socks are made from. Again, a lot more interesting to see things up close and, possibly, getting to hold them in your hand and see how they feel.


After driving through nut farms and seeing almond trees we visited Blue diamond Almonds where EJ learned how they are harvested and processed

I am always impressed when we are in a store and EJ points out to me how something works or where he saw the item growing. It pleases me to see that he is learning and remembering what he learns on our travels. The remembering is a challenge with his ADHD but he is working hard to find ways to get past it. Rewarding him for his hard work and ingenuity for allowing him more freedom in his lessons is the least I can do.

Hope you are having fun following along with my other crew members as they share various parts of their homeschooling life. Here are just a few of them:

CREW @ Homeschool Review Crew2019 Annual Not Back to School Homeschool Blog Hop

Monique D. @ Early Learning MomHomeschooling With Autism

Yvie @ Homeschool On the Range 5 Days of Upper Grades Homeschooling

Abby @ Making Room 4 One More – Time Management for Homeschool Moms

Amanda @ Hopkins Homeschool5 Days of Homeschool Questions

Amy @ the WRITE BalanceYear-Round Schooling

Day 2 Blog Hop

2 thoughts on “Letting Your Teen Take a Front Seat in Lesson Planning {Not Back to School Blog Hop}”

  1. Lori says:

    We have also found that it is really important to allow teens to have a say in what they are learning. Sounds like he has learned some really interesting things. Glad you were able to change plans to allow for a little more time to see President Bush. He was a great man.

  2. Kristen says:

    That is a great way to learn – studying about where you are visiting, have been, or going. Not much different than exploring articles online or books in the library. So glad you were able to incorporate his love of learning into your homeschooling journey.

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