Stick to your guns. Now for the hard part! Help your teen develop self-discipline. See that he follows the schedule. If he's used to giving excuses for why he didn't get around to doing his writing assignment, make him write first thing each morning. Hold him accountable and don't let him off the hook! 

Follow through. Likewise, if follow-through hasn't been your strong suit, recommit yourself to helping prepare your student for college by teaching and overseeing writing assignments and adhering to deadlines. If he knows you won't check up on him, he'll continue to fritter away his time. But if he realizes you're going to hold his feet to the fire and impose consequences for incomplete work, he'll improve his performance. 

You'll both be much happier in the end, and just imagine the joy of being able to say you reached your goal! 

Kim Kautzer loves to help parents feel more confident about teaching writing. WriteShop (, her unique and successful writing program, has been honored as one of Cathy Duffy's 100 Top Picks for Homeschool Curriculum. The Kautzers, who live in southern California, homeschooled for fifteen years. Two of their three children are university graduates, and their son is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in theology. Kim blogs about writing at


Copyright 2009. Originally appeared in The Old Schoolhouse Magazine, Winter 2009/10. Used with permission. Visit them at For all your homeschool curriculum needs visit the Schoolhouse Store.