Summer is the perfect time to build a closer relationship with your teenager! Most of us (even those who homeschool year-round) have a more relaxed schedule during the summer. That means you probably have more “down time” and less time with scheduled activities and commitments. This makes summer a perfect time to work on building a closer relationship with your teenager!
My youngest child is now 17 years old. It’s hard to believe that she only has one year left in our homeschool! I’ve homeschooled for 23 years, and in one short year, our lives will drastically change. Because I know my time with her is short, I want to make the most of it. For that reason, I started thinking about ways to spend this summer building a stronger relationship with her.
Spend Time Reading Together
One of my daughter’s and my favorite ways to spend time together is reading! We have both loved to read for as long as we can remember. When I was a child, I spent hours and hours reading books. I particularly loved summer because I had extra time to read while school was out. Because my daughter homeschools, she’s always had more time to read than I did when I was growing up, and I’m thankful she’s had that time. We’ve read books together for many years too. It definitely gets harder to make time when our children become teens, but it’s completely worth making the time to read together!
I encourage you to spend some time this summer reading to your children–even if they’re teens! In a few short years, they will leave the nest and begin living their own lives. Yes, this is exactly what we want them to do! But we also want to make the most of their last few years at home, and reading together is a wonderful way to learn more about each other and form bonds that will last forever.
Suggestions for Books to Read with Your Teen
If you and your teen have a stack of books waiting to be read, grab one that looks good and start reading! If you’d like some suggestions, though, for books you might not have otherwise considered, take a look at the list below. Because most teens and adults are a little more discriminating about what you enjoy reading, I’m not listing specific books. Instead, I’m providing guidelines for ways to choose books you might want to read together. If you have some great suggestions for specific books, please be sure to leave them in the comments!
Choose a book that:
- has been on your to-be-read list for more than a year.
- has been on your teen’s to-be-read-list for more than a year.
- was popular the year you were born.
- was popular the year your teen was born.
- was popular the year you graduated from high school.
- was popular the year you got married.
- you loved as a teen.
- you read in your high school English or literature class.
- you’ve never heard of until you started looking for books to read for this challenge.
- was written by an author you’ve previously enjoyed.
- was recommended by a friend.
- has a movie adaptation. (Be sure to watch the movie after you finish the book!)
- fits into the self-help category.
- is by an author neither of you has read before.
- is a genre you don’t usually read.
Invite Another Family to Join with You
If you want to add an extra element of fun and accountability to your summer reading with your teen, ask another family to join the challenge with you! You may decide to set a certain number of pages or chapters to read each week. Then have a book club meeting (either in person or a live online meeting, etc.) to talk about the book once you’re finished. Or you may choose to have weekly or monthly meetings while you’re in the process of reading. Do whatever works for you!
Have a Meal to Go with Your Book’s Theme
Plan a book club meeting that includes a meal with dishes from the time period in which your book takes place. Or maybe your book takes place in another country, and you’d like to make and eat food that is traditional in that country.
No matter how many or how few books you read with your teen this summer or whether you read with friends or just you and your teen, you’ll be glad you spent this time together. In fact, you’ll most likely savor these memories for years and years to come. Hopefully your teen will remember reading with you and will choose to read with his or her own children and teens one day too!