Because I get asked about resources and classes for teens all of the time, I'm sharing a peek into what our 15-year-old twins are tackling this year. I'm grouping the list by subjects, and you will quickly notice that each teen has very different learning styles, methods, and "ways" that we approach their school.
Our family is in the final years of homeschooling. What started out as a trial run in preschool, turned into a long-haul educational experience (and experiment). Juggling three teens (the oldest who is graduating this coming spring) and twin 10th-graders, working from home, homeschool activities, social events, and everything that comes with this gig means we outsourced nearly all of 10th-grade for homeschooling.
My daughter is more of a traditional learner and plans out her weeks with me. I generally don't worry too much about what she's doing. Her twin brother has always been on more of an unschooling/self-directed path, and we're still figuring out what that looks like for high school.
I try to look at the big picture for each of them and know that instilling a love of learning, giving them space to pursue interests, and keeping physical, mental, and emotional health front and center will ultimately serve them as they move into the next stage of life.
That said, we do still have some box-checking to do and, well, it gets done. Mostly.
Right now, one of our goals for both of them is to dual enroll in a few community college classes in the next two years so they can work towards an associate degree of some sort. I do use a checklist of our primary state university system for college admissions requirements to help guide us as well.
With more and more teens homeschooling, colleges and universities are more open to alternative high school experiences. Also, college isn't for everyone, and college right after high school isn't for everyone either. We're keeping our options open!
Both twins are taking geometry this year. My son is continuing with Math U See and is taught (via GoogleMeet) by my mother-in-law, who is a former high school math teacher. She taught all three of my kids for four years, and it was an absolute delight and the best thing we ever did. Not only did all three kids get a solid math foundation, but they also had a great teacher and someone who was invested in their understanding.
My daughter decided to try Mr. D Math this year. She is doing the once-a-week live classes and then works on the assignments and turns them in on their site. She opted to go for the honors certificate too. So far, so good! She does reach out to Grandma when she needs some extra assistance.
My daughter asked for a deep dive into grammar this year and is using Mr. D's American English Grammar self-paced class. It's a lot, but we're figuring out how to make it work for her and how she learns best.
It covers tons of detailed material, and I love the vocabulary component. She is also doing a year-long teen book club with a few other local homeschooling teens. They meet once a month, and my friend (a fellow homeschool blogger too!) does a lovely job of curating the books and their conversations.
For my son, we chose to buckle down on basic writing skills. He is a prolific speaker and can tell you a story and recall all the details. He's taking an essay-writing class via Outschool and also does 1:1 writing tutoring with the same teacher, which has made a huge difference.
His confidence has soared, and he's doing MLA citations, research, and writing. We will continue with this same teacher and the second part of her class next semester. In addition, he reads a variety of books that interest him, and we visit the library quite often.
AP® US History is what my daughter chose (she's using Power Homeschool). Again, there is a lot of material. This is a video-based course, and she's slowly moving through it. She's learning to take notes, organize information, and sift through facts, people, events, and more.
There are a few projects and papers weaved in as well, and we will take our time going through this course. I do require my teens to do a year of U.S. History but work with them to create or find classes that best work their learning styles and objectives.
Her twin brother, also studying U.S. History, is taking a different approach. He is taking a yearlong Outschool class with his favorite teacher (shout-out to Mrs. F!). There are videos, some reading, and lots of class discussions.
On his own, he will research a topic that is interesting to him. For example, after a discussion about Jamestown, Virginia, he went to Google Maps and "explored" it, recalling the visit we made there back in 2016. He is also interested in current events and politics. He researches local, state, and national candidates. Because he learns best via audio and video, he watches and listens to debates, a variety of news sources, and podcasts, and we have lively conversations too.
Science has never been our strong suit at Wright at Homeschool. I've managed to pepper in a variety of science topics, experiences (and experiments), and classes when possible. This year, both twins are taking biology.
My daughter is using Power Homeschool, and her twin (who technically took biology last year but we ran into some scheduling issues and other things) is working through Crash Course Biology videos and this biology book. Our goal in the spring is to take an in-person biology lab course at our local homeschool center.
My daughter chose to study Spanish (via Power Homeschool) and so far, so good! She can move at her own pace, and we've added a Spanish workbook too. We will stick with this for the year and consider an in-person or a live class for her next school year.
My son has been studying American Sign Language (ASL) for the last year via Outschool classes, online videos, and books. We might look into a 1:1 tutor for the spring semester or a live class. ASL does count as a foreign language for our state's university foreign language requirements.
Both teens are taking Beyond Personal Finance and love it! They are attending an in-person class at our local homeschool center. The materials, videos, and content have been great and they are learning about taxes, savings, careers, and more.
This is a one-semester class, and I always recommend that teens take some sort of personal finance class in high school. We've had many discussions about the cost of adulting and raising children, college loans and tuition, and choosing careers. Highly recommend!
Our daughter is playing on our local homeschooling travel basketball team for the fifth year, and it is a big commitment. With practices two to three times a week starting in September, and games and tournaments lasting through mid-March, this is really her ONE extracurricular.
The good news is it's also a social outlet and she has cultivated sweet friendships over the years. On off days, the girls will get together for social events or just hang out at someone's house. Overall, it's been a good experience for her.
Her brother opted to step back from basketball this year, so we're still trying to get our footing. He recently discovered a love of fishing so we visit the lake around the corner from our home a few times a week so he can fish and I can take walks.
He's also getting CPR and AED certified and is looking to get a job next semester. Both teens have completed their driver's education and will be testing for their permits soon.
As you can see, we run the gamut of resources, classes, and approaches in our homeschooling high school years. One of the major reasons we stick with homeschooling is the flexibility it allows for each teen.
Every family approaches the high school years differently, and I always have to tell other parents to do what works for their teens. I've had to shift my mindset quite a bit over the last few years and embrace the fact that my children are living in a very different world than I was at their age.
Partnering with your homeschooled teen is critical. Don't be afraid to change courses (literally and figuratively), have some fun, and be ready with plenty of snacks along the way!