One of my favorite things about homeschooling is the freedom it allows my kids to explore their passions and interests. Watching them dive into subjects and learn all they can in ways that work for them has been so rewarding to witness. As a homeschool parent, my job is to be an educational opportunity provider. It's not my job to make sure my kids know everything that there ever is to know about every single subject in the world. Thank goodness, right?
As my kids have become teens, we've moved into interest-led homeschooling. I've cultivated a list of resources for you to check out if you have a teen and that likes technology, learning new skills, and exploring their interests.
Share this list with them and find something new and fun to add to their homeschool day.
- SkillShare: We came across Skillshare when my younger son, 13, was looking for classes on productivity (um, yes, please!). After doing loads of research on his own (score!), he came to me with a class on Skillshare with an instructor he found on Youtube. According to their website, Skillshare is "an online learning community with thousands of classes for creative and curious people, on topics including illustration, design, photography, video, freelancing, and more." Within a few minutes, we had an account set up and a two-week free trial. He was off and running and learned so much! With the huge variety of topics, your teen is bound to find something that piques their interest. They also have free classes and different membership options.
- MasterClass: I had been eyeing MasterClass for a year, so when a special membership price became available, I couldn't pass it up. Have you ever wanted to learn to cook from a professional chef? What about learning to write from a favorite author or develop a competitive mindset from a world-renowned athlete? MasterClass has a large catalog of online classes from everyone from Judy Blume, to Serena Williams, to Penn and Teller, to Dr. Jane Goodall. My son immediately got started on the Stephen Curry basketball class. Be sure to preview the classes for content, language, etc. Gordon Ramsey definitely might not be for younger teens and every family has their own comfort level with topics, etc. You can pick classes to watch together, which makes MasterClass a fun bonding experience with your teen while sneaking in some learning.
- Outschool: I've been singing the praises of Outschool for years. We've had nothing but positive experiences. As the company has continued to grow, so have its offerings. My kids have taken classes on government, Latin, drawing, sport card collecting, alligators, Walt Disney World, middle school writing, and more. It's my go-to for affordable classes that my kids actually enjoy. I love that they get to interact with a teacher and other students. The customer service is excellent as well.
- Scribd: If you have a teen who loves to read or listen to audiobooks, Scribd is a great subscription to have. For $9.99 per month, you have unlimited audiobooks, digital books, podcasts, and magazines, and news. You can try it free for 30 days and you can also pause your subscription when you're not using it. We've had our subscription for two years and it's been great to help on car rides, for book clubs, and more.
- Udemy: Again, we came across this resource when my younger son was doing research on online comic book writing classes. Udemy has loads of self-paced courses available. My son quickly found both comic book writing and comic book drawing classes and was able to work on them when he wanted to. And because you have lifetime access, you can revisit the classes whenever you need to as well.
- Soundtrap: Do you have a teen who loves making music? Check out Soundtrap! Your teen can play around with beats, loops, and more and even connect their own instruments. There is a free trial and then various payment plans. I was totally blown away by the music my son made.
- Canva: We love using Canva for all kinds of projects in our homeschool. My younger son took a graphic design class on Outschool and they learned to use Canva as well. In fact, he helps me with my own design projects now! Canva has lots of tutorials and helpful tips right on their website. My teens have made birthday cards, slides for class projects, screensavers, and more. Canva has a free and paid version.
- Flixier: Let's face it, teens love videos. Why not learn how to make and edit them? Flixier is a great program that can be used across a variety of platforms. My son has spent hours creating sports highlight videos with music, colors, special effects, and more. I've been amazed! You can find helpful tutorials as well.
I didn't put YouTube on the list above, but it is definitely something my teens use daily.
My younger son loves finding tutorials and has taught himself how to use programs on the list such as Canva, Flixier, and Soundtrap.
His twin sister finds all kinds of cooking shows, art tutorials, and craft projects there as well.
My oldest son is training to be an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) and has watched hours and hours of behind-the-scenes footage from real-world EMTs, medical procedure tutorials, and how to use various EMT equipment. In fact, his self-directed learning put him ahead of the other candidates in his class.
Partnering with your teen is crucial for successful homeschooling. With so many online resources available, they are bound to find something that piques their interests. Do you use online resources in your homeschool? Let us know!