Just thinking about homeschooling your teenage child may be enough to make your brain buzz, but it doesn’t have to be complicated or difficult. The keys are in choosing the right curriculum for your teen’s learning style and in helping her learn independently.
Here are a few of the most popular choices for young home scholars. Keep in mind, however, that what suits your teen at the beginning of one year may not be the best choice for the next year. That’s fine. Flexibility is important when kids are growing quickly.
The Perpetual Reader
If your child always has his e-reader along and thinks that a trip to the library is a real treat, your homeschooling job is really nearly done. You’ve awakened a love of learning through the most common method of instruction and college will be a fairly small step. For these kids, try:
The Charlotte Mason Method
First popularized in Britain in the late 1800s, this method relies on nature studies and what are referred to as ‘living books’, those that are well-written and engaging, as opposed to dry textbooks that present facts in an unappetizing manner. She stressed self-discipline and learning for its own sake. A short introduction and curriculum ideas can be found at Ambleside Online .
As expounded in the book A Well-Trained Mind, Classical Education is based on learning through language-based, age-appropriate instruction. Study is rigorous and scholarly. Check out The Well-Trained Mind website for an overview.
Sonlight is specifically Christian, but often adapted by those who do not follow that belief system. They are in line with the Charlotte Mason approach, but they are somewhat more rigorous academically. They also offer a very complete, day-by-day teacher’s guide with all activities planned, as well as selling curriculum packages with all necessary materials. This curriculum is very literature-based.
The Activity-Oriented Student
These kids thrive on constant activity and need more than just books to transfer ideas into their minds.
This method of study is more commonly used in earlier levels. It involves using a variety of types of educational input . It is usually based on ‘living books’, and includes many types of activities. A lesson in history might include reading historical novels, making food common to the era, making a craft from the time, watching a video and writing a story set in the time period. Trisms are a good example of a well-thought-out unit study available commercially.
The Visual Learner
Some kids need to see to make the connections.
Video and Computer Learning
There are several online high schools, some of are considered public schools and paid for in some states. These include K12 and EPGY . Some states even have their own online schools.
Khan Academy is an example of an excellent video curriculum that can be used as a supplement to texts or websites. The videos are free to all. The Teaching Company sells high school and college level videos that feature excellent lecturers on many subjects.
Open Source Texts
Many open source textbooks have both a print and a video component. These include CK12 and Curriki. A major advantage is that texts and lessons on both sites are free.
The Orderly Ones
A more traditional routine keeps these youngsters happy.
Traditional Classroom Style
This sometimes works well for young ones who did well in regular school, or who need the structure of normal classroom routine. Search out traditional school books and teacher’s guides and set up a timed schedule if it suits you. One limitation is that this takes no advantage of a child’s interest in a subject. It does, however, allow for flexibility in grade levels.
Online or local College
Many high-school age people are ready to take at least one college course per semester, and more and more colleges are ready to accept younger students. This can be a very good choice for those who are mature enough to handle it.
The Eclectic Approach
A little of this, a little of that works well here.
Allow students to set their own goals and make their own learning plans. This seems like it would be a recipe for chaos, but for many families it works very well. Kids do realize that adulthood is coming, and giving them the freedom to control their own destiny can allow them to find a path to the life of their own choosing. For an introduction, go to Unschooling.com
Teach basic subjects for part of the day, then leave the remainder for personal projects and learning experiences. This provides the flexibility for the more creative learner while providing a bit of structure and reassurance that all basics are covered.
Sit down with your teen and discuss the options. Happy Homeschooling!