Learning with Teens

I presented this weekend at the HEA's National Homeschool Conference online, and there were quite a few questions around learning for teens and pathways to further education.  

Our older children are now aged 18 to 28.  They had a lot of say in their education during their teen years, which was organised during a meeting with them 1:1 each January (at least).  We'd write down goals including social, travel, formal qualifications, other learning such as driving lessons, specific topics they wanted to dive deeper into, sport and recreation opportunities and more.   These wholistic plans represented our family culture of a rich learning environment, acknowledged that all learning is valuable, and did not focus only on formal education.  I typed them up in pretty colours and put them on their bedroom walls as a reminder!

As well as enrolling in a certificate course or starting an apprenticeship by around 16 years of age, our children, between them, engaged in the following:
* reading the classics and non-fiction
* watching documentaries and films
* reading series of fiction books
* writing their own books, songs, poetry and plays
* drawing, growing, cooking and otherwise creating
* learning and playing musical instruments, performing, busking
* performing in local theatre productions
* attending camps and courses in drama, gymnastics and social connection
* working part time
* volunteering
* learning online
... and more

                                                                                           Photo by John Schnobrich on Unsplash

Being able to access educational content online was beneficial to our teens.  They discovered that almost anything they wanted to know could be found on the internet, often for a very low price or free. Not only did a lot of this informal learning help them to discover their future study and work pathways, having the time to explore their options and preferences was invaluable.

Here are some of our favourites online learning options:
Khan Academy - especially for Maths!
MOOCs: Massive Online Open Courses - such as Coursera, Udemy, Alison and OpenLearn
TED Talks and TEDx
Outschool (who have many Aussie options these days including Australian teachers) - great for 1:1 and group learning, tutoring, and social connection for learners aged 3 to 18

                                                                                         Photo by Christin Hume on Unsplash

Most of our children completed a certificate course in the field they wanted to study at university, and/or did a university preparation course.  Some examples of these preparation courses can be found here. Between us (I did one too) we've accessed them through UTAS, JCU, CQU, UNE, and Curtin.  These courses exposed them to academic writing, online learning platforms, time management, meeting deadlines, group work, study habits, and more. To find suitable certificate courses we searched online, asked others for recommendations, and asked universities for their preferred pathways.

I aim to launch an online course early in 2023 with more detail about home educating teenagers because this has been my most popular topic at conferences and workshops, and most of my coaching clients are parents of teens.  Meanwhile, I hope these resources are of use to your family.  Please email me if I can assist you further.


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