Image Source: Unsplash
By Katie B
Homeschooling has often been stereotyped as being rigid, straightforward, and in some cases, isolating for certain families. But, no one can deny the benefits. Homeschooling provides academic flexibility so students can meet their current needs and grow according to their individual learning styles.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents had to turn to homeschooling to keep up with their children’s education, and upon seeing some of those benefits, decided to keep their kids at home.
If you’re homeschooling a teenager, you don’t need to fall into the stereotypes. Homeschooling can be incredibly fun and hands-on. Don’t be afraid to be unconventional with your methods and focus on creating lessons that will better enhance your teen’s homeschooling career. Let’s take a look at a few of those unconventional subjects/tactics. You might end up having just as much fun as your teen as you both learn a little bit more about the subjects that matter most.
Math and Science Out of the Box
Math and science are some of the most important subjects a teenager can learn, but it’s also not uncommon for some to struggle with them. Thankfully, you don’t necessarily need to stick with a textbook or practice problems for your teens to learn how to apply these subjects to their everyday lives.
One of the best ways to improve their math skills is to teach them about money. Take a “field trip” to the grocery store, and talk to them about budgeting along the way. Start with a budget at the beginning of your shopping trip, and allow them to pick out products you need while taking away from that budget each time. Not only will it teach them basic math skills, but they’ll also learn about the importance of saving money and how it works in the real world. As teens, your teens can learn about these same principles along with the importance of credit, and how they can build it. You can help them with things like:
- Applying for a credit card;
- Showing them how to use the card for basic expenses;
- Using credit rewards;
- Understanding interest rates and paying on time.
Teaching budgeting to teenagers isn’t always easy. When they have their own bank account and credit card, it’s a more hands-on approach that can help them understand the importance of saving and spending faster.
When it comes to environmental science and sustainability, let your teens spend more time outside! Nature is a fantastic way to reduce stress, improve focus and creativity, and boost everyone’s energy. It’s also the ideal place to educate your teen about the environment around them. Consider going on nature hikes and exploring different plants and animals. Or, start a backyard vegetable garden. You can create lessons on how plants grow and the elements they need to thrive. When it comes time to harvest, you can bring your science lessons indoors and let your “students” help you cook a meal using various measurements and helping them understand certain reactions.
History and Current Events
It’s essential for teens to know what’s going on in the world around them. Unfortunately, today’s news outlets and social media platforms can be overwhelming and even scary as they bombard you with current events. Often, those events are tainted by opinions, and they might sway your teen’s perspective one way or another.
While you should absolutely let your teens watch the news in moderation, make sure you’re discussing things with them based on what they see. You can tie in current events to historical ones and turn those discussions into lessons about the past, present, and future.
You can take things one step further by allowing them to listen to audiobooks based on historical events, or have the occasional “movie day” where you watch documentaries about notable moments in U.S. and world history. If you have a little extra time, consider turning your family vacations into learning experiences by visiting famous sites and locations where major historical moments occurred.
In a traditional school environment, physical education is nothing more than another class in your teen’s schedule. When you homeschool, it can become a part of nearly everything they do. It’s one of the best ways to practice “unschooling”, by letting your teen learn through natural processes. Some days, your physical education time might include structured activities like:
- Playing a sport;
- Jogging or walking;
- Jumping rope;
- Doing a workout video.
Other days, you can think outside of the box when it comes to your teens’ physical activity. Let them run around the backyard and do some natural exploring, or have them play an outdoor game with their siblings. Not only will it increase their activity, but it will give them time and freedom to relax and play. Helping them stay physically active will boost productivity, keep them focused, and boost their overall mental well-being.
Obviously, these unconventional methods are just the tip of the iceberg. How you choose to homeschool your teen is up to you, but make sure you aren’t boxing yourself in. Consider how your teens learn best, and it will be easier to come up with effective tactics that will keep them interested and engaged every day.