Thursday, January 3, 2019

Homeschooling the Teen Years - Our Favorite Resources

Drawing by E (age 14)
When it comes to teaching middle school and high school subjects, our problem has never been what to teach, but rather what to use to teach it.

There are so many fantastic, and often free, resources available, it can be hard to narrow in on which ones are the most beneficial.  We have a few fallbacks we've used over and over again, and few new "favorites" we've added into our studies this year, that are just too good not to share.


Khan Academy is definitely one of our fallbacks - mainly for math, but also for SAT practice.

No matter how many wonderful textbooks, apps, or video series we've tried for the various levels of high school math, we've always ended up back at His explanations are slow but thorough, and I appreciate the feature that encourages students to master a subject before they move on.

AAA Math is another perennial favorite of ours.  We started out using the site mainly for elementary and middle school math practice, but discovered along the way that it makes an excellent review site for students preparing for the Accuplacer test.


I really like Everything You Need to Ace Science in One Big Workbook: The Complete Middle School Study Guide from Workman Publishing (none of the links in this post are affiliate links - but rather just for your reference). They actually have an entire series of books...

...that are wonderful reference/overview resources for both middle school and high school students.  Not to mention, that the sections are divided up almost perfectly to go along with videos from (if you happen to have a membership with them - which we do, and have enjoyed using through the middle school years).

There's no lab, and not a lot of math with this type of approach to science, but as an overview or an introduction it works well.

When we've wanted to dig in deeper to a subject we've turned to dual enrollment classes at our local community college, or to the free (FREE!!!)  online CLEP practice classes offered through Modern States (we have also used them for some of our math, writing, and foreign language studies).



We have used some of the resources above for English grammar and composition, as well as for the subjects they're listed under, but this year I've fallen completely in love with the Modern Scholar series of audio lectures from Recorded Books.

Like our other resources, this series covers more than one subject, but so far we've used it with our family reading (and yes we still read out loud together - more for enjoyment than for learning at this point) to study poetry...


...fantasy literature (while reading The Hobbit)...

...mystery and detective fiction (while reading Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's A Study in Scarlet).

Right now we're reading Mark Twain's Adventures of Tom Sawyer, and listening through a lecture series on Twain and Dickens (a nice start up after Christmas break).

And, we have a few grammar lessons waiting on deck.

The only negative about this series is the price (about $35.00/title).  I've circumvented that by picking ours up using the credits we accrue on our account, which I keep mainly for this purpose.

Social Studies

Once again, our go-to in this area - Crash Course - covers a number of other subjects as well, but anytime we're looking to kick off a history, political or social science discussion, or anything along those lines, we generally click over to see what John and Hank Green and their friends have to offer.

They can talk a little fast, and on occasion their antics can be more of a distraction than of any kind of clarification, and not all of their subject matter is appropriate for younger ears, but for the most part, they step in for older teens where BrainPOP left off.  And, they are free!!!  Thank you John and Hank.

It's great to be a homeschooler!


Dawn said...

Lovely resources. We have used some of those as well.
Blessings, Dawn

Phyllis said...

Love the drawing E. did!

MaryAnne said...

I'm off to check out that science book. We've struggled to find good homeschool science resources.

Ticia said...

I'm gonna look into those Literature courses you mentioned. That can also be helpful for my daughter who plans to be a writer.