Hi there, how’s your day going? So you Googled “Homeschooling Ideas For a 15-Year-Old”. Guess what, I have a homeschooled 15-year-old and we’ve been homeschooling forever so I’m full of handy tips and ideas that, hopefully, will help you out.
Homeschooling a 15-Year-Old
15-year-olds are very different to their younger siblings. Of course, they’re all different, but I found my 15 year old became a lot easier to home educate with age.
He progressively became interested in more and more topics and actually wanted to learn. Mostly, we can leave him to his own devices and he picks up some really cool knowledge, but a few ideas below to help you out.
I’ll say here, before we progress, that right at the end of my child’s 15th year, we put our homeschooler in school. An online school. It was his first taste of formal education and at a high-school level. He loved it. He’s loving this new experience. As it’s only a few hours per week with no tedious school commute, he’s still pretty much free, but he’s thriving, having not had a whole childhood to learn to not like learning. He’s genuinely interested in the subjects he’s taking. I still fully believe that school is the worst place to get an education, but this online option has been fantastic for him. Most people would still call this homeschooling, I don’t, because I’m barely involved any more. Outsourcing to teachers has lifted weight off my shoulders.
Problems With Homeschooling a 15-Year-Old Teenager
There are a few major sticking points with homeschooling our 15-year-old teen. Firstly his sleep patterns.
He has a tendency to sleep ’till noon and be a night owl. That doesn’t work with my body clock so it’s a problem for me, but a normal teen sleep pattern.
He also has to move, he needs something physical to do every day. We fixed that with a home gym. He likes to get stuck into physical jobs and heavy lifting too. Now he’s taller than me, he loves to prove he’s stronger/better at everything than me. Which mostly he is.
Also he loves to get lost in memes. What is it with memes? He can look at memes all day, so, we have to try, gently (and sometimes not so gently) to get him to do something else from time to time.
He can also chat to his mates online for days on end. We have to prize him away occasionally. But he’s cool, he’s a good kid and we’re hugely proud of him
Movies and TV Shows
15-year-olds are less inclined to be coerced into watching documentaries and worthy movies than their younger siblings. But if they have an interest, they will find the movies that cover their favourite topics.
Online Courses Suitable For a 15 Year Old
A few free and paid, courses we’ve found that are suitable for homeschooled teens are these. Free courses for homeschoolers are plentiful, but paying is often a very good investment.
- Open University Open Learn (Free)
- Khan Academy (Free)
- BBC Bitesize (Free) Suitable for GCSE, iGCSE, and general study.
- Outschool. Outschool has classes in pretty much anything. Have a look, you’ll be amazed. My son did ancient Greek history with an actual Greek historian and loved it.
- BackStreet Academy. We’ve used backstreet in Asia to organise classes such as art, metalwork, crafts, even fishing. It’s fun and connects you with local experts.
Formal Online Learning For 15-Year-Olds
Both of my children are now taking classes in a formal school-type way. This school prepares kids to sit iGCSEs from almost anywhere in the world. They can sit the exams or not, that’s their choice. There are many ways homeschooled kids can sit exams like this.
General Gaming Can Be Hugely Educational
Don’t believe me? The things my sons picked up from gaming really blow me away, daily. They become hugely involved in gaming and pick up all sorts of skills and knowledge along the way.
I have a history-loving teen and another teen who fancies himself as a streamer and YouTuber. Both interests are intense and fascinating and skills and facts have come from gaming and being involved in the online world.
I make a living online, I’m a professional blogger. My laptop is my constant companion and I have a lot of skills you wouldn’t believe. My kids are learning so many skills through practice and they’re learning them as teens through having fun. I really don’t get why so many parents are afraid of screens,. Screens are the modern world, they’re how we do everything and tech skills are vital.
Books and Reading For 15-Year-Olds
Let them read what they want. If, by 15, they are showing literary leanings and want to study English Literature, then sure, there will be set books that they need to read. If they don’t want or need to read high-brow or classic literature and poems then they don’t need to. It’s very simple, do what you need and want to do, or do what you enjoy for the sheer pleasure of it.
Art for 15-Year-Olds
By 15 they are old enough to know if they like art and want to study and improve, or if they have no interest at all. It really should be their own choice.
My 15-year-old homeschooler sketches and has been known to watch YouTube tutorials on how to draw a nose and suchlike, but his interest ends there. He doesn’t want to be an artist. He is fairly interested in art history, so he’ll learn a bit about that from various online sources, but no, we’re not formally pursuing art.
Sports and Activities – PE
My 15 year old learned to scuba dive. So that was a massive homeschooling win. With scuba diving you also have to pass an exam, his first exam ever, so we were pretty pleased with that. It’s basically a science exam.
Let them take part in any sport or activity they enjoy. If they like team sports they can do that. My teen hates them. You are far more likely to catch him skiing or in the gym. He does some running. He completed a 10 Km run with me this year, but it’s really not his sport. If they enjoy sport, they’ll do it, if you give them an opportunity and encouragement.
Many homeschool groups – if you live in a big city- have sports teams and events just for homeschoolers. Connect with your local homeschool group. Check that they have teens, some don’t, and see what activities they have lined up.
If you’re concerned that your kid just needs to get up and get active for the sake of their health, how about something like active gaming? That’s fun for the whole family. We cycle everywhere, we got rid of our car to save the planet so with no choice other than to run, cycle or walk everywhere, we stay pretty fit.
Workbooks and School Books
By 17-years-old we were pretty much done with workbooks. We loved our homeschool workbooks from a very young age, but 15 they are harder to find and less valid.
For young kids workbooks get them writing, help with literacy and are just something to do. By 15 workbooks are thin on the ground.
Socialisation and Making Friends For Teenaged Homeschoolers
Your 15-year-old isn’t my 15-year-old. You may have a teen with a huge social need. I don’t. My teen is pretty happy just doing his own thing.
I’m sure that most teenagers, have they been in one spot their whole lives, will have built a social network, have friends and family nearby and socialisation will be a non-issue. If they like sports I’m sure all of that will be in place, if they love gaming they’re bound to have online friends. For us it’s a bit different, we chose worldschooling for our 15-year-old teenager, until lockdown stopped us in our tracks.
The pandemic removed a lot of social interaction and meant we were confined to a home that wasn’t really our home. We know very few people in the town our house is in and our family are scattered all over the world. But some things are still working.
We’ve managed to get outdoors and mingling through volunteering. Conservation work gives us all some needed social interaction and is a good way to make friends. Outdoor sporting and exercise endeavours like running, cycling, and hiking, sometimes in groups, get us out of the house and mingling, from a safe distance.
Another possibility for homeschooled teens to meet each other is online classes. Small group Zoom lessons allow teens to interact with each other, teachers, and tutors. We’re finding this a real benefit of the online school my kids are now attending.
Something we enjoy, are classes, practical classes like metalwork or cooking, kayaking, surfing, I’m sure you can think of more. These are available in your area, normally aimed at tourists. Start looking here.
Enjoy Homeschool Life With Teens
I hope our post and first-hand experiences are useful to your family. We love our lifestyle and spending time, all day, every day, with my teens is not something I’ve ever complained about. They will be gone far too soon. Make the most of it.