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Must Read: Valuable Opportunities for Your Homeschooled Teen!

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Most homeschooling parents have an interest in, if not a downright passion for, saving money. As a result, most of us are comfortable and familiar with consignment stores, coupons, sales and repurposed goods. We look to save money on everything from utility bills to grocery store spending

When it comes to school curricula and supplies, however, many of our frugal ways get pushed aside. We fight, but sometimes lose, the battle to fill our bookshelves with more brightly colored workbooks and newly published textbooks than our children will need in a lifetime. As educators, we want to be certain that our children have access to all the materials they will need in order to attain success in life. Fortunately for our pocketbooks, hands-on, real-life experiences will often provide better lessons than expensive textbooks.

When our children are young, low-cost educational opportunities are easy to come across. Museums, libraries, symphonies, stage theaters, nature centers, zoos and park departments often offer free or inexpensive programs that provide our children with exciting occasions for exploration.

By the time children are making the transition from childhood to adolescence and beyond, they’ve out grown many of these activities. Fortunately, economical learning opportunities continue to abound. Granted, many aren’t as fun as making apple cider at the local nature center, but these activities are the stuff of ‘real life’, for which we are continually preparing our offspring.

5 Economical Educational Opportunities for Your Homeschooled Teenager

1. Open a mutual fund or Roth IRA account with, and for, your child.

For children, investing in a mutual fund is just about as real as it gets. Obviously, this process will require an outlay of cash from your son or daughter, but it is money that will grow along with your child. Set an appointment with your financial advisor who can explain the wonders of compound interest, the rule of 72, cost averaging and investing for the future.

2. Create and regularly update a resume

Your student need only spend a few minutes online to find sites that display the most current and preferred resume formats. He can even use a template that only requires a ‘fill in the blank’ approach. You and your child will likely need to sit down together to review dates, responsibilities and achievements associated with various volunteer activities, organizational memberships as well as involvement in academic and sports programs.

Encourage your child to contact former or current coaches, group leaders and bosses who will write letters of recommendation that he can keep in a file with his resume.

3. Contact local business for job-shadowing opportunities

Does your daughter dream of attending veterinary school? Becoming an attorney? Selling real estate? Encourage her to contact local professionals, businesses and non-profit organizations about spending a day or two observing work place undertakings. Many people are delighted to share their insights with inquisitive youngsters. Prior to the visit, you can help your child prepare a list of relevant questions that will enhance her visit.

This is not only an option for students with a plan. Teens who are unsure or undecided can pursue job shadowing opportunities as a mean of exposing them to careers they may have never considered.

4. Help your teenager develop telephone skills

This may seem obvious or trivial, but please consider the lack of effective communication skills in today’s world. How many teens actually ever actually speak into a phone or even write a personal communiqué of more than 140 characters? Although the old-fashioned telephone call may seem irrelevant to a teen, people do still need to be able to verbally communicate in an efficient and polite manner.

5. Schedule a night each week for your teen to prepare the family dinner.

Considering the hectic schedules that many families keep these days, this activity will require some advanced planning. You will probably have to sit down with your child and the family calendar to decide which night will work best for him to serve as head cook for the family.

You will also need to determine if there will be a budget, dietary requirements (such as insisting on at least one produce serving) or restrictions (such as a ban on boxed meals). Then let your child have access to your cookbooks, recipe file or internet food sites. He can prepare a shopping list and discuss with you any cooking jargon or techniques that he is unfamiliar with.

Be sure to alert your family in advance that your teen will be cooking so they can be prepared to offer praise for the meal!

Homeschooling is truly the ultimate educational adventure. Learning never ends and the opportunities for preparing our children for success are available in the most ordinary of our daily interactions and activities.

Jacqueline Cole heartily pursues money-saving opportunities in many areas of life, including homeschooling, meal planning and entertainment. Visit her at when you’re looking for the best bread machine recipes. Her Crescent Roll tutorial is both entertaining and informational which probably accounts for its smashing success on YouTube.

IMAGE By Kozzi, Inc

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Sunday 17th of March 2013

Great suggestions! My DD started high school this year, and while I miss lots of the fun hands-on stuff from when she was younger, there are still lots of great more grown up activities to participate in.

We are basically unschoolers and focus more on life skills. She has requested to learn things like how to balance a check book, change a flat tire, write a blog... All these skills are very useful for teens to learn.

I must say transitioning from elementary to high school was a little harder on me than her. I did, however, find a neat site for high school that is full of excellent articles, tips, and a forum. It has really helped me navigate my entrance into high school a bit easier. The site is Let's Homeschool High School (

I'm always on the lookout for great sources of help.

Joyfully, Jackie

Bronwyn marcus

Tuesday 12th of March 2013

Very good article....:-)