Summer is winding down, and though they may not admit it, your teen is probably getting antsy. In one way or another, we all crave the satisfaction that comes from being productive. So, in addition to working part time, playing video games or lounging by the pool, here are a few free online learning resources teens can use to stay busy for the rest of summer:
Learn a Language
Has your teen shown interest in the possibility of taking a gap year or studying abroad? Keep them busy with the prospect of learning Spanish, French, Italian or other languages with the help of free courses available from Duolingo. This online resource strives to make learning fun and universally accessible, with the ultimate goal to “give everyone access to a private tutor experience through technology.” According to its website, everyone from Hollywood stars to students in developing countries are using the platform. Duolingo also has apps for Android, iOS and Windows.
Learn to Drive
Did you know 4 out of 10 people fail their DMV driving test the first time? Does your teen feel adequately prepared? With the help of driving-tests.org, teens can practice their behind-the-wheel skills using sample permit tests until they’re ready for the real thing. Since they can take the free practice tests as many times as they want, consider having your teen take the test without studying at all. This will give you both a baseline on their knowledge. Then, sit down and study together.
Even better, when you’re in the car, point out different driving techniques your teen may not have noticed otherwise — in both the way you drive and other drivers respond to different rules of the road. This real-life experience, mixed with online learning, will give your teen the best chance at retaining all the important information.
Learn to Code
If your teen is creative, loves computers or is unsure about what to study in college, introduce them to coding — it could be life changing! Tommy Nicholas graduated from college in 2011 with a Bachelor’s degree in History and African-American Studies. Two years later, he transformed his career by tapping into coding skills gained from Codecademy, a free online resource where users can learn to code interactively. Nicholas went on to help build Coffitivity, which was named one of Time’s top-50 websites in 2013, and is currently CEO of Alloy.co.
Learn to Cook
Your teen might scoff at this suggestion, unless you frame it right. Right now, you and your spouse probably cook for the kids, or at least provide them with money to buy their own food. That’s great, until your teen gets to college and can only make mac’n cheese — or worse, order take-out meals every night — to stay alive. Everyone has the power to make incredible food, according to the motto of Learn to Cook, an online resource that provides recipes and culinary tips for all ability levels. Encourage your teen to use the website now in order to practice how to make stir fry, grill the perfect burger, or perfect their pasta sauce. Their stomach — and future roommates, friends and dates — will thank you later.
Learn to Budget
Whether your teen earns an allowance or has a part-time job, now is the time for them to learn important money management skills. Using a free online resource like Banzai is the way to do it. The software is designed for students to use in a classroom setting, but works great for teens learning one on one. With online games and engaging worksheets, teens are exposed to real-life scenarios, where they have to learn financial literacy to balance a budget, navigate taxes and pay auto insurance. The program is completely web-based, so it’s accessible anywhere with your computer.
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