High School and your Teenage Genius

That’s right; I think your high school teenager is a genius.  

After 25 years' experience with teenagers, I am convinced that despite appearances, all the teenagers are geniuses. In adolescence, however, that genius tends to “go underground” as it’s not completely cool to appear to be too smart – to parents, that is.

As teenagers continue developing their own personalities, their desire for autonomy causes them to pull away from parents a bit. This is cause for celebration, parents. 


Because it’s a natural part of becoming an adult. Of course, they still regress and want to be “kids” again, but that’s normal too.

Teenagers pull away to “try their wings,” but they need to return to the nest to rest from their world weary travels, so to speak.

Teens wanting, negotiating, begging, or demanding more freedom will be a new thing you have to help them with.

Books have been written about this, but we have other fish to fry, so let’s continue. Through all that, you need to make sure they have a useful and appropriate curriculum for their needs and interests.









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Freedom and Responsibility

Below, you will find links to pages that provide free books. There are many courses in a high school curriculum that your teenager will take, so you and your teenager will decide together on a few of them.

You will need to decide that if your teenager chooses Environmental Science as a third science course, that she doesn't change to Oceanography halfway through the year.

 As a parent, I am assuming that you want your teenager to have as many choices available to her as an adult, so your job, as always, will be to keep her on the road to success of this ever-demanding course work, so s/he grows up to be a wise, intelligent, mature, well-rounded adult.

So as one of my favorite comedians and obvious critical thinker once said,

 “ Don’t just teach your children to read. Teach them to question what they read. Teach them to question everything."

--George Carlin

What is the Common Core?

One of the stated objectives of the Common Core Initiative, established in 1996, is to make sure that all high school graduates in all 50 states have the same basic, core knowledge.

That sounds really smart on paper, but its application leaves much to be desired.

Today, it is enacted by mandating that high school curriculum include four years each of English, math, science, and social studies.

And students must pass THE TEST.

Other required courses usually include speech, keyboarding, a.k.a. typing, health, one year of art, two years of physical education, and a couple of electives. Therefore, students are usually expected to graduate with 24 credit hours.

In my humble opinion, the Common Core curriculum although it purports to have high standards, actually only serves the State. 

So please answer this question.

Is it really a free public education if your child is forced to take certain courses and not allowed to take others that would help her to develop her own interests and individual genius?

     The bottom line is this: Help your teenager to discover her gifts, and focus on developing them while at the same time making sure your teenager has the basics covered. Again, work with your goal/vision in mind and that will determine your teenager’s course of study.

Getting Started With High School Courses- Basics

Here's an average high school graduation plan. Hopefully, you and your teen will use it as a springboard to create something special. 

  • a typical 9th grade curriculum includes English 1, Algebra 1, physical science, world geography, and two other courses.
  • a typical 10th grade curriculum includes English 2, geometry, biology, world history, and two other courses.
  • a typical 11th grade curriculum includes American literature, Algebra 2, chemistry, American history, and two other courses.
  • a typical 12th grade curriculum includes British literature, trigonometry, a science course, and a half-year each of Government and Economics

Curriculum Guide

To begin creating your teenager's free curriculum, I have added links to most of these courses, which will lead you to a book or other materials that you can begin to follow; however, to fully understand some of these courses, you will need to create a complete course. To my knowledge, these books were generated before Common Core. 

English- Basically, these are labeled English 1, English 2American literature, British literature, and world literature. (I have created these pages based on my experience teaching English for 25 years.)

Mathematics – Algebra 1, Geometry, Algebra 2, Probability and Statistics, Trigonometry, Calculus

Social Studies – World Geography, World History, American history, Economics,Government, Psychology, Sociology, Comparative Government, Comparative Religions.

Science – Physical Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Environmental Science, Astronomy, Oceanography, Geology and plate tectonics, Anatomy and Physiology.

Visit this free K12 website to see courses and books that may interest your teenager. 

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