Adolescent Education: All About Education for Teens

Adolescence is a time of major developmental transition in a young person's life. Teens often have the dual pressure of forming their identity and being challenged to succeed in high school. Read on to learn more about common shifts your adolescent may experience, and to explore high school curricula topics designed to prepare your teen for a college education.

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Overview of Adolescent Education

Common Issues for Adolescents

As children make their way toward young adulthood, they often experiment with new ideas, styles and choices. Simultaneously, adolescents may struggle with the stresses of creating an adult identity. It's common for adolescent girls to experience brief temporary periods of depression or anxiety as they navigate through this time. As adolescents gain more freedom, particularly in their mid to late teens, statistics for drug abuse and risky sexual activity increases (

Reassuring your teen during this time of physical, emotional and intellectual transformation can help him or her to wade through adolescence with greater ease. Adolescents with higher levels of self-esteem have lower rates of substance abuse, eating disorders, depression and other destructive behaviors.

Preparation for Academic Success

You can prepare your child for high school by making sure that he or she has a good understanding of study skills and time management. Students need the self-discipline to work on homework during free periods and the confidence to approach teachers for extra help. At the beginning of the year, check your child's assignment notebook and ask him or her about upcoming assignments. As the year progresses, you might withdraw some of your supervision so your son or daughter can get used to working independently. Consider talking to your teen's guidance counselor or school dean for more specific help.


Ninth Grade

During the ninth grade, your adolescent will likely take a science course in environmental or earth science, and a math course in algebra or geometry, depending on his or her skill level. Algebra classes will require your teen to understand systems of polynomials and use them to solve equations. Geometry courses will ask him or her to form an understanding of diverse attributes and relationships between geometric objects.

Ninth grade English classes often focus on novels that your teen will read and write essay assignments about during the year. Your teen will analyze literary aspects of the novels he or she reads, such as character development and the meaning implied via textual details.

Your ninth grader's social studies course will address aspects of world history and will ask him or her to integrate quantitative and qualitative historical research. Finally, your teen may be required to study one foreign language and to choose from a list of elective courses that may include physical education, visual arts, music, nutrition, vocational skills or the performing arts.

Tenth Grade

Your tenth grader may take biology or chemistry, and a math course in geometry or advanced algebra. English classes follow up on skills learned during the ninth grade. Your teen will likely read a Shakespeare play, a sequence of poetry and several novels. He or she will write essays that ask him or her to summarize portions of the text and to infer meaning through character motivation, plot, setting and point of view.

It's common to take a second-year social studies class in world history, a foreign language course and an elective of choice. Some students will become old enough to drive during the tenth grade. If your teen is nearly 16, consider enrolling him or her in a local driving course that instructs the importance of refraining from driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Eleventh Grade

Many eleventh graders take a science course in chemistry. Depending on ability and preference, some students take physics or advanced placement science classes. English courses often focus on American literature. Students may read and write expository essays about novels or poems written by authors such as William Faulkner, Emily Dickinson or F. Scott Fitzgerald. Social studies courses typically address U.S. history, though your teen's school may opt to teach a different social studies subject.

Eleventh grade math courses include topics in second-year algebra, pre-calculus or calculus (if your teen is advanced.) It's common for students to continue studying a foreign language and a chosen elective. This is also a good time for your teen to begin studying for college entrance exams through a school course offering, classes at a test-preparation center or via independent study.

Twelfth Grade

Students have more freedom during their senior year than at any other time in high school. Some students may have completed their school math or science requirements, and thus might go on to take advanced placement courses, or to take a science-related elective course, such as psychology. Common math subjects for seniors include pre-calculus, statistics or calculus. History courses for seniors vary considerably; class topics may cover U.S. government, political geography or economics.

English assignments often require complex textual assessments, such as pointing out pivotal moments of dramatic irony, the meaning implied through an author's organizational pattern and the metaphoric use of imagery within a text. Choices of novels, plays and poems vary, as do elective course offerings. College-bound students will also be required to take a college entrance exam and to complete college applications.

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