I know the internet can be a dangerous place for teens. You should definitely read all the warnings and tips, and then decide which ones you ought to implement. After that, you should cautiously consider my story. Why? Because our son found the most awesome mentor on YouTube.
At a really young age, this boy of ours flooded our home with talk of statistics; world record lists of things in particular. Our fondest stats story is how in third grade he stumped his Sunday School teacher when they studied the tower of Babbel. In a game of spontaneous trivia that volunteer teacher Mr. Jeff created, our son was able to not only answer, What is the tallest building, but be specific enough to know the tallest freestanding concrete building.
(We are waiting for Jeopardy to announce the application for their next Teen Tournament!)
Soon we realized our boy was also researching online historical stats, things like US presidential firsts and lasts. A quick favorite video series became Presidential Elections in American History. He shared one with me. I’ve now seen many of them. Not all of them, though I’m sure he has.
The video was just a guy sitting at a desk talking, with a few graphics thrown up on screen every now and then. Sometimes he sang songs he’d made up about names, dates, and places. It seemed pretty neat, but not terribly impressive. However, I majored in history so I was intrigued. Turns out, the man was a high school history teacher in Kansas. I wished my son had a teacher like him.
By the time our son was old enough for his own social media account, he befriended a revered YouTuber, MATT BEAT. I, being a safety-conscious mom, befriended him also. This friendship has encouraged my family in many ways. One summer we even went to Kansas and met Mr. Beat and his family. (I was a super cool mom for agreeing and arranging that!) Right now, my almost all-grown-up baby wants to be – you guessed it – a history teacher.
Are you wishing there was an adult out there who really got your child? Have you ever looked online? May I suggest that you do?
There are a surprising number of educational YouTubers now. Most also have other social media accounts and interact with their followers. Several even make a living doing this. (Maybe your teenager can find their own niche career.) I can’t tell you how to introduce your child to these folks, being they sometimes cringe at the things we parent suggest for them. Still, here are some YouTube accounts you may want to check out.
7 YouTube Channels for Your Teen
I really like to see females in the math and science fields. I made a D in college physics (and was glad to pass), so this is the opposite of me right here. And, if I had a daughter into science, then I’d be looking for her a role model. Dianna Cowern is young (under 30!) and has an impressive resume. There’s a lot of her and personality in the videos she produces
She’s “Jade” and I adore her accent. While Physics Girl sort of makes me tired, Up and Atom is more my speed. You’ll notice the difference immediately and probably know just as fast which might appeal more to your guy or gal. She covers math, physics, and computer science, and makes it her goal to “make hard stuff less hard.”
I couldn’t leave out math! While Khan Academy is better if you need some real homework help, producer Brady Haran has a collection of videos all about the fun and strange stuff of numbers. I like that he includes various professors in his videos. In these, you’re not necessarily going to get to know Brady, but you will learn some cool stuff.
There are several series in the Crash Course lineup. With a reading list of Romeo and Juliet, The Great Gatsby, Catcher in the Rye, and The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson – I’m impressed. Watch that first video about How and Why We Read and see if anyone under your roof could be helped.
Help with all the AP Social Studies classes is right here. These videos are organized by subject and easy to follow. Steve Heimler is a reader for the national board that grades the AP tests and is ready to give you all the tips and tricks he knows. He says he uses both seriousness and boofoonery to do it all.
Animation. Humor. Not my style, but definitely appeals to many. Describes itself saying, “Drawn of History pulls no punches with its animated history videos as it pokes shots at the events, peoples, and ideas that have shaped the world.” I love poking shots at it all because I think history’s been too sanitized. (Shhh. I didn’t say that here.)
But of course, my favorite is our friend, Matt Beat. From the election series, I mentioned before to Supreme Court Briefs explained and the States Compared, he is totally relatable. Be prepared for some dad jokes kind of stuff, though. And you might start singing his songs. Lastly, be forewarned: he shares his opinions! If your family likes debating what leaders were best or worst, then here’s your channel.