Free Online Learning Modules Help Youth Study Round the Clock

Close up of hands on a keyboard.

It’s September and that means it’s time for youth to dive into school work. But if a young person has experienced homelessness or other traumatic events such as dating violence or trafficking, staying on track with their academic program can be tough.

Thankfully there’s a free 24-hour digital tutor young people can access to sharpen their skills—Khan Academy. Founded by Sal Khan almost a decade ago, the website is a clearinghouse of hundreds of self-paced courses. The academy features standard high school and college subjects such as math, science, grammar, computer science, and United States and world history.

Khan Academy offers several ways to structure learning, and here are a few to start:

  • Dive in. If you work with a young person who needs urgent academic help, select a course within a subject area and get them started right away. Just click ‘Subjects’ at the top left corner of the page and choose the academic area they need to work on. While youth can access most courses without creating an account, it’s best that they register so they can track their progress.
  • Assign a mission. Designed to provide a highly structured sequence of modules, math missions provide youth with individualized learning programs and feedback about what they’ve mastered and the skills they need to develop. Most math missions are categorized by grade and are well suited to remedial studies for young people who are academically below grade-level.
  • Become a coach. To provide the ultimate support for youth, sign up as a coach (click the ‘Teachers, start here,’ button on the site’s home page). You’ll be able to add students to your roster and monitor their learning curves as they work step-by-step through courses and missions you recommend. Your role is rewarded with high-tech tools like the Dashboard, which lets you analyze students’ performance and see where they need the most help.

Khan Academy requires young people under age 13 to obtain parental permission to use the site. Youth aged 13 and older can register with an email or Facebook account.

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Publications discussed here do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Clearinghouse on Families and Youth, the Family and Youth Services Bureau, or the Administration for Children and Families.

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