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10 TED Talks Your Teen Needs to Watch Before Graduation

So, say you’ve been rolling along with this homeschool thing for years…  You’ve managed to teach the kids to read, had a blast doing hands-on projects and engaging unit studies, and managed to max-out the educational value of even your most-fun vacations. Arriving at the middle school  portal, you’ve tweaked your approach and curriculum to their learning style, when all-of-a-sudden, it’s here.

High-school looms around the corner!  “Oh no,” you think, “now what?”

Well, let me introduce you to TED…

These TED talks cover foundational principles to help your teen enter the larger world around them with confidence!

Many families who started homeschooling when their kids were young weren’t necessarily thinking this far down the road. As a matter of fact, many parents I know – myself included – started homeschooling with the intent of sending their children back to “the system” when high school arrived, intending, of course, for them to get a “real ” education.

Well, I think I can also say that by the time these years roll around, these same parents realize that the “real” education is not to be had “out there.” But it still begs the question How do I handle high school?

Let me present a different approach to that subject.

While your teenager may very well be college-bound, and thus be required to cover certain subjects, there are far more important skills that should be presented to help your teen be prepared for life on their own. These TED talks cover foundational principles to help your teen enter the larger world around them with confidence. So here they are:

10 TED Talks You Need to Watch With Your Teen Before Graduation

How to Speak So That People Will Listen

1. I know many adults that could benefit from this talk. This goes far beyond the public speaking course that your student may be required to take their freshman year – this is character training that describes a true life skill.



How Frustration can Make us More Creative 

2. Dealing with frustration is part-and-parcel of life. In our culture of immediate gratification, and internet-instant information, if our kids can learn how to creatively deal with the “unexpected advantages of dealing with a little mess”….well, can you just imagine?!?



How Great Leaders Inspire Action

3. How awesome it would be to see your own son or daughter become an inspirational leader in years to come!



The Surprising Science of Happiness

4. I’m not saying that the ultimate aim of life should be happiness, but it is true that a positive, happy outlook on life does make a difference on many, many levels…  Actually, if you have a child struggling with “what do I do for the rest of my life…watch this one a few times… (Note: He does talk from an evolutionary perspective.)



How to Spot a Liar

5. Face it: the world is full of liars and hoaxsters. Knowing how to recognize them can help your student be “in the world, but not of it.”


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The Happy Secret to Better Work

6. This guy is a great speaker! We, too, might need to change the way we define happiness and success. The “happiness advantage” works to give us advantages on oh-so-many levels… He also presents some practical, real-life activities to incorporate to re-train our counter-productive thoughts patterns.



Looks Arent’ Everything – Believe Me: I’m a Model

7. This talk – given by an absolutely gorgeous model – is totally relevant for both our sons AND daughters. It’s so important to deal honestly with the issues of appearance, femininity, race, beauty, and image. (Note: there is some “skin” and suggestive poses from her own modeling shots in this, so you may want to preview it before showing your sons. But the message…oh, the message…) Make sure you talk about this one together – it’s great fodder for discussion!



What Makes a Good Life? Lessons From the Longest Study on Happiness

8. He describes a fascinating Harvard study started in 1938 that tracks the correlation of relationships and, well, life. His lesson is simple and true.



Why The Best Hire Might Not Have the Best Resume

9. Our kids are under such pressure to succeed. Encourage them to take note of the “scrapper’s” characteristics here.  However you define the concept of success, this is so encouraging to anyone who struggles with adversity.



How to Stay Calm When You’re Stressed

10. Practical, scientifically-based insights and suggestions to help minimize stress in your life. Your teen may not be able to identify with some of the examples given, but in those cases, you may want to have a post-video discussion of some of his or her current stresses, or suggest some that might come up during college, or their new job, or in future relationships, or…and how they might deal with them ahead of time.


It bears repeating: these aren’t the type of videos to have the kids watch while you go fold laundry. These are all watch ’em together and talk about them afterward videos.  Use them to engage with your teen!

What other qualities or character traits do you think are important for your child to learn as he or she prepares for life after high-school? What other TED talks would you recommend? Share them in the comments!

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HomeschoolingGuideRead every part of the series: An Easy Guide to Homeschooling High School

Part 1 – Get a Plan

Part 2 – The Power of Creative Electives

Part 3 – Beyond Books: Developing Leadership Skills in Your High Schooler

Part 4 –  Your High Schooler Should Needs to Watch These Before Graduation

Part 5 – Tools for the Teacher: How to Ensure Your Teen Has a Thriving High School Experience


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Pat is a Yankee city-girl who has been adopted by the sleepy, sunny south. Married for 30 years and the mother of 5, she woke up one day recently to discover she reached the stage of life where she is the “older woman” described in Titus 2:3-5. A coffee lover, the purchase of a coffee shop a few years ago was her personal foray into the small, family-owned business arena.Today, PatAndCandy.com is her outlet for packaging up and sharing the nuggets of wisdom God and life experiences have taught her.
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15 Responses to 10 TED Talks Your Teen Needs to Watch Before Graduation

  1. Carol November 17, 2016 at 6:02 pm #

    Thanks for the list. Mike Rowe did a talk we really liked – How to Learn from Dirty Jobs: https://www.ted.com/talks/mike_rowe_celebrates_dirty_jobs
    Counter-cultural in many ways in that it goes against all the advice we hear given to young people about following their passion. Even if we don’t agree with everything, it’s good to hear something from a different perspective.

    • Pat November 18, 2016 at 5:11 pm #

      What a great “add” to this list! My husband has been saying for years that one of these days plumbers and electricians and carpenters will be able to bring in the big bucks…’cause everyone else will be in tech, and who’ll fix the toilets then?!
      Thanks for the suggestion…

  2. Dawn October 11, 2016 at 6:31 am #

    I’m arriving late to this conversation, but I totally agree with sharing TED talks with your children.
    My all time favorite – I absolutely love it and it’s required watching for my children – is Ted Urban’s ‘Inside the mind of a master procrastinator’.

    • Pat October 11, 2016 at 4:16 pm #

      Dawn – better late than never!
      AND…I took a look at Ted’s TED talk, and thought it wonderful myself! So I’m including the link here and suggesting it as a #11.

      Go look at this, people – https://youtu.be/arj7oStGLkU

      Helpful to encourage us all to start going after our dreams: “Long term procrastination makes us feel like a spectator in our own lives…”
      Pat recently posted…Fall is in the air – an autumn round-up!My Profile

  3. Marilyn Lesniak March 31, 2016 at 9:25 pm #

    I am so sheltered! I had never heard of Ted until last week. I think I need to change that. Thanks for sharing on Thursday Favorite Things. Pinned and shared.
    Marilyn Lesniak recently posted…Recipe Sharing Party #9My Profile

    • Pat April 2, 2016 at 8:58 pm #

      Oh my goodness, Marilyn, you will LOVE TED!! There’s tons of stuff in there for almost everybody’s interests!! Let me know if you find something especially wonderful 😉

  4. Charlene Asay March 8, 2016 at 7:50 pm #

    My kiddos are only 3 and 5 but graduation will come quicker then I think. What a great resource. Thanks for linking up at Family Joy Link Up this week.
    Charlene Asay recently posted…Family Joy Blog Link Up Party #7My Profile

  5. Michelle Caskey March 4, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

    These sound AMAZING! I can’t wait to start watching these with my boys. Great suggestions! Thank-you!
    Michelle Caskey recently posted…10 Things That are Working in Our HomeschoolMy Profile

    • Pat March 6, 2016 at 3:14 pm #

      I hope you ALL enjoy them, Michelle – I found them really good as an adult, too! Let me know if you find any others. I know there’s a TON of great TED talks…but finding them sometimes can be just a “tad” time consuming…LOL

  6. Pam February 22, 2016 at 5:40 pm #

    Love these! These are absolutely amazing! So very perfect to illustrate the points listed. Thanks so much for sharing these. I have passed them along to our daughter who home schools.

    • Pat February 22, 2016 at 6:02 pm #

      Yay, Pam, so glad you found us and are sending them on… These are great for any teen, tho, but I’m sure your daughter will put them to good use 🙂

  7. Elizabeth Spencer February 22, 2016 at 8:49 am #

    Well, I hopped over here from The Art of Home-Making Mondays…and felt like I’d come home! 🙂 I am still rather shocked that I have to pay attention to posts about things my teen needs to do/watch/read/learn/experience before graduation BECAUSE I HAVE A TEEN WHO WILL BE GRADUATING NEXT YEAR. Breathe…just breathe. But thank you for this helpful reference. I’m a little worried that I’ve never heard of TED, though. It makes me wonder what else I’ve missed. (Cue Learner Child Mistakes.) Thanks for sharing this wisdom!
    Elizabeth Spencer recently posted…You Might Be the Mom of a Tween Girl If…My Profile

    • Pat February 22, 2016 at 10:43 am #

      Elizabeth, SO GOOD to see you again!!! Can’t believe you have a graduate next year, too!! How fun – and crazy and unbelievable, too, right?!
      Well, I wouldn’t worry about “missing out” on TED, but I would be careful: those little 20-minute gems are usually so engaging and interesting that they will suck you into the black-hole abyss of cyberspace and kill half a day before you even know what’s hit you! Which may or may not have been my personal experience…
      Anyway, I’ve been feeling a need of a chocoholic hit these days, so I’ll be heading over your way now…
      Have an amazing week, friend…and don’t be a stranger 😉
      Pat recently posted…10 Important Things to Do Tonight to Have a GREAT TomorrowMy Profile

  8. Mother of 3 February 22, 2016 at 7:34 am #

    What a great listing! These all look so interesting!

    • Pat February 22, 2016 at 7:51 am #

      Yes, Joanne, they are! I have to admit that I didn’t agree with everything I heard, but overall the messages were sound – and important! I wish I knew HALF of this stuff when I was starting out. Our kids will have a real advantage in life just working through some of this material…and when placed in context, in a discussion with parents…well, just wow!!

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