Adult Education; where to begin?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by GFLPraxis, May 8, 2011.

  1. GFLPraxis macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    Hi all; I'm looking to help out my two closest friends, and wanted to see if someone had any advice on where to start.

    My two best friends are brothers; one (the younger) is incredibly sharp and intelligent, and the other while hard-working, is rather slow (and knows it and laments it; I've long suspected but never verbalized that he likely has a learning disability of some sort).

    The kids grew up on the other side of town from me, with foreign parents who felt education was useless. While I went to what is widely considered the best public school in town, they went to the worst; and their parents didn't give them much help. When they got to middle school, their father decided to start his own business, pull his kids out of school and have them work; the older brother was barely literate at this point. The two have never left the state they live in; contrasted with myself who has been to a dozen other countries and spent three years living in Europe (two in the Netherlands, one in Italy).

    I don't mean to say this to harp myself up, but a lot of their progress has been through me; ever the nerd, I was taking Calculus at 15 years old, started college at 16, going in to the IT field, travelling to other countries, speaking three languages, etc, and as my closest friends, things I'd learn and geekier interests would rub off. As I mentioned, the younger is extremely bright; I taught him Algebra and some basic Geometry on a slow day once. He takes in anything I teach him like a sponge.

    We're all early-20's adults now; the younger is now a manager at a local fast food place, and constantly lamenting to me about how stupid the high-school kids who work for him are when he knows more math/science/geography than them and he dropped out in middle school.

    The three of us are going to be roommates soon, and have both expressed interest in learning more stuff; the older especially (he walked in on me watching Al-Jazeera the other night and realized he didn't know anything about most of the locations being covered). They're going to try to get their GED as well.

    I know neither of them have a strong understanding of history (both local and global), math, physics, etc., but they love it when I show them things. They want to formally start learning things, and I'm willing to give the time to play teacher; but I don't even know where to begin. I imagine that they're different aptitudes will affect how well they learn from material too.

    I don't know where to start, either. Handing them a textbook will be way too dry, for example.

    Anyone have any resources to recommend or avenues to start with? Or know much about GED's and what learning requirements they have?
  2. cherry su macrumors 65816

    cherry su

    Feb 28, 2008
    A local community college would be good. MIT's OCW site ( has tons of class material posted online.
  3. GFLPraxis thread starter macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    Hmm. I wonder if he would qualify for financial aid; we're talking about early-20's fast food employees with parents that are constantly between jobs. There's no way they can afford the community college alone.

    Is meeting with a financial counselor free usually?
  4. Patrick946 macrumors regular

    Jun 21, 2009
    They will definitely qualify for subsidized federal loans (they won't have to pay interest until they finish school), and likely for better aid. Financial loan counselors would be free to talk to, but you might want to meet with a Junior College admissions counselor first. Another good place to start is the public library, as Librarians are trained to help you gather info on stuff like this. Good luck!
  5. CalBoy macrumors 604


    May 21, 2007
    A junior college/community college would be the best bet. He can be tested for proficiency and then placed in appropriate classes. He could continue to work while completing those units, allowing him to have more financial security.

    I would also recommend (as a supplement to junior college, not a replacement) that he starts reading the newspaper or a good journal on a regular basis. Anything that can stimulate and challenge him continuously.

    Since you're going to be around as their roommate, I would suggest that you be the supportive friend, not the teacher. They might find quirky things interesting now, but once they get into the thicket of the material, they're going to need a supportive person to see them through the rough patches.
  6. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    Let them get their highschool equivalence diploma (or whatever it's called) before deciding anything.

    If they're going to learn for the sake of career advancement, then they'll probably want to get a diploma of some sort. Otherwise, the high school equivalency may lead them to realize that they really enjoy learning languages, history, politics, etc. They don't need to enrol into a community college to learn and enjoy certain things.

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