Has Your Teen Chosen A Career Path?

Has Your Teen Chosen A Career Path?

As your high school senior prepares to graduate, the thought of what they would like to do with their life has undoubtedly been on everyone’s mind. Whether they plan on attending a college or university after graduation or go on to learn a trade, they will need to come up with a career of interest so they know what path to follow.

You spend more hours at work each week than you do awake with your loved ones so it’s very important to choose a career that you are passionate about. When you work in a profession that you love, you will perform better and be more fulfilled. For those reasons, it’s important that you help your teen find something that they’ll love to do and then investigate different paths they can take to get there.

Keep in mind, just because your teen chooses one career field today doesn’t mean that they won’t change their mind and switch it up along the way. In fact, the National Center for Education Statistics said that college students change their major an average of three times during their college career. Choosing a career can be stressful and once they get immersed into the focused courses in college, they may realize it’s not what they thought it was going to be. Think of it this way, it’s better for them to find out while they are still in college than to suffer in a career that they hate for their whole adult life.

Thankfully, there are some things you can do to help your teen choose a career that will be the perfect fit for them.

Discuss your teen’s strengths and passions.

The perfect way to do this is by taking an aptitude test. There are different aptitude tests you can take and career counselors can provide you with their top, trusted resources. Your teen shouldn’t necessarily go with the career path that they predict if they don’t think it would be a good fit, but it will bring to light their strengths and if they take multiple tests, they’ll see a trend that will reveal fields they are passionate about.

Career of Passion

Uncover passions through activities.

People learn a lot about themselves by being exposed to various activities. Nature, museums, travel, different cultures…these are all things that your teen should be exposed to. You will notice areas that they get excited about or pique their interest more than others. They may want to explore career fields related to those areas of interest.

Get your teen in touch with a mentor.

Does your teen show a strong interest in a particular career field? Try to find someone that they could job shadow a few times. This person could also mentor them and give them guidance as they obtain the necessary training. The mentor should be someone who is a positive role model and someone who is an inspiration to them. A great mentor can change the course of someone’s life forever.

Mentors Help Career Choice

Trust that your teen knows their interests better than you do.

It’s hard to step back and let your child figure things out on their own, and this is no exception. Keep in mind that they are their own person. They know what interests them and what they are passionate about. You can gently mention pros and cons of the careers that they mention but remember, just because something doesn’t interest you doesn’t mean it’s not an interesting career to your teen.

Be their rock through the good and the bad.

Raising a teen requires a lot of patience and understanding. Choosing a career can be a long process filled with self-discovery, trials, and tribulations. Be patient with your teen and be there as they grow into the wonderful adult they are destined to be!

We have a lot of resources and guidance for your teen that will help them as they prepare to graduate. Head over to our Facebook page and stay in the know!

If your teen chooses to go the college route, check out this article on scouting colleges and if you have any other questions about how our program prepares students for life after high school, give us a call at 800-297-2119.

When You Need More Than A Friend to Talk To: Reasons You Might Want to See A Therapist

When You Need More Than A Friend to Talk To: Reasons You Might Want to See A Therapist

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and we think it’s an important time to talk about keeping your teen’s mental health in check. As teens, you face a ton of things that take a toll on your mental health. Family issues, hormones, relationships, peer pressure, financial strains, and school can either enhance or hinder your mental state on a daily basis. When you are at the age that your brain is still developing and learning how to make informed decisions, these mental swings can be a lot to handle and digest.

Your parents and guardians try their best to help you learn how to deal with what life throws at you but sometimes it’s just not enough. You probably find it comforting to talk to friends about what you are going through but there may be times when talking to your parents and friends doesn’t cut it. It’s those times when it’s best to seek the help of a professional. Talking to a therapist can do wonders and really put things in perspective. Okay, so you’re open to talking to someone, but when do you know it’s time to ask your parents to make an appointment?

Here are the top 5 reasons that teens seek help from a therapist:  

  1. Behavioral issues. Have you found yourself in trouble in the past for your behavior? Have you been suspended? Do you get in trouble at home for acting aggressively? Do you get mad easily and lash out at your parents? A therapist could help you work through your anger problems and find ways to express yourself in a calmer manner.
  2. It’s perfectly normal for someone to feel down at times or to want their own space, but if you are experiencing sadness that lingers, the urge to withdraw from activities you once enjoyed, and/or are more irritable than normal, you may want to seek help from a therapist. Teens with depression should not be afraid to talk to a professional because the earlier they seek help, the better chance they have of not having it follow them into adulthood.
  3. Extreme stress. It’s normal for people at any age to feeTeen sitting with his head resting on his knees crippled with stressl stressed out. If you feel that despite your best efforts, it’s hard for you to manage your stress or if you are developing high levels of anxiety, a therapist can help teach you different techniques that can help you keep your stress at a manageable level and your anxiety in check.
  4. Problems at school. If you are being bullied or feel like you don’t fit in with others your age, your self-esteem can start to take a hit. Know that there is help for you. A therapist can help you build back up your self-esteem and help effectively address the problem of bullying.
  5. Processing grief or trauma. It’s very sad, but the reality is that teens experience trauma in their life such as a sexual assault, abuse, or a sudden death of a loved one or friend. The key is to seek help from a professional immediately, so you have the tools to process what happened and learn how to move forward.

A lot of the students that come to My Virtual Academy have had a lot of “life” happen to them. They’ve had to grow up quicker than most and are often left holding the bag with things that typically are left to adults. If you have faced a lot more than most teens and are looking for a different way to get your education, we’d love to discuss our virtual learning program with you. It’s a tuition-free, internet-based program that allows you to learn from the comfort of your own home, at times that best fit your daily schedule, and at a pace that’s just right for you. See how My Virtual Academy has helped thousands of teens just like you earn their high school diploma. Visit our website by clicking here or give us a call at 800-297-2119. We look forward to talking with you!

Teens and Suicide – Know the Warning Signs

Teens and Suicide – Know the Warning Signs

There’s absolutely nothing more frightening to a parent than the thought of losing a child. Even bringing up the topic can make a parent get weak in the knees. Every May is Mental Health Month – a time when we, as a country, focus on the mental health issues that many of us are facing every day. In this post, we’re going to focus on teens and suicide. It’s an uncomfortable subject, but with knowledge comes Teen in a dark place considering suicidepower and we want to have all the knowledge to keep our teens safe.

Suicidal thoughts can begin during the teen years when adolescents feel overwhelmed. During these years, teens go through hormonal changes which causes major mood swings. Add to that hardships they face in school, bullying, peer pressure, perhaps a change in living arrangements, divorce, and other hefty situations and teens can become bogged down, feeling there is no way out. At this age, teens do not have strong decision-making skills. They often don’t see the whole picture. The things we know will pass seem like the end of the world for teens. It’s a very rough time in one’s life and some see suicide as the answer to their problems. It’s our jobs as parents to show them that suicide isn’t the answer and to get them the help that they need.

How do you know if your teen is showing signs of having suicidal thoughts versus a teen that is dealing with normal teenage “stuff?” Here are some signs to look out for:

  • Behaviors that are impulsive
  • Mental or substance abuse disorders that have been diagnosed
  • Negative life events such as a divorce or death of close loved one
  • Abuse of any kind
  • Family history of mental disorders or suicidal tendencies
  • Depression
  • Change in routine (i.e. eating and sleeping habits change, loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed)
  • Running away
  • Picking up bad behaviors such as drugs, alcohol, or other risky behaviors
  • Grades start suffering

If your teen starts overtly saying they want to die or kill themselves, or if they show any of the warning signs above, the time to seek help is now. Don’t blow off these threats or take them lightly. It’s best to reach out to your child’s doctor to get them evaluated right away. Your teen’s doctor has been trained to evaluate these types of situations and recommend the best course of action.

The care your teen receives after evaluation will vary but it may require being admitted to an inpatient One teen helping another through something sitting on a park benchfacility. Treatment may also include therapy for the teen or your whole family, depending on the evaluation. If you think your teen has suicidal tendencies, it’s best to have them in therapy before it gets to the level where immediate action has to be taken in order to prevent a suicide or a suicide attempt. If you need help right now, call the National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1-800-273-8255.

Parenting is hard, very hard. The teen years can throw you all kinds of curve balls and just when you think you have this parenting thing down, the wind blows, and they change course on you. Trying to stay on top of everything can be quite challenging but the rewards are worth it.

If you have a teen that has been struggling in school, let them know that you are there for them and you have found another way for them to get their education. Take some of their pressure off. As a virtual student at My Virtual Academy, each student gets to learn at their own pace. They can do their lessons at times that are convenient for them, from the comfort of their own home. School shouldn’t have to be a source of stress for our children. Let them thrive at My Virtual Academy and get the credits they need to earn their high school diploma. Visit our website to learn more or give us a call at 800-297-2119.

Make Your List and Check It Twice, Graduation is Right Around The Corner

Make Your List and Check It Twice, Graduation is Right Around The Corner

Senior year is kind of weird because it seems to drag on forever (think Senioritis) and yet it flies by in the blink of an eye. There is a lot to keep track of such as making sure all of your graduation requirements have been met, that you are prepared for your graduation ceremony and celebration, and that you are preparing for life after high school. It can be overwhelming, but if you make a check list of things you need to accomplish, you’ll be all good!

Spring:

  • Make sure you talk to your mentor to double check that you are still on track to graduate. You don’t want to find out that you have fallen behind in any credits when you’re trying on your cap and gown.
  • Stay on top of your assignments and check in with your mentor weekly. Now is definitely not the time to fall behind in your courses. Graduation is around the corner and a missing assignment could put your graduation date back if you are already teetering on the edge of passing.
  • Now is the perfect time to make sure you have confirmed with a trade school or college that you will be attending in the fall, should you have plans to go to secondary school.
  • If you are continuing your education, make sure all loose ends are tied up in regard to financial aid.
  • Get your cap and gown steamed, and order any picture packages you wish to have of your big graduation day!
  • Walk across the stage and get that diploma you worked so hard for!

Summer:

  • Enjoy your graduation celebration!
  • Send out thank you cards to everyone that congratulated you with a gift.
  • If you’re heading off to college in the fall, make sure to secure living arrangements.
  • Buy books, supplies, and anything else you need for your secondary education school.

This time in your life flies by and then you’ll have the rest of your life to have adult responsibilities. Enjoy this time while you can because it’s fleeting. We hope that by having a check list, you’ll stay on track from now until September and be able to relax and enjoy the fruits of your labor. If you know of other teens that would benefit from learning as a virtual student, make sure to tell them about your experience with My Virtual Academy. It takes a lot of courage for a student to change schools and switch up the way they learn, but for many students, it’s a total game changer. Being able to work when they want, where they want, and at a pace of their choosing, relieves a lot of stress and puts their education back in their hands, where it belongs. Encourage your friends to visit our website, or give us a call at 800-297-2119 to learn more about our tuition-free program. Thank you and congratulations graduate!

Tackling Test Anxiety When You Have Learning and Attention Difficulties

Tackling Test Anxiety When You Have Learning and Attention Difficulties

When you have learning or attention difficulties, even the easiest task can be quite the challenge. Things that other students whiz through can leave these students struggling to decipher the directions, let alone complete the assignment. Now picture those difficulties but apply them to a test taking environment. It’s a recipe for failure, especially if their anxiety rises and their difficulties get the best of them. There are a few tips that will help you prepare your student to the best of your ability prior to a big test, especially tests such as the M-Step or SAT. Let’s take a minute to go over them.

Schedule Prep Time

In order to make sure you have enough preparation time worked into your student’s schedule, you need to know a bit more about the test. How many questions is it expected to be? Is the subject one that your student feels comfortable in or do they struggle to learn the concepts that the test covers? How much information is the student being tested on? Make sure you and your student are on the same page and understand how much time should be carved out for studying for the specific test. Blocking out the right amount of time will avoid them cramming for the test and will decrease their anxiety regarding the test.

Share as Much Information as Possible

Think about your life for a moment…if your boss passes by your desk and says she wants to see you for a minute regarding a project you are working on, wouldn’t your nerves kick in and your anxiety increase? You would want to know why she wants to see you, what area of the project she has questions in, and perhaps if you’ll have access to your files to pull up notes if you need to refer to something. The same exact feelings and thoughts run through your teens mind when a test is mentioned. If a study guide is not provided, reach out to the teacher and ask a few questions like how the test is formatted (multiple choice, matching, fill-in-the-blank, etc.), will they have access to their notes, are their certain areas your student should focus on (definitions, graphs, etc.)? Being able to provide your student with enough information that they can conjure up an idea of what the test might look like will be beneficial during the studying phase and when it comes to actually taking the test.

Know What Support is Available

For students with learning and attention difficulties, Teen with test anxiety looking at her computer with her hands on her headhelp can be made available. If you know your child has these differences to overcome, be an advocate and make sure they have an IEP or a 504 Plan on file. These plans allow for certain accommodations that might make test taking a little easier on your student. It’s important that your student knows what accommodations are set in place and that they should speak up if their needs aren’t met.

Even the best, well-intended plans can go wrong, but by talking with their teacher, school administrators, and test administrators, they can have other stipulations put in place that will help them do their best on the test. Take the time before the test to talk with your child and see what fears they have regarding the upcoming tests. This will be an eye-opening experience and will help you to guide your child in the best, most effective way possible. If you should ever need our assistance or have concerns regarding your student, give us a call at 800-297-2119. Should your student still receive a score that displeases them after all of their hard work and accommodations, remind them that it’s okay. We don’t all hit it out of the ballpark every time, and they can use the test as a learning tool to adjust their game plan for next time.