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!

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.

Adding Physical Activity Into Your Teens Day

Adding Physical Activity Into Your Teens Day

Think back to when your middle or high schooler was a young child. Remember how they were little busy bodies, just bursting with energy? Those days were long and exhausting but you never had to worry if they were getting enough exercise because they never stopped moving, bopping from one activity to the next.

Now you have a tween or young teen. Their days of early rising are a thing of the past and their daily activity level has probably dwindled down. Adolescents tend to turn their attention off of physical activities like sports and dance and onto things like part-time jobs, friends, and their studies. They have a lot to juggle at this age and often times their fitness falls to the wayside.

It’s been shown that people who have led an active life starting at a young age tend to be active and healthy throughout their adult life. We all know that the benefits of an active lifestyle are plentiful. Not only will exercise help your teen to maintain a healthy weight, but people who exercise tend to have better outlooks on life, better overall health, and those who partake in sports have higher self-confidence. Let’s take a look at how you can encourage your teen to add fitness into their daily schedule and get them back on track.

Medical professionals recommend that tweens and teens get one hour or more of physical activity each day. Encourage your teen to incorporate some form of activity each day whether it is skateboarding, bicycling, yoga, swimming, sledding, snowshoeing, football, baseball, karate, etc. The list of exercise possibilities is endless.

Even everyday activities present exercise opportunities. Remember, chores burn calories (plus it frees your day up when the whole family helps with household chores). Need something from the convenience store at the corner? Have your teen walk there instead of driving. Is your teen looking for a part time job? Suggest they try babysitting. Watching kids is a sure way to burn calories because they keep you on your feet!

weight lifting activity

Some form of screen time is being had at most moments of the day, especially when your teen is a virtual learner. It’s no surprise it’s hard for teens to find time to exercise when upwards of eight or more hours each day are spent in front of the screen. This includes watching TV, completing their schooling, browsing online, and playing video games.

Sit down with your teen and discuss how you would like them to find time to add one hour of physical activity into each day. Let them have control on how they want to add it in. They may agree to wake up earlier and get it out of the way first thing. They may wish to break up their school day and clear their mind just before lunch. Or, they may find they like to exercise prior to bed. Anytime is fine as long as they agree to get it in.

Like most things, once you get rolling, the momentum builds and it’s easy to keep going. Exercise reduces stress, increases energy, and gives an overall feeling of good health. Once your teen starts adding daily exercise into their routine, they’ll love the feeling and want to keep going.

Just like when your kids were younger, try to encourage your teen to find activities that they find fun. When someone has fun, they are more apt to keep going. Suggest that they try to have a friend join them in their choice of exercise. They may find it more fun if they have an exercise partner to keep them on track and motivated. Plus, it gives them another opportunity to hang with their friends and what teen doesn’t want that?Physical Activity running

A great way to get your teen interested in exercise is to make it a family affair! Every member of the family will benefit from becoming more physically active. Join a local gym that offers something for everyone and go as a family every night. Becoming a healthier family will be good for everyone and you can help each other stay on track with your physical fitness goals. Be a positive role model for your teen by leading by example. After all, they look to you for guidance and follow in your footsteps.

Make sure that your teens don’t try to run a marathon their first time on the treadmill. If they have led a sedentary lifestyle, they will need to start off slow then build up their momentum. Trying to tackle too much at once will result in injuries and can be discouraging in the long run.

Talk to a doctor if you are concerned about your child not getting enough fitness or if they are at an unhealthy weight. They will be able to give you additional pointers and make sure that your teen is adding in a fitness activity that will best suit them.

Should your child have a medical condition that makes you concerned about them adding in exercise, bring this to your doctor’s attention also. Often times, there are still ways they can stay physically fit but it may take some modifications or shorter time intervals. Their doctors will be able to advise you properly.

Is there a type of activity that your teen enjoys doing? What activities do you do as a family to keep your family fit and active? Leave a comment down below and let us know! For more on how to get your teen motivated physically and mentally, visit our Facebook page.

Does Your Teen Struggle Motivating For The Day?

Does Your Teen Struggle Motivating For The Day?

The struggle is real folks. Teens love their sleep and motivating in the mornings can prove to be quite the challenge. Even though your student is a virtual learner, they still shouldn’t sleep the day away. If you are like many parents and have a hard time getting your teen up and motivated for the day, try some of these tips and hopefully your mornings will start to improve and become less stressful!

Encourage your teen to prep the night before.

Are there things that your teen typically puts off until the morning and then they are stressed and rushed? Something as simple as having your teen complete their coursework before bed can reduce stress and anxiety in the morning. Do you leave the home to work while your teen stays home to do their schooling? Ask them to make their lunch the night before and make sure everything is in order for the following day. You can relate this task to going to bed with a clean house versus a dirty one. When you have taken the time to do the dishes, clean up after dinner, and have everything in order, when you wake up the next day, you are fresh and ready to go. You aren’t playing catch up from the day before. Same goes for your student. If their “house” is in order, their morning will run smoother and they’ll be ready for whatever the new day brings.

Keep your teen’s morning straight to the point.

Avoid adding extra tasks to your teen’s plate early in the morning. When they prep the night before, the morning should be fairly routine and easy going. Unless something is urgent, try adding extra chores or things to their to-do list for the evening or weekends. Your teen could be grumpy in the morning and just like all of us, we don’t like it when we’re thrown a curve ball or have another expectation thrown on us when we are still waking up and getting ready for our day.

Encourage a reasonable bedtime.

Time To MotivateIt’s hard to get your teens to stick to a bedtime like they could when they were younger. Often times you may think they are sleeping but they are in bed on their phone or watching TV. When they are up late, it makes getting up in the morning that much more of a struggle. Your teen should aim to get an average of 8 hours of sleep per night so encourage them to go to sleep and wake up at roughly the same time each day. This may not always be reasonable, depending on what’s going on in your lives, particularly on the weekends, but when you sleep and wake at the same time your body regulates and is working at its prime.

Let your teen make their schedule.

Being responsible about time management is a skill that is crucial for teens, especially teens that learn virtually. Distractions are abundant at home so it’s important to be aware of the time that is required to complete their coursework. The need to be able to tune out their surroundings and carve out the time needed to complete their schooling daily. Time management is an important skill that will be used for the remainder of their life so it’s best they learn about it now, while under your roof. Have your teen use an alarm clock so that they are responsible for waking themselves up. If they feel groggy in the morning and are not up to making themselves breakfast, give them some recipes for things that are easy and can be prepped ahead of time. Things such as overnight oats, breakfast burritos, or omelettes in a mug are things that require very little time in the morning yet will give them energy throughout the morning.

Make a checklist.

Try creating a morning responsibilities checklist for your teen. It will reroute their morning and set them on the right path for the day. If they struggle with time management, you could have their checklist accompanied by times of when those tasks should be completed. Have some extra time built in so if something takes longer than anticipated or something unexpectedly gets added to their morning routine, they don’t stress.

Ask them to make their bed and get dressed.Motivaitng in the morning

These two simple tasks have a BIG impact on a person’s day. When you make your bed, you are programming your brain to know it’s time for the day to start and you aren’t tempted to hit the sheets and crawl back into bed. It sets the stage for your day. The same thing goes for getting dressed. Although your teen could stay in their pajamas for virtual school, ask them to get dressed for the day. It changes their mindset and they will be more productive throughout the day.

Virtual learning is wonderful and students enjoy learning at home, in a comforting, relaxed environment. Just make sure that your teen isn’t sleeping the day away and then cramming everything into the evening. Cramming like that adds to stress and could put them behind. Following a routine as if they were attending a traditional school will help them with developing crucial time management skills and prep them with the life skills they’ll need once they graduate high school.

Have you checked out our Facebook page lately? Our staff is always posting updates about the school and other tidbits that help your student stay on track. Check it out by clicking here.