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.

Positive Adult Role Models Make All The Difference

Positive Adult Role Models Make All The Difference

Teenagers are forced with life-changing decisions each and every day. Pressures to smoke, drink alcohol, do drugs, and have sex are coming at them left and right during these formative years and having positive adult role models in their lives will help your teen make the right decisions and stay on the right path.

Teens might not realize it, but their behavior and the decisions they make can have consequences that last their entire life. At that age, teens don’t have a total understanding about how their actions today can affect their later years. This is where having a loving, guiding, nurturing adult comes into play. Conversations adults have with teens can motivate them to do the right thing when faced with these decisions and give them the tools they need to get themselves out of sticky situations. Adult role models also lead by example so lead the best life possible and the teens around you will notice.

There are many ways adults can be positive role models in the lives of teenagers. We’re going to give you some ways you can be a positive presence and help encourage those around you starting today!

Modeling Positive Behavior

As an adult, you can have a MAJOR impact on the lives of those around you, and that can be a positive impact or a negative one – it’s up to you and the behavior that you model. When you set a positive example and lead a life of integrity, honesty, and self-worth, are diligent, hard-working, honest, and are kind toward others, those around you (including teens) will learn from your example. If you help hold open the door for an elderly person or a mom who is struggling to push her stroller into a store, this models to others around you the polite, caring, and thoughtful thing to do. If you notice someone struggling and don’t hold the door because you are in a hurry and only worried about yourself, that teaches those around you a lot too. Do the right thing and lead by example. Others are watching your actions more than you might realize.

 Quality TimeModeling positive Behavior

Show the teens around you that you care and are interested in them by spending good, quality time with them. Studies have shown that spending time with your teen can help boost their self-esteem and give them a greater feeling of self-worth. It’s a great time to bring up their strengths and encourage them to put them to good use. For example, if you notice that your teen likes shooting hoops in the driveway and is pretty good at it, this would be a great time to tell them that you noticed their passion and excellence in basketball and encourage them to try out for the local basketball team. Does your teen have a passion for helping others? Spend some quality time together helping the community by volunteering at a local soup kitchen or shelter. Show your teen that you are really focused on them by actively listening. This let’s your teen feel more connected, shows that you care about what they are talking about, and reinforces social skills.

The Benefits Are Abundant

The more positive adult role models a teen has in their life, the better. Research has proven that those with three or more positive role models directly relates to how likely they are to succeed, resist using drugs, alcohol, and tobacco, and those teens typically have a higher rate of graduation. It is thought that teens with multiple good role models are equipped with the skills to effectively refuse what is being offered to them and Non-Parental Role Modelsstand up for what they think is right. These skills can help get teens out of tricky situations. Teens with positive role models have also decided to pursue more challenging careers. This is likely due to the fact that they feel they have the support backing their decision.

 Non-Parental Role Models

Role models come in many forms; they don’t have to be limited to the teen’s parents. Often times, non-parental role models can “get through” to teens when their parents can’t. While parents are still the main role models in their children’s lives, it’s important to welcome other supportive, positive adult role models into the fold as well. There are many great options out there but make sure the role models you welcome into your teens lives are positive, encouraging, and lead by good example. Older siblings, teachers, coaches, older relatives, pastors, and trusted neighbors are all examples of people who could be excellent role models for your teen. Everyone brings different perspectives, skills, and outlooks to the table so appreciate them and the influence they have. You never know who might light a fire in your child and encourage them to lead their best life!

Adults have the important task to inspire, motivate, and encourage teens and those around them to persevere and strive to reach their goals. These role models also encourage teens to lead a positive, contributing life. It’s not always an easy task, but the rewards are worth it! How do you act as a positive role model for your teen? Leave a comment below and head over to our Facebook page to share your thoughts with other parents and role models in the My Virtual Academy community. We’d love to hear from you!

Worried About Your Teen’s Behavior: Signs Of A Troubled Teen

Worried About Your Teen’s Behavior: Signs Of A Troubled Teen

It seems like every time you turn on the news, they are reporting on another school shooting. Everyone always talks about the warning signs and how people should have investigated further or reported unusual or scary behavior. Every teen gets moody from time to time – it’s just the nature of their hormones at that age. Every teen is different but you know your teen. You know their behavior. If you are unsure if your teen is simply “being a teen” or if they are showing signs that intervention may be needed, please continue to read this article.

Parenting a teen can sometimes leave you at your wits end, but if they exhibit the signs below, you may be faced with a troubled teen that needs additional help beyond what you can give.

Mood extremes

As we mentioned, teens are moody creatures. Their bodies are full of ragingTroubled teen or normal teen behavior? hormones and changing moods is part of the package deal during the teen years. However, if your teen has extreme changes in moods (extreme anger, extreme sadness, and hatred towards family members or others), this may be a sign something deeper is going on. Try to determine what the triggers are for their mood swings. If the moods continue despite the removal of those triggers, it may be time to seek help from a counselor or psychiatrist. They can meet with your teen and dig deeper to find the root of their problem.

Obsessions with new friends

Whenever your teen totally switches up friends, it could be a sign that something has changed in their life. They are bound to make new friends throughout their life, but when they completely cut off their old friends and start changing their appearance to fit in with new friends they made, that could be a signal that trouble is looming. Make sure that those new friends are not into dangerous or reckless behavior.

Harming themselves

Have you noticed that your teen is suddenly hiding parts of their body? Are they insisting on wearing long sleeve shirts even on warm days? If you notice that your teen is mutilating their body in any fashion, get help immediately. This behavior commonly exhibits itself before other violent or suicidal behavior. Definitely don’t push this behavior aside because it’s very serious.

Unearned Money

If your teen suddenly seems to have money that has appeared out of nowhere, it’s time to do some digging. If they are all of a sudden coming home with new electronics, clothes, or jewelry and are showing signs of being withdrawn, something bigger is going on. They could be into the selling of drugs or are stealing. Both are unsafe situations that need to be dealt with.

Mood ExtremesLying

Do you feel like your teen is lying to you? Small white lies are one thing, but lying all the time about their whereabouts or who they are with is another. They obviously don’t want you to know where they are or who they are with, and that’s a warning sign they are up to no good. Try to get to the bottom of what they are hiding.

Lack remorse

If your teen lets you down, gets caught doing something they shouldn’t, or makes a mistake, do they show remorse? Teens that show no remorse when they are caught doing something they shouldn’t be is playing with fire. If your teen has no respect for you or others and is constantly defying you and showing no remorse, it’s time for some action.

Is Your Teen at Risk?

Some teens have certain factors that may put them at higher risk for developing the dangerous behaviors we discussed. Risk factors include teens that have been:

  • Sexually or physically abused.
  • Victims of bullying.
  • Dealing with a stressful life at home.
  • Exhibiting a past of violence and anger.
  • Abusing substances.

If you feel that your teen is a threat to themselves or others, please seek help. Your local mental health offices help teens on a daily basis and could work with you to help yours too. Please don’t take the warning signs lightly and get your teen the help they need.

Looking for more helpful information on various things that may affect your teen’s behavior? Check out our recent post on positive role models for teens.

Head over to our Facebook page and give it a “like.” Our staff is always posting great information on our page!! if you have any questions regarding your teens education feel free to call 800-297-2119 or head over to the Contact Us page on our website.

Teaching Homeschoolers How to Handle Conflict

Teaching Homeschoolers How to Handle Conflict

One of the biggest concerns brought to our attention when parents are looking to switch from a traditional brick-and-mortar school to a virtual academy is will their child socialize? What opportunities are out there to get their middle/high school child interacting with others of the same age? Will they know how to interact and handle conflict if they aren’t in the traditional classroom setting 5 days a week?

The answer is yes! There are a million ways that your virtual learner Helping students handle conflictcan interact with others. From rec center activities to sports leagues and 4H clubs, socialization opportunities are everywhere for your student! Occasionally, parents are left feeling uneasy and they feel afraid that their student simply won’t learn social cues like others their age. We are here to assure you they will learn these behaviors and means of resolution.

As we all know, conflict occurs at every age starting from birth-105. You name the age and there is some type of conflict that needs to be worked through. Whether we are fighting with a sibling over a favorite toy as a toddler, a bully at school as a youngster, or a nasty coworker as an adult, conflict is all around us and we need to know how to deal with it.

Some of you reading this may have chosen to homeschool your child because of bullying at their previous school. It can affect your child’s self-esteem and can start to rear its ugly head in your child’s academic performance. When someone is being bullied, signs show up in all facets of their lives.

As we mentioned, conflicts will appear in every stage of life. No matter where a student is taught, parents, teachers, and students need to collaborate and teach each other how to resolve them. As adults, we need to be the ones in control and teach our students what is right and wrong. Your child’s eyes and ears are focused on you and how you handle situations. The advice you pass to them, especially by example, is a responsibility that needs to be taken seriously.

It’s important not to shelter them from every experience where they may engage in unpleasant behavior because these times will help them learn conflict resolution. However, you also don’t want to throw them to the wolves and put them in a bad situation.  Teaching home schooled kids to handle fights

To build up their interpersonal communication skills, have them interact on a regular basis with a variety of folks, such as:

  • family members
  • authority figures, such as teachers
  • friends
  • fellow students
  • employers (should they have a job)
  • groups (sports teams, field trip groups, community activities)

They will be exposed to a wide variety of characters through these interactions. It’s even important to have them safely interact with strangers. Teach them to hold the door open for people or help a handicap person reach something off of a high shelf in the grocery store. These interactions go a long way.

Let them know that everyone has different ways of doing things and they should also know that they won’t gel with everyone they meet. However, with that said, even if they conflict with another person, they can still take the high road and be kind.

As we mentioned, your kids have observed you and how you handle situations of conflict so it’s important to always remember to be a good role model. On the flip side, you can actually observe them and offer them suggestions on how to resolve their conflict. Let them know what you think they did right and what they could do differently, should the issue arise in the future.

As kids get older and enter their teenage years, the level of conflict can reach dangerous heights. It goes from bickering on the playground in elementary years to teens physically fighting or causing lasting emotional damage. Not all conflicts need to reach that level so express to your teen that if they identify a problem, they need to proactively work toward a solution before it escalates.

One good exercise to have your teen do is analyze what their own triggers are. They could also think about what triggers their friends or family members. If teens are aware of their triggers, they can make a plan of how they will handle the situation, should someone set them off.Students cooperating and getting along

When conflict arises in life, we should all work to identify what caused it, try to stay calm, and work out a solution that meets everyone’s needs. Make it a win-win situation. If you notice that your child is unable to mediate their own conflict, then as adults, it’s time to step in and respectfully address the issue.

Want to connect with other parents that may be facing the same issues as you? Hop over to our Facebook page and start interacting with the My Virtual Academy community. Our staff is always posting school events, activities to do with your teen, and much more. If you have any other questions about whether a virtual learning environment is right for your student, give us a call at 800-297-2119.

Literacy Is More Than Just Being Able To Read

Literacy Is More Than Just Being Able To Read

It should come as no surprise to most parents that reading is fundamental. It’s something children start learning as early as preschool, even beforehand actually. Teaching your tiny tot their ABC’s is the beginning stages of getting them prepared to read. Literacy is a skill that most of us, including all of us able to read this blog post right now, take for granted. Imagine a world where everywhere you looked, words were foreign to you. You couldn’t read a street sign or the menu at a restaurant or even the report your teen wrote on World War II. It would be a daily frustration and you would lead a life full of setbacks.

Just as it is important to be able to read for daily living, it is even more important to be a fluent reader and the effects of fluency can be seen from grade school on up. Being able to read fluently allows your child to be successful in their academic life, not just in their personal. We’re going to break down some of the benefits of being a strong reader and show you how reading ties into their development and education. Literacy is knowledge and Knowledge is power. We’re sure once you’ve seen that correlation, you’ll be motivated to encourage your child to read and if they struggle, to sit down with them and help guide them through.

Strengthen Verbal Communication

When you read to your child or they read to you, they are building and strengthening their verbal communication skills. Having strong language skills not only helps your child in school, but as an adult, it will help them once they begin working. When you browse job listings, one of the skill-sets mentioned in almost every single ad is strong communication skills. It’s also important that one can stand up for themselves and express their ideas. The stronger their verbal communication skills are, the better they will be able to do that. If they are struggling with a concept being taught in science, or think they received an unjust grade on an essay, they need to be able to articulate that thought to their teacher. Verbal communication skills come into play on a daily basis.

So, how do you begin helping them sharpen this skill? Read, read, read! Read to them, read with them, and listen to them read. Take turns reading chapters of a book before bed each night. If they struggle with certain words or sounds, help them stretch the word and sound it out. Mastering this skill is critical for mentally sounding out difficult words they may encounter in their life. If you have younger children at home, start this at a young age. Young children can even learn several languages with ease so take advantage of that and expand their vocabulary (and horizons)!

Strengthen Written Communication

The ability to be a strong writer is a valuable skill to have, regardless of someone’s age. Being able to put pen-to-paper and articulately express an idea or thought is something every person should be able to do. Your student is continuously asked to write papers or answers to detailed questions during their school career. A student with low written communication skills will not be able to make the grade like their fellow classmate who can construct a well-written answer. Reading is one of the top ways that your child can improve their writing skills. When someone reads well-constructed sentences in literary pieces, they are learning what excellent written communication looks like via each sentence in the book.

Advance Critical Thinking

Students are always being asked to think critically. They need to be able to read a problem, break down the information, and then craft a well thought out answer. This is asked of every student, across all subjects. Teachers like to get their wheels turning and make them digest the information they read, think about the possible answers, then determine what the best answer is. Exercises like these are all part of developing a student’s logic and critical thinking. Reading helps students learn how to make connections between abstract ideas. Reading also helps them learn how to think through problems and/or situations in a logical manner. These decision making skills will help them at all stages of their lives.

Strengthen Comprehension Skills

It’s one thing for someone to be able to read at a decent rate of speed, but it’s an entirely different thing when someone can read fluently and comprehend what is being read. The more time someone spends reading, the more their comprehension skills develop. Being able to retain and learn what was read is a super important skill that needs to be mastered. When this skill is learned, students’ academic performance is bound to improve. Since they now comprehend what was being taught, their time spent studying and reviewing the coursework will be much more efficient. They will be able to digest new information at a more rapid pace and will learn more the first time they read something when compared to in the past. Having the ability to take in new information, learn it, and retain it at a rapid speed is a very valuable skill not just in the academic arena, but in the work force as well.

Dad helping daughter with homework

Reading Is So Important

We’re sure it’s easy to see now more than ever, why reading is so vital to your child’s success both in school and after. Being able to fluently read sets them up for a successful future where the sky is the limit. It’s never too late to begin reading with your child, too. Be a good role model for them and let them see you enjoying the latest best-selling book. Kids of all ages tend to mimic their parents behavior so let them see that it’s fun to read. If your tween or teen is resisting reading or struggles to read for whatever reason, we may be able to help get them going and jumping their reading hurdles. Please reach out to any of our staff at My Virtual Academy by calling 800-297-2119.

My Teen Is Dating, Is It A Healthy Relationship?

My Teen Is Dating, Is It A Healthy Relationship?

When your teen starts dating, it can be a scary time for parents. Tons of questions run through your mind – are they old enough to date? Does this person treat them with respect? Are they a good influence? Is it a healthy relationship? As parents, it’s our job to worry about our children and that worry doesn’t go away whether they are 2 or 52. We try to suppress our worries and fears so our children can spread their wings, but when you have a gut feeling that something just isn’t right, it’s a feeling you can’t shake.

During the teenage years, stressed out teenit’s normal to become infatuated with others at lightning speed. You may hear your teen talking about someone for the first time one day and then a few days later they are talking about going out on a date with that person. Teen relationships can develop quickly and at that age, some teens don’t want to admit to their parents that perhaps there is a reason to worry about the person they are dating. They may keep the relationship going to avoid embarrassment and/or shame. Other times, the person they are dating may be the popular kid at school or in their circle of friends and they don’t want to let that feeling go. One thing is for sure, you’ll never know what’s going on with your teen and their relationships if you don’t pay attention to the ques. This is the age that children take a step back from spilling all their feelings to their parents. It’s a shame because this is a time when parents are needed most.

When is a relationship truly unhealthy?

Let’s say that you have this nagging feeling that your teen isn’t being treated right by the person they are dating. If you have those feelings, you should to take it a step further and determine if your teen is in an abusive relationship. It’s important to point out that abuse can happen at any age and at any socioeconomic level. People can be psychologically abused, physically abused, and/or sexually abused. Below are just some examples that fall under the three categories, but the lists are extensive:Teen struggles

  • Psychological Abuse: Humiliation, isolation, intimidation, yelling/screaming, threatening, calling names, sabotage, jealousy, forcing person to do things against their will
  • Physical Abuse: laying hands on the other person such as slapping, hitting, choking, etc., ruining property, restraining, throwing objects, using objects to intimidate
  • Sexual Abuse: Humiliation sexually, rape, sexual assault, refusing to use protection during sex

What to look out for

You may have an idea after reading the examples above on whether your teen may be in an unhealthy dating relationship. There are other things to look out for and luckily, there are ways you can help. Keep an eye open to make sure that your teen isn’t losing friends or withdrawing from family. Remember, it’s normal for teens to want some alone time and to want to hang with their friends over their family. Just make sure it’s not becoming a situation where they are only spending time with their boyfriend/girlfriend because that’s not healthy. Is your teen always in contact with this person? Feeling that they need to “check-in” or let them know what their plans are? Big red flag. If your teen interacts with other boys/girls their age does this person get jealous? Is your teen feeling the need to stand up for their boyfriend/girlfriend? Is your teen acting sad or depressed since they started dating? These are all huge warning signs that their relationship isn’t right for them.

Taking action

Okay, so the warning signs are flashing rparents comforting teensight in front of your face…what do you do? First, keep in mind that you don’t want to come across as confrontational. Your teen is likely embarrassed and even though the abuse isn’t their fault, they may feel like it is. Remember, at this age, their brains can’t clearly sort all of this out like yours can, especially since they are in the middle of the storm. Make sure you let them know that you will listen and not pass judgement on them or their situation. Try to make them understand you believe them and what is happening. Let them know you think it’s brave and courageous that they decided to tell you. You could take that time to devise a plan as to how they will end things with the person so they have a good breakup plan. Also, keep in mind that criticizing their boyfriend/girlfriend will not work. In fact, it may draw your teen in closer to them. If at any time you are having trouble getting through to your teen research some dating abuse websites such as thehotline.org. They have helplines available for teens in abusive relationships.

Abuse is never right at any age. When teens are feeling vulnerable, embarrassed, and are still growing into their own skin, they may feel scared, ashamed, and embarrassed discussing their woes with anyone – even their best friends – because they would rather suffer than risk the judgement and humiliation that they would feel. Always keep being the amazing parent(s) that you are, keep your eyes peeled for the warning signs, and let them know that you are there to talk things through when they are ready. You’ve got this!

If you have a teen who was struggling in traditional school and are looking for an alternative way for them to still learn and earn their high school diploma, My Virtual Academy may be the perfect fit! Our students work virtually, from the comfort of their home, at their own pace, at times that work best for them. Reach out to us on our website or by calling us at 800-297-2119 for more information. Our Enrollment Specialists are standing by waiting to answer your questions.