Spread The Joy Of Reading

Spread The Joy Of Reading

For a lot of people, reading is a favorite pastime. Book lovers can’t wait to get their nose into the next great literary piece and take their mind on an adventure. If that sounds like your child, ask them if they have ever thought about taking their love of reading out into the community. There are many people, young and old, who would love for your child to volunteer to read to them! Below, you’ll find some interesting ways that you and your student can donate time and spread the joy of reading with others.

Become a reading coach at your local school.

There are students in all grade levels that could use help with reading. You could find out if your local elementary, middle, or high school is in need of reading coaches by making a simple phone call to the main office. As a volunteer, you would most likely need to go through a background check but then once that is complete, they will assign you students to work with on a weekly basis. It is a great opportunity to help turn struggling readers into book lovers!

Read to seniors at a nursing home or assisted living.

As people age, their eyesight often worsens to the point where it may be hard, if not impossible, for them to read. Something as simple as reading the major news stories from the daily newspaper would mean a lot to them and have an impact on their daily life. You could also ask what some of their favorite books or authors were and check out some of those books from your local library to read to them. Seniors love anything that reminds them of years past and books are a great way to do that! Contact your local assisted living or nursing home to see if there are any residents that would love to sit with you or your child once a week and read.

Have older siblings read to the younger ones.

Not only does this give you a little break, but it helps your older children learn how to help younger children sound out words and develop a love for reading. Encourage your older child to be very animated when reading aloud to their younger siblings. This keeps the younger sibling more engaged and helps with reading comprehension. If you have an older child who is struggling with reading, they may feel more confident starting with books aimed at younger children to get their rhythm, learn more about putting emphasis on certain words, and further develop an understanding for how sentences flow. Once their confidence level has built up, they may be more encouraged to read grade-level books with you.

Volunteer to read in local hospitals.

When someone is in the hospital, they’re stuck in bed, staring at the wall for days or weeks at a time. It can get monotonous quick! Hospitals, particularly children’s hospitals, have different people that go around and provide various life enrichment services for those who are hospitalized. They may welcome your services and encourage you to read to various patients. Books take the mind to a million different places and could prove to be good “mental therapy” for someone who is stuck in the hospital

 Be a reader for the blind.

Imagine a world where you couldn’t see. Couldn’t see the beauty around you or even where you were walking. Couldn’t see to read a book. That would be tough, to say the least. While there are books in braille, there are also organizations that pair people up with someone who can read to them. These readings may be a book, magazine, newspaper, or even simply their mail. Having someone read aloud to them helps the blind in their daily living and is very rewarding for both the reader and the person being read to. Contact a local organization that helps the blind to ask if there are reading opportunities in your area.

There are many, many ways that your 5-12th grader can get involved in the community as a reading volunteer! We hope that we gave you some great ideas to get them started with their volunteer work. Reading truly transports people to another place and time and takes the mind on a great adventure, so spread the love of reading around!

How do you encourage your child to have a love for reading? We’d love to hear from you so pop over to our Facebook page and let us know!

How To Turn Your Teen Into A Successful Virtual Student

How To Turn Your Teen Into A Successful Virtual Student

Congratulations! You and your teen decided it was time to take control of their education and allow them to learn in an environment that will work best for them. Becoming a virtual student is a very exciting time in one’s life and it can also be a bit scary and nerve-wracking. Often times, the parent hasn’t had to do any virtual learning themselves and the teen might be anxious, wondering what virtual learning will be like.

Virtual learning allows your teen to rest easy knowing that many of the stressors that hovered over them in their traditional school have been left there – in their old school – and they can feel comfortable turning their attention to their academics versus wondering if they’ll be bullied or peer pressured. While there is still interaction with other students online, it’s not quite the same as sitting in a class with someone who is picking on you or being self-conscious during class because you aren’t sure if your learning disability will allow you to sit through the whole class, uninterrupted.

Virtual schools still expect dedication, drive, and determination from their students, but when students are learning in a more relaxed environment (their home usually) and are able to learn at their own pace, good results follow. High school is a time that is to be used to prepare students for life after graduation, whether that is college or the workforce.

Here are a few things you can do to prepare your student so they are a successful virtual learner:

Talk about their responsibilities as a virtual high school student.

When your teen learns from home, the responsibility of staying on track and doing their daily work falls on their shoulders. Let your teen know that you are there to support them, as are their mentor and teachers, but that they need to take responsibility and know how to manage their workload. Should they encounter times when they need extra assistance or feel they are struggling, they need to know who to contact. Make sure they know they can come to you at any time but also have them keep their teacher/mentors contact information somewhere that is readily available. It’s important to also let them know that when they face a problem with schoolwork, they should try to resolve it themselves first or try to think of a solution. Being a virtual learner is a great time for them to learn to be resourceful.

Teen Working at Desk

Allow your teen to work independently.

As a virtual student, your teen will be working by themselves often so it’s crucial that they learn how important self-discipline is. Distractions are everywhere, especially at home. A ringing phone, a loud TV, the mailman, a barking dog, these are all noises that are common in a household, but can be distracting to a young person trying to study. Help them set up an area of the house that is just for them and their schooling, preferably in a distraction-free area. Let them know with virtual learning comes great trust, responsibility and the belief that they can work independently and stay on track. They also need to know there are consequences should this trust be broken.

Set a schedule up with your teen.

Think about your work life…you have meetings, deadlines, business lunches, etc. It would be impossible to keep track of everything unless you had a calendar or planner. The same will go for your teen. They are responsible for keeping track of all their schoolwork, due dates, test dates, and online classes. Buy them a planner or calendar, sit down with them and map out as much as you can for their first semester of school. You could help them color code various subjects, if they think that will help them see things at a glance. They also should have an area to keep some file folders that contain materials and assignments. Let them know they will be in charge of managing their own schedule when it comes to school, as long as they don’t misuse the privilege.

Teen Taking NotesHelp your teen write down goals for the year.

Everyone does better when they are working towards a goal. People tend to be more motivated and driven when they have an end result in mind. The same logic applies to your teen. Does your teen want to earn a certain grade point average? Would they like to excel in science and take a more challenging course the next semester? Would they like to join a sports team to meet new friends? Whatever their goal may be, help them map out a path to achieve it. Ever heard of vision boards? Help your teen create one. Setting goals is vital and will get them eager to begin working towards whatever they have their heart set on.

Success at My Virtual Academy

At My Virtual Academy, your student’s success is our main priority. Our staff works very hard to tailor our programs to meet each student’s individual learning needs. We are very excited that you decided to join the MVA family and cannot wait to see what the future has in store for your teen!

Have you visited our Facebook page? Hop on over and check it out! It’s a great way to stay in-the-know and hear what others within our MVA community have to say.

Talk to an enrollment specialist today: 800-297-2119.

Virtual Learning Can be a Life Saver

Virtual Learning Can be a Life Saver

When people think of virtual learning, they often think the students that attend are teens on the verge of dropping out, who had unplanned pregnancies, or who have learning difficulties. While we definitely cater to those students, we also have families who turn to us in their greatest time of need.

Whether a loved one has just been diagnosed with a terminal illness, lost their home in a fire, or found out that their student has an illness and needs to be in a homeschooled environment, virtual learning can be a saving grace. We try to remind families that even though they are suffering something and feel that their world is crashing in on them, their child can continue to move forward with their education and work at a pace that is right for them and the rest of the family.

Virtual learning during hard times can be a life saver for your middle/high school age child for a variety of reasons, including:

They can still have a sense of routine.

When the rest of their life is in turmoil, school could actually be a source of comfort for the student. It gives them an avenue to spend their thoughts and energy. School could preoccupy their time instead of leaving them on their own and possibly turning to other things to help cope with the stress.

They don’t have to kiss their dream of graduating goodbye.

As a teen, the first step to having a successful life is to obtain your high school diploma. If teens hit a hardship and feel that slipping through their fingers, they often feel hopeless. They can get wrapped up in a downward spiral because they feel they’ll never get anywhere in life. Virtual learning allows them to continue to earn the credits needed to graduate, but on their own time.

Virtual learning provides the flexibility their lives need.

Tough times call for flexible measures. A rigid schedule that traditional school calls for most likely won’t work when your family is going through a crisis. Being able to do your coursework in a flexible manner is key to success. Your teen can also work wherever they are at, as long as they have internet access. If they find their days are spent at a parent’s bedside in the hospital, or they themselves are on strict bedrest, they can complete their studies from there. If they find they are on the road a lot, they can do their studies from their pit stops. Their school can go with them practically everywhere.

Teens are able to help out whenever needed.

When an illness strikes a family, people can be left feeling helpless, especially the kids. They often feel there is nothing they can do to help and feel even more helpless because they are gone to school for 8+ hours each day. Virtual learners can easily fit their studies in around the times they help out around the house. If they need to drive a parent to important doctor visits, help prepare meals, etc., they are able to do that without the added stress of getting behind in their studies. Their schoolwork will be waiting for them and they can tackle it when the time allows later on in the day.

Keeps ill students in a safe environment.

Sometimes the illness or tragedy that strikes doesn’t affect the adults; sometimes it affects the student themselves. Should an illness strike a child, they may be too weak to be exposed to the plethora of germs found in traditional schools. The safest environment for them to be in is probably their own house. Virtual learning works perfectly in those scenarios. Students can learn from the safety and comfort of their own home and can switch their focus away from the dangers lurking in traditional schools and onto their studies. If they are low on energy and need time to rest, that’s okay too. Our goal is to work with each individual student and keep a flexible, custom plan that keeps them on the path to graduation while taking into account their unique situation.

Regardless of the curve ball life threw at your family, we are here. We can help keep your child’s education moving in the right direction. Our teachers and mentors work closely with the students to ensure that they’re doing well and are fabulous at helping in any way that they can.

Our enrollment team is standing by, waiting to answer any questions you may have. Let’s get through this together and help your teen move forward during this stressful time. Please give us a call today at 800-297-2119 or visit our website by clicking here. For more content like this head over to our Facebook page and start following us today.

Take A Trip Back In Time This Summer At Mackinac Island

Take A Trip Back In Time This Summer At Mackinac Island

There’s nothing that can make you feel more like a Michigander in summer than feeling the breeze off of the Great Lakes, smelling fudge in the air, and hearing the clip-clopping of horses as you stroll through Mackinac Island.

For a lot of Michigan natives (and others, too!), summer isn’t complete without a trip to Mackinac Island. It’s a place of total relaxation. After all, you can’t engage in the hustle and bustle of city life when there are no cars allowed on the Island and you’re transported back to a historical time. Mackinac Island manages to have the perfect mix of history, nature, attractions, amenities, and old-time fun packed into an area that’s less than 4 square miles. It’s a true Michigan gem.

Here are some things to keep in mind when planning a family trip to Mackinac Island this summer:

Ferry Fun

Since cars are not allowed on the Island, you’ll have to park them on the mainland and board the ferry. You can catch a ferry from either Mackinaw City (Lower Peninsula) or St. Ignace (Upper Peninsula). Choose from Shepler’s Ferry, or Star Line Ferry for service to and from the Island. All the fares are comparable but keep your eyes peeled for coupons. Enjoy the 30-minute ride inside the lower deck or sit and enjoy the cool breeze and freshwater mist on the open-air deck. Regardless of where you sit, make sure to take in the spectacular view of the 5-mile long Mackinac Bridge. If you have overnight accommodations, your hotel may offer horse-drawn shuttle service to the hotel or luggage service, so be sure to ask when booking your reservation.

Bed and Breakfast Accomodations

Accommodations

When looking for overnight accommodations on Mackinac Island, you will notice one thing: there are no chain hotels. You can stay anywhere from a quaint bed-and-breakfast to a full service resort. Some resorts have golf courses and other attractions. Others offer bike rentals and pools. Be sure to ask questions when booking your reservation because some hotels have dress codes while others might be more family-friendly.

Souvenirs

One thing that most visitors end up taking home as a souvenir is the Island’s famous fudge. There are a plethora of flavors to pick from and kids and adults alike will enjoy watching candy makers create all of the different flavors of fudge through their storefront windowFudge Makings. Each year, “fudgies” (as the locals warmly call fudge-loving tourists) take home thousands of pounds of the delicious, edible memento.

If perishable items aren’t your idea of the perfect souvenir, have no fear! There are plenty of t-shirt and souvenir shops that stock everything from locally crafted gift items to coffee mugs.

Bicycle Rentals

While you can certainly bring your own bike to explore the Island, there are many bicycle rental options once you are there. You can rent single rider bikes, tandems, trailers, and more. Mackinac Island is pretty flat and is a relatively easy 8-mile bike ride around the perimeter of the Island. If you are looking for a more strenuous ride, venture onto the trails that lattice the interior state park land. Pack a lunch and hit the trails for an awesome view of the Island!

Pristine Views

Visitors of Mackinac Island note that one of their favorite things to do while on the Island is to sit and relax by the water. There are no sandy beaches, but it’s beautiful to look at just the same. Make sure to bring good water shoes if you enjoy wading, rock hunting, or exploring the stony shore.

History of Fort MackinacHistorical Fort Mackinac

While on the Island, Fort Mackinac is a must-see! It is quite a climb to reach Fort Mackinac, but once there, the attractions and view are worth it. You will get a wonderful view of the Island and the straits. Employees sport garb that showcases what life was like at the fort during the 1880s. There are lots of hands-on activities to keep children occupied on the compound so make sure to check it out!

For More Information

Looking for more things to do or places to stay on Mackinac Island? Visit the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau website for places to stay, dine, and play. Once on the Island, pay a visit to the Main Street Visitor Booth for brochures, maps, and other information.

Does your family have favorite memories of summers spent on Mackinac Island? Share them in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you and other families would love to hear your experience. Check out our Facebook page for more fun summer activities for you and your family.

Whats So Big And Bad About Math?

Whats So Big And Bad About Math?

Many, many moons ago, a family was on vacation in Canada. The parents decided to take the family (mom, dad, and 4 youngsters) to see one of the 7 Wonders of the World – Niagara Falls! The beauty that beholds the Earth there is breathtaking. The water rushing over the edge, dropping hundreds of feet below. You can feel the strength and majesty of the Falls just by standing next to it. While everyone else was googling over the wonderment that is the Falls, one of the little girls in that family was tired and bored. She didn’t understand why they had to sit and stare at water. She wanted to go play and do something, anything, else. The little girl stood up and shouted at her parents, “What’s so big and bad about Niagara Falls anyway!?” People around the family laughed and the dad replied, “Honey, one day you’ll look back and laugh. You are too young to understand it now, but you are lucky to be here on this trip and should appreciate what’s around you.”

What’s so big and bad about Niagara Falls?

Often times, we find things in our lives to be tedious and “boring” because we don’t know what we’ll do with the information that we’re learning. Will we ever need to know how chemicals react? Will we ever use the information taught to us in algebra? Will we ever need to recall the names of the early explorers?

Your teen may have questions like those running through their heads as you are reading this. They may be annoyed that they are forced to study various subjects in school, such as math. They may be wondering, “What’s so big and bad about math?” We’ll tell them right now!

Math Tools, Calculator

An easy way to let your teen know how important math is in their daily life is to relate it to something they are interested in and often times that is money! They know they need money in order to go out with their friends, put gas in their car, etc. They know they’ll need it in the future because they probably have envisioned a lavish lifestyle for themselves and that doesn’t come without a price tag attached. Knowing how to handle money and track it is all about math. They’ll need to know how to do percentages, balance a check book or ledger, pay bills; the list goes on and on!

Some teens might think that because they don’t plan on entering a field related to STEM upon graduation they won’t need to use math after graduation in their line of work. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. People don’t refer to math as the “universal language” for just any old reason. Math is used in all lines of work and actually, if your teen plans on attending a college or university, many won’t allow them to take certain classes until they have a few math classes and other prerequisites under their belt.

If someone just passed through their math class and made it by the skin of their teeth, they might have a hard time with everyday tasks that life presents. For example, they need math skills in order to calculate distances when they are on a road trip. Math skills come into play when cooking, baking, telling time, and even with keeping score when they play sports. Numbers are everywhere in our lives and it’s so important that they take learning math seriously.

When you learn math, you learn how to manipulate numbers but the skills you learn in math aren’t stagnant to just that subject. When your brain learns how Math Problemto solve math problems, you sharpen your logic skills along with your quantitative reasoning. These skills come together to help you throughout your life to become better at making decisions. You can logic things out and come up with a solution to problems that you’ll face.

A solid foundation in math will set your teen up for success at every stage of their life. It is a skill that simply cannot be done half-heartedly or taken lightly. At My Virtual Academy, it is our mission to have every student succeed. We work diligently with each student to ensure that their academic needs are being met. Our vision for your student doesn’t stop when they leave us after high school graduation. We take pride in ensuring they leave our school with the skills needed to take on the world.

Would your 5 –12th grader benefit from learning virtually in the comfort of their home? Visit our website by clicking here and see what we have to offer. You can also reach us at 800-297-2119 where we can answer any questions you may have. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

The Time Is Now To Teach Your Teen About Money

The Time Is Now To Teach Your Teen About Money

When it comes to parenting, there are certain things that people stress about teaching their children: potty training; riding bikes; long division and fractions; driving; and money! Once your children enter into high school, it’s time to have some serious lessons with them about all aspects of money. It can be a daunting task to adults because, let’s face it, just because we are adults doesn’t mean we have it all together in this department. Our hope as parents is that each generation will do better than the last. So, let’s start preparing the next generation to be smart with their money by sharing some of these tips and guiding them in the right direction – who knows, some of it just might stick!

It’s all about the budget.

Does your tween or teen get money as gifts or an allowance and want to blow it all on the latest craze or on a night out with friends? Teach them how to create a budget now so that they can continue to live within their means in the future. They’ll be adults and out of the house in the blink of an eye so set them up for success now. Have a meeting with your kid and show them how to create a budget that they can live within. The important thing here is to keep in mind you are here to guide them and introduce them to living on a budget, you are not here to create it for them. It’s very important that they be able to see the process and understand the reasoning behind allocating funds in certain categories. Ask them to jot down their expenses so they can see in black and white where their money is going. Teach them that they have a certain amount that gets rationed out for bills and other monthly expenses. Then you can help them set aside a certain amount in savings and then break down the rest into fun things they wish to do, like go to the movies, the mall, get their nails done, etc.

Set goals.

saving moneyHas your teen had their eye on a big-ticket item? Often at this age, they dream of having their own car or the latest video game system. Those are both big expenses in their own right. Instead of you shelling out your hard-earned cash for those items, encourage your teen to set a savings goal and budget accordingly. They will need to determine how quickly they want to reach their goal and then figure out how much they should save each week to do so. This can be a hard thing for teens but with if they are in the right mindset, they will do it.

Explain the dangers of borrowing money.

Whether your teen just turned 18 and wants to apply for their own credit card or if your teen is asking to borrow money from you to buy something they have their heart set on, this is the perfect time to talk about the dangers of borrowing money. It might be nice to get their hands on something they desire right away thanks to a credit card but explain how much that item would cost by the time they paid back their debt. It’s easy to have that short-lived happiness cause years of financial stress and strain. The same goes for borrowing money from a loved one – don’t do it! The weight on your shoulders of having the pay them back can quickly make seeing this person a nightmare. Your teen may feel guilt, shame, and/or be embarrassed that they had to borrow money in the first place. They also may avoid seeing theDangers of Credit card person they borrowed from if they are taking longer to pay back the loan than they anticipated. Lastly, the relationship may be permanently damaged if they fail to pay back the full amount because the person who loaned the money may feel taken advantage of. It is simply a lose-lose situation and is best to be avoided.

Responsibly handling money will get your child very far in life (and will keep them from returning to the nest!). Money can be a delicate, personal subject but it’s better to set them up and get them going in the right direction now versus when they are just starting to get their hands on money versus when they are middle-aged and are caught in a pickle. Handling money responsibly translates into being responsible in other areas of their life. Start young and you won’t regret it!

As a student at My Virtual Academy, your child will learn skills that they will use their entire life, just like the financial lessons you will be teaching them. A strong education, from both school and home, will set your child up for success during their school years and beyond. If your son or daughter is in grades 5-12 and would benefit from learning at their own pace and in their own home, please give one of our Enrollment Specialists a call at 800-297-2119 or visit our website today to get more information. We hope to hear from you soon!