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.

My Child is Gifted: Is virtual learning right for us?

My Child is Gifted: Is virtual learning right for us?

Are you a parent who has heard year after year that your child is excelling in school? They may have even placed in your school’s academically talented and gifted program, if they have one in place. However, there are probably times that arise where you wonder, is my child being challenged enough? Your child may even tell you that they are bored with their schooling or that things are too easy for them.Student on a laptop While some might look at a situation like this and think they wish their child had those types of “problems,” it can be looked at much like the situation of a struggling child: they aren’t getting their individual learning needs met. Both students in that scenario aren’t able to excel to their full potential until the right program is put in place. That’s where we come in!

At My Virtual Academy, we help students on both ends of the spectrum, and everywhere in between. We are able to offer courses that are customized to fit your child’s needs. We realize that every student learns differently and at their own pace and our staff works diligently to make sure every student has what they need in place to excel!

As a parent contemplating schooling options for their gifted student, there are a lot of things to consider. Let’s take a closer look at things that might be on your mind to see if virtual learning is the right fit for your family.

Time Management

One of the benefits to virtual learning is the immense flexibility that comes along with it. Students can learn at their own pace, at their own time, and from anywhere that has an internet connection. They have due dates and things of that nature, but the daily schedule can look different for practically every student. Students often feel that this removes a lot of pressure and allows them to focus as much time as they need to master the lesson being taught. They aren’t rushed along, nor held back, to fit the needs of 25+ other students in their class, like in traditional schools. Some gifted students find a flexible schedule to be a huge plus because they can dig deeper into what they are studying (if they so choose) or can proceed to the next lesson.

As with all time management, there needs to be responsible use of time. You should feel confident that you and your student can properly commit to the time it takes to learn from home. Whether you work or learn from home, it’s very easy for someone to get sidetracked and before you know it, hours have passed and the work you set out to be done is still waiting there. It’s important that lessons get done and as a parent, it’s important that you have time to monitor your child’s activities. You don’t have to be over their shoulder at every turn, but it’s important to stay active in their education. Especially in the beginning of making the switch to virtual learning, it’s essential that you make sure they understand how to do the work online and are there to get in touch with us if any issues arise.

Attitude

What is your child’s attitude toward school? Do they love it and look forward to it? Is it boring and viewed as more of a chore? Is it a struggle to get them motivated to learn or are they eager and excited to learn new math skills and how things interact in science?

Helping student attitudes

These factors are important when thinking about enrolling your child in a virtual school. If they dread every aspect of school, getting them online to do their studies could become a hardship for the parent. It would take a lot of patience and dedication to make that situation work. On the other hand, if they are eager to learn and don’t mind completing their coursework, then this would be an easy transition for both the parent and child.

Socializing

When parents think of schooling from home, they often are worried that their child may be withdrawn or lack social interaction with others their same age. That’s definitely not the case! There are many activities and organizations that students can involve themselves in from community theater, sports, choirs, 4H clubs…the list goes on and on. There are also different outings that are dedicated for students that homeschool and they could tag along on those field trips! When you get connected to these various groups, you’ll realize that your student is socializing just as much as students in a traditional school.

Resources and Materials

When you choose to enroll your student in My Virtual Academy, we provide everything your student needs to succeed while enrolled in our program. That includes a computer (if needed) and the software required to complete their coursework. Our staff is dedicated to helping your student shine and they keep in close communication with their students. This gives the student and teacher time to check in with each other and discuss any questions they have. Each student also receives a mentor that works closely with them. Students studying as a group

Finances

Parents often worry about the financial commitment that learning from home might bring. The good news is that we are a TUITION-FREE school! That’s right – tuition free! Your student will work toward obtaining their high school diploma from home and it won’t be of any cost to you. So now, you and your student can focus your efforts on obtaining the best middle and high school education in the comfort of your own home with no financial worry.

I’m interested! What do I do next?

We think your gifted student would exceed your expectations when enrolled at My Virtual Academy. Our enrollment specialists would love to talk to you and answer any questions you may have. Please give us a call at 800-297-2119, go to our website, or visit our Facebook page. We look forward to hearing from you!

Putting a Halt to Unlimited Screen Time

Putting a Halt to Unlimited Screen Time

We all know our kids spend too much time looking at their phones. The question is how does it affect them over time, and what do we do about it? Studies show that the average teen spends a whopping 6 hours and 40 minutes in front of a screen per day. That’s right, per day! In this study, screen time included phones, TVs, computers, and tablets. Did you know that as much as half of that time is spent on more than one device at a time? How often do you see your kid in front of the TV, yet they have their phone in hand, scrolling through social media or watching a video on YouTube? Let’s face it, we’re probably guilty of the same thing!

This large amount of screen time is bound to do some damage. Obesity rates rise, time spent socializing with family and friends decreases, as does the mental health of our teens. On the flip side, when a child’s screen time is monitored and regulated, there are improvements in physical activity levels, social interactions, and academic performance. Knowing those facts, it’s clear to see that it will be worth your time to come up with a plan on how to set screen time limits.

Here are some ways you could begin to limit your child’s screen time (and not be met with great resistance):

Be a good role model.

They watch our actions more than they listen to our words so be a good role model. Set the tone of the household when it comes to electronics and their usage. It’s hard to tell them not to be on their phones all the time when you are always on yours.

Let them know your rules about screen time and stick with them!

Read that again. You could draft all of your rules regarding screen time but if you don’t follow through and enforce them, what good are they?

Educate your teens.

Let them know what the dangers are with too much time spent in front of a screen and share with them the benefits. After all, how are they supposed to make wise decisions if they don’t have all of the facts?

Screen time is earned.

Having a hard time enforcing your new screen time rules? Then take it all away and make them earn it back. Perhaps they need to do their chores before they get an hour of screen time. Maybe they need to get an A or a B on a big test to earn some screen time. You set the goal and you set the reward time.

No screens at meal time.

A lot of families implement this rule. It’s a simple one: no TV, tablets, phones, etc. during meal times. Instead, encourage the old-fashioned pastime of talking to one another face-to-face. Share your day and ask them about theirs. It’s wonderful!

Skip the screen.

Have a certain day or two of the week where you “skip the screen.” This can make people anxious at first, but then they’ll love it! It’s so nice to unplug once a week.

You may go into this battle of reducing screen time with your guard up, anticipating the worst outcome but you may be pleasantly surprised after they get into the groove of the limited times. Your family will grow stronger because of it and your child will benefit academically. Stay strong and get over any initial push back because it will get easier and setting boundaries will be good for everyone.

If you have a 5-12th grader that is struggling a bit in school, why not try something different than the traditional education setting? As a student at My Virtual Academy, your child would get to work from the comfort of their own home, at their own pace, at times that best fit their own schedule. Who wouldn’t thrive with that way of learning? Please click here to visit our website or give our Enrollment Specialists a call at 800-297-2119 to have our program explained in detail and to have all of your questions answered! We hope to hear from you soon!

Anxiety: The Signs May Be Hiding in Plain Sight

Anxiety: The Signs May Be Hiding in Plain Sight

Every person on this planet of ours has anxiety. Some people can handle stress and anxiety with no problem, while others may show signs of more severe anxiety, which is actually a signal they might have an anxiety disorder. You may be wondering just what exactly is anxiety? Well, anxiety is a normal Anxiety drawingreaction to stress. Our bodies typically respond to stressful events or situations by giving us a rapid heartrate, sweating, and a feeling of jitter or nervousness. That’s all perfectly normal and are healthy responses to stress that we encounter.

Some teens have anxiety that goes to the next level. For some, their anxiety symptoms get so bad that they actually interfere with their daily living. Their friendships, relationships, school work, and extracurricular activities all take a hit because their anxiety makes it impossible to live life in a “normal” way. During the teen years, signs that your teen may be struggling with anxiety can be very hard to spot. Think about how their behavior has changes since hormones came into play. There’s a good chance that the kid you once knew is flipping their behavior and attitude on a dime, and it can be very hard to distinguish when anxiety has gone to the next level.

All hope is not lost! There are some warning signs to keep an eye out for. If you notice your teen displaying any of these signs of anxiety, it is a good idea to bring it up to their doctor.

  • Increased irritability
  • Lack of concentration
  • Avoiding social situations
  • Isolating themselves
  • Restless
  • Frequent outbursts
  • Wanting to spend time alone
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Reoccurring headaches
  • Stomach issues
  • Overall ill feeling
  • Inability to fall asleep or stay asleep
  • Lack of appetite or insatiable appetite
  • Nightmares
  • Sudden drop in grades

After reading all of those symptoms, it’s clear that having an anxiety disorder would be no fun to live with. If your teen is having a hard time and you think they may have an anxiety disorder, please seek help from a mental health practitioner. There are a variety of treatments for anxiety disorders ranging from simple breathing techniques to medications in more severe cases.

Does your teen suffer with anxiety? They are not Teen with anxiety talking to a therapistalone! At My Virtual Academy, students come to us for a variety of reasons, one of which is bad anxiety that makes it impossible to function in a traditional classroom. Once enrolled with My Virtual Academy, students are able to do their schooling from the comfort of their own home, without the stressors that a typical classroom can give. Students are able to carve out times each day to do their school work that best fits their unique schedule. If your teen struggles to keep up with the rest of the class and feels as though they are being pushed along, they’ll be happy to hear they can work at their own pace. Best part of all is that we are a tuition-free program! If your 5-12th grader would benefit from virtual learning, please visit our website to learn more or give us a call at 800-297-2119. Hope to hear from you soon!

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.