Preparing for Graduation: 3 Critical Mistakes Parents and Teens Make

Here we are, a few weeks away from going back to school and starting over fresh in a new school year, and many students have not even given their future a thought. Perhaps they are caught up in the wonder of television, the excitement of video games or the busyness of the work world. Do you wonder why teens today do not think too far ahead and never anticipate what they need to do to prepare for graduation? Do you ever wonder why some kids never achieve even a small step towards graduation or a successful career? Blame it on pure dreaming and lack of setting goals for achieving their dreams. Many teens lack a sense of personal responsibility and ownership in the future. Parents can help change this trend.

Kids must learn to plan and set goals for their future. Many times, parents overlook this critical component of parenting. Parents must take time to help their children visualize what life will be like in the future. The discussion should be about more than, "What do you want to do when you grow up?" This conversation should be in depth, long range, and cover topics such as career goals, schooling, how to qualify for this career, how to budget for the lifestyle they wish to have, and where the money will come from when they get there. Many times, this small step is put aside as a "one day" conversation, but it is critical and needs to happen as the children are growing up, so they can learn to see beyond the four walls of home and school.

Students must learn to accept responsibility and take ownership for their own direction. Parents need to guide, coach and train children to think in terms of how to create personal action. Sometimes, parents think they are helping children by stepping up and helping. Sometimes, kids take the easy way out and beg for help when, in reality, they can really do it all on their own if given a little extra support, accountability and encouragement. Parents are afraid that if the child doesn't fill out the job or college application then it won't get done...right, maybe not. The next step would be to help the child feel ownership, want the job or college acceptance and take responsibility to get the task done.

Students must also become proactive in dealing with the life challenges and "not fair" moments that may affect his plans. Many times kids lack the ability to be able to outline possible difficulties that may occur as well as the solutions to these difficulties. If a parent always rushes in to fix and handle the situation, the student is left crippled and unable to take action. If the student is given the skills early and taught to be proactive, then he is not easily scared or defeated when challenges occur because he has already prepared for them. The student then is strong and can think ahead and realize that when the next challenge comes his way, he will have a prepared a solution or strategy ready to attack the challenge.

Graduation can be a reality for any student. Parents can make the journey to graduation a little bit more uncomplicated by equipping their kids with these three tools. It's not about telling them what to do; it's about empowering them and letting the student take ownership. Those who learn early to take ownership of the future, set goals and be proactive will be able to clearly set a direction and their target achievements in life, marking where they should begin, where to pause, where to delve a bit, and where and when to stop. By being able to consciously make confident and empowered decisions, success is guaranteed.

Parents and students can easily learn how to set goals, take ownership and be proactive by following these simple guidelines.

Spend some time at least once a week thinking and dreaming of the big picture. Play "what if" games with the child. Help them catch a glimpse of life through an adult's eyes by thinking of real-life money problems or real-life job dilemmas. You will be amazed at how quickly the child responds and starts learning about what it takes to solve life's puzzles.

Ask a lot of questions. Try not to lecture or feed the information to them and put ideas in their head. Yes, adults have lived it, they have the answers. However, it's a known fact that most people learn more by figuring it out on their own. Let them ponder the ideas and questions and come up with the answers - whether right or wrong. Use these as learning opportunities. Keep asking questions to make them think.

Acknowledge and admire the child. If the answer is wrong, encourage and motivate by responding about how well he is thinking through the process. Consider his point of view and commend him on it. If the child always feels he is in the "wrong" or in "instructive" mode, he will tend to shut down. It might be okay in this instance that the answer is not perfectly solved at this moment. Be patient, it's about helping them take ownership and gain confidence in his own thinking.

As we head back into the school year, we can all work to help our kids think a little more about what is required to graduate. We can urge kids to be more proactive in thinking NOW about graduation so they can achieve even a small step towards graduation or a successful career. Perhaps the kids will find a healthy balance between pure dreaming and setting healthy goals for making it to graduation and beyond. Keep in mind that students are more productive and successful in preparing for graduation if parents have fostered a proactive, self-accountable and goal-setting atmosphere. It takes a positive outlook and self-discipline on both parts to follow through to guarantee success. Be sure to be reasonable and be careful of becoming too ambitious in setting up goals as sometimes an unrealistic and difficult path will cause a child to shut down and become discouraged and unmotivated.

"Ask - Don't Tell" - How You Can Use Socratic Dialogue in Your Home School

Socratic Dialogue refers to a method of classical home education that was first recorded in ancient Greece by Plato. In two of his more famous works, The Republic and The Apology, Plato records the conversations between the teacher, Socrates, and a variety of students. Although not immediately apparent, these conversations represented a method of inquiry in which an abstract moral concept such as justice, temperance, or virtue was examined through the process of asking questions. In effect, the master Socrates taught the pupil a concept by asking instead of telling.

So, how do you use Socratic Dialogue in your own home school? Well, the parent decides what concept he or she wants to explore and plans a series of specific questions that will eventually eliminate contradictions and reveal underlying beliefs. The questions are intended to help the student discover his or her belief about a certain topic while exposing errors in the student's reasoning. As the child answers each question, the parent scrutinizes the answer and asks if it's consistent with the child's original statement of belief. Often the parent is not looking for the right answer, but rather hopes to assist the child in drawing from his or her own insights and experiences to clarify the child's own understanding.

Don't let the term "Socratic Dialogue" intimidate. I'll bet you use the Scientific Method when performing homeschooling laboratory experiments. Both Socratic Dialogue and the Scientific Method use the concept of induction to arrive at conclusions. Inductive reasoning observes, interprets, and applies. Take the Scientific Method and apply it to an abstract concept through conversation, and you have basically constructed the Socratic Method. Here's an example using the Scientific Method:

  1. Define the question (why does ice float?)
  2. Gather information (glass, water, ice cube)
  3. Form a hypothesis (ice floats because it weighs less than liquid water)
  4. Test your hypothesis (drop the ice cube in the glass of water)
  5. Analyze the data (the ice cube rises to the surface)
  6. Interpret the data (this might mean ice is lighter than liquid water)
  7. Conclude (ice floats because it weighs less than liquid water) or reject the hypothesis and start again

Apply the same 7 steps of the Scientific Method to an abstract concept, and you have the Socratic Method. Here are the same 7 questions using the abstract idea of worship :

  1. Define the question (why do you think the children of Israel worshipped Canaanite gods?)
  2. Gather information (they were worried that Moses wouldn't return from the mountain, they were bored, their neighbors did it, they forgot their past experience with God's deliverance from Egypt)
  3. Form a hypothesis (people turn to other gods when their neighbors influence them, or when they are bored, or when they forget God's faithfulness - your call)
  4. Test your hypothesis (what gods do your neighbors worship? money, power, etc.)
  5. Analyze the data (do you know of kids who blindly follow their neighbors' example? do you?)
  6. Interpret the data (some people allow their neighbors to influence them; some influence their neighbors)
  7. Conclude (some people turn to other gods when their neighbors influence them) or reject the hypothesis and start again

You could apply these same 7 questions to any area of understanding like recurring themes in current events, history, or literature.

Socratic Dialogue is not the same as discussion. In discussion, both parties talk about what they are learning in a two-way conversation that may not have an ultimate goal. In Socratic Dialogue, the home school parent intends to help the child towards self-discovery through guided questions. The basic principle of Socratic Dialogue is "Ask. Don't tell."

Regular Socratic Dialogue trains the homeschooling child or teen to think critically and logically as he explains, rejects, and defends positions. Inductive reasoning, also used in the Scientific Method, becomes a regular habit as the child observes, interprets, and applies his learning to his life. The student is not the only one who benefits from regular Socratic Dialogue. Through incremental questioning, the parent is able to monitor the child's understanding (or misunderstanding) so that he or she can quickly respond with additional training or explanation. Written quizzes are unnecessary because Socratic Dialogue is one big quiz! If the child hasn't mastered understanding of the concept, more work is required until mastery is achieved. Conversation is active and challenging.

Typically Socratic Dialogue is introduced in the home school around the age of 11 or 12 when the child begins to exhibit analytical skills. (When your preteen starts asking "why" regularly, you know it's time for the Socratic method!) Start with a specific question. Draw from the child's prior knowledge or area of current homeschooling study. In the example above, it would be pointless to ask about the worship of other gods if the child had not already studied the applicable passages of the Old Testament. You must know the material yourself so that you can lead the child to the desired conclusion. Think of a map. When you start a trip, you know your final destination, and you plan the route. (Question? Answer. Question? Answer. Question? Conclusion.) Do the same with Socratic Dialogue. Plan the stops along the way, and lead your homeschooling child to the joy of self-discovery! Remember: "Ask. Don't tell."

Home Schooling During the High School Years

Home schooling during the high school years can be a fun and rewarding time for both the child and parent. This time can be used to keep, maintain and even deepen a relationship with your child during a high stress time of their lives. This can be a time to build a trust with your child so that they are willing to listen to council that you would like to share with them during this time of their lives. Also, as a Christian parent it can be the time to guide your child in their Christian walk and to help with any questions that they have so that their relationship with the Lord is their own; which will help them as new choices and decisions come their way in the upcoming years.

As your child enters the high school years record keeping becomes very important. You will want to start recording the things that your child accomplishes so that you can report them for college admission considerations. This is the time to start looking at the requirements of the top three college choices that your child is thinking about attending. This will help in knowing what they require from incoming freshman. Also, check your state requirements in what they recommend a high school student to have before graduation. Some things that we learned along the way is to start a record writing down every book read during the high school years either for school or free reading. Keep up to date with your records; this will help if you need to present them for scholarships or grants.

Keeping track and recording your child's extracurricular activities are just as important as recording the grades of the academic classes. For homeschoolers this is important because sports can also be counted as physical education credit as well as extracurricular. Colleges are interested in a child's outside activities only to show that they are a well rounded person, sports, 4-H, part time job it isn't important to a college what a student is involved in just that they have a well balanced life and are active in academic as well as extracurricular activities.

During this time of your child's development it is important for them to start learning life lessons while they are still in a safe environment and still have you as a sounding board to hear from them and have some input towards their dreams and decisions. This is a great time to teach about finances, if they have a vehicle its time for them to pay for the bills that occur from that vehicle; hopefully there isn't a payment on it; but there will be insurance that has to be paid, gas, maintenance such as new tires and oil changes. All of this is to teach them that as they get ready to step out on their own there are financial things that they will be responsible for and this is a step towards learning this responsibility.

This is a busy, exciting time for your teen. They still have their school work to keep up with; they are busy with extracurricular activities as well as many of them having jobs to help them earn the money they need for their special purchases. Its also a time for teen parents to start paying more attention to record keeping to help our teens take the next step in their educational process as well as being there to listen and give sound advise as your kids contemplate what they will do next in their lives.

Best US Essay Writing Service in the Net

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But the case is different for the part of the students, you included. Each ‘individualized’ assignment really means you need to think and write differently to complete any one of those assignments, you need to refer to various multitudes of references to back up for each argument in your essays, or, say for short, you may just need to be different person entirely at each time you receive these assignments! Wait, you know that this is not even the worst case of all! Despite anything that is not the same with all of those lecturers, they do share the most troublesome thing in common: the same deadline! And you do know that this worst thing is just one of several worst things you need to follow (yes students, in case with your lecturers, you do have more than just one worst case of all!).

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The Necessity Of Tutors

Some parents are happy with the educational process that is given to their children in the public school system. There certainly are times, however, when interaction by professional tutors can certainly assist your child to be able to get more out of the educational process (Source: Professional Tutors By TutorSpot). It can not only help them to improve their grades, it can give them a better grasp of what they are attempting to learn. What are some of the options that are open to you as far as a tutor is concerned, and how can you make sure that your child is using what is available to them to the full?

     One thing that needs to be considered is exactly what is necessary from the tutor. For example, it may be that you are only looking for somebody to give some homework help online and to assist your child with some difficult assignments. It may also be, however, that you want to give something very specific to your child in the way of a reading or writing tutor. This can not only assist your child in getting better grades, children who have those types of tutors often show a marked improvement after just a few lessons.

One other thing that you should consider is if you are going to have the additional help over the summer months or if you are going to get the help all year long. Consider the fact that much of the education is lost during the summer, but with the help of a part-time tutor that information will be with the child for a lifetime.

Various Ways To Obtain A College Degree

One of the more important decisions that you’re going to make in your young adult life is the college that you attend. Getting a college education is a very important part of breaking successfully into the job market and getting the work that is necessary to support yourself and your family. In doing a college search, it is likely that you’re going to find a variety of options that are open to you, some of which may benefit you more than others. What are some of those options that may be available that you should consider?

        If you are considering pursuing a career in business, there are certainly many business degrees that are available (Source: Business Degrees by SearchByDegree). Some of those may require you to travel to a university in another area while others may be available in your local community. Be sure that you consider these options, as the moving expenses can be quite a burden when you also consider the cost of the college courses that you are going to be taking. Of course, if you do want to take some classes of the larger university that may be outside of your local area, you can always consider taking them online. Most universities offer online courses and these carry the same credits that are available when taking the class on campus. It is also beneficial to take those online classes when you’re already in the workforce and are looking to anchor the opportunity that you have of keeping or improving your current job.

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If you want to maximize your children potential values in music, you will fall into Music Lessons by Music Teachers Network at the first sight. Some children can be very excited learning and playing a music instrument such as guitar, piano, bass, brass, drums, and strings. In addition, your children can learn to practice their voice or to be an expert in songwriting. Usually, children can fully absorb the music lesson taught at home. Therefore, we can get private in-home lesson services for our children learning music.

At the beginning piano, children should be directed to enjoy the music and harmony. As parents, you must know what makes your children enjoy their music lesson. Sometimes, your children will easily absorb the music lesson once they enjoy their time playing piano. Children have to play piano if they want to learn piano. Hence, you need to provide the instrument properly. There is a need of fun piano lessons given by the professional teacher for your children. In addition, you can get guitar lessons for beginners delivered well by the expert who have a passion in teaching children. Talented and experienced teachers are good. Otherwise, fun and friendly ones are the best for your children learning music.

How to Recession Proof Your Kid Or Teen - Even If You're Bottom-of-the-Barrel Broke

With the state of today's economy, you are not alone if you are looking at your finances with dread. As many of us are concerned with our living expenses, where to cut back becomes a daily concern...

Should we buy cheaper or fewer groceries, school clothes, or cut back on the extracurricular activities our kids really wanted to do? Maybe fewer trips to Grandma's house? You know what I mean, and that's not to mention the many of us who are trying to pair down already paired down budgets.

While some of us are grappling with just getting by, saving for our kid's future seems close to impossible. So how in the world can we increase the odds of being able to offer our kids both a comfortable lifestyle and half way decent savings built up for when they leave home? Experts recommend investing in 529 College savings plans, bonds, and equities. Definitely good advice, but there is an often-overlooked way to help recession proof your kid.
Help them to start their own business.

I know that it might seem unrealistic to you at first, but I've said it before and I'll say it again, working from home is not just for stay at home parents, telecommuting professionals, or internet gurus anymore! Consider Alexa Kitchen of Massachusetts who was already on the road to success as a cartoonist by the time she was 5, or Alexandra McDaniel who started Kids Roar a year ago at age 8 (already gaining attention from the media).

More examples of successful businesses founded by kids and teens include Jason O'Neil and his pencil bugs, Anshul Samar and his innovative Elementeo chemistry game, and we can't leave out Farrah Gray and Ashley Qualls who were self-made millionaires by the ages of 14 and 17...There are so many I could go on and on.

As you can see from these examples, it is completely doable... Kids can indeed create a home business and it is being done over and over again by kids of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. The biggest difference between these kids and a kid who has yet to start a business is that these kids took a chance on their ideas, took action, and never looked back.

Your kid or teen could be next...In fact, there is a good chance that they have already shown you their entrepreneur spirit by asking you to help him or her start a club, drink stand, or some other means by which they could earn extra money.
Don't ignore it!

Even if your finances are a mess...You can still help increase the odds of your kid or teen having a secure future. In the event they do not make oodles of money, they will still have acquired some business building knowledge and a better understanding of things like problem solving, math, writing and communication skills.

Another side effect of the business-building process is a deeper internalization of his or her sense of responsibility, perseverance, confidence, and a good work ethic...Not bad at all since many experts agree that these are necessary traits to truly be successful in life. Furthermore, you can use the act of helping your kid or teen to build a home business as a way to keep the lines of communication open, enabling you to maintain a strong bond of trust and mutual respect between you.

So if things are looking ominous, and you could use an alternative method of recession proofing and increasing your kid or teen's odds of a having a secure future in today's economy, helping him or her to start a business makes perfect sense.

Five Areas Where Your Kids Could Use Some Home-Schooling

The American education system frequently gets criticized for being inadequate. But debates on how and where we should fix it go on and on, without visible improvements being made. Each administration tries their hand at fixing it; maybe they'll get that part right some day. In the mean time, you can help supplement your kid's public school education in key areas where the system leaves them lacking.

1. Computing - This is the gravest shortcoming of public schools. In reality, even though they have had computers for some time, public schools do not teach computers - they teach typing, using a computer instead of a typewriter! Help your kids by having computers and Internet at home, and encouraging them to explore on their own. Remember, they'll have to deal with these machines their whole lives, and almost certainly in every job they work at.

2. Math - You probably saw this coming! American public schools just seem to drop math half-way through, never getting to the interesting parts. Math classes revolve around rote calculation, doing pages and pages of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division - and nothing else! Even into senior high school, they barely get introduced to the higher math subjects before getting thrown into the world of college. You'll at least need to bring up basic algebra and calculus concepts. Take an opportunity to find the fun in math wherever you can - for instance, nature's beauty can lead to a love of fractals, and origami is a good way to learn some geometry.

3. History - This is a shocking deficit! Quiz your middle-schooler and you'll be appalled to discover that they have no idea who famous people are or what landmark events are about! American schools seem to have abandoned history as a concept, period. In its place are fuzzier subjects like "world studies." Take the time to explain historical references wherever they pop up, because if you aren't doing it, no one will.

4. Practical science - American schools are great for teaching you the typical broad encyclopedia subjects in science like biology and astronomy. But for some reason, kids always seem to miss out on day-to-day science applications, such as why your car has a hard time starting in sub-zero weather or why it's a bad idea to mix bleach and ammonia in an enclosed space. You'd be amazed at how many people reach adulthood without ever having found out that one bit of information that would have saved them trouble...

5. Life skills - American schools used to teach things like "home ec" and "consumer science," but now the education budgets just don't seem to allow for it. So it falls to you to prepare your teen for adult life. Teach them how to manage a bank account, pay bills, figure price-per-ounce at the grocery store, stay safe in a risky neighborhood, cook for themselves, and other sorts of mundane details. Probably the best way to handle this is to take them with you when you run errands.

Sarcasm and Teenagers: A Guide for Parents and Teens Communication

It's a real milestone when our children get to the age that they can make us laugh by what they say on purpose! Often with smaller children we laugh at what they say by accident, and they are pleased but uncertain about what was funny and why. As children get to older elementary school they learn skills and life lessons that they turn into humor.

Often older kids and teens emulate adults and use sarcasm to make a joke, or make a point. This is a valuable skill and shouldn't be squashed. Neither should we let it run rampant over conversations and people!

It's important to show a teen that you value his humor and intelligence but want him to learn when this is and is not appropriate to use. Many 'tweens and teens try out sarcasm and some have a real flair for it! Also, it may be part of acceptable joking around behavior in your family.

Like any edgy conversation (teasing, joking, even swearing), teens need to learn when and when NOT to engage. He may use sarcasm really successfully with friends and to good effect, but needs to know to leave it in the hallway at school or he could have some big trouble.

With any teenage behavior change, it works better to be very clear about the goal. First talk to your partner. Is it OK with both of you that he practices sarcasm at home sometimes? Hash this out just grownups first. You may decide he is not mature enough yet to use this only on the "right" occasions so you want him to stop (in your hearing) all the time. Remember that he is unlikely to stop entirely. You will teach him important life lessons if you choose to guide him about when to use this, instead of forbidding the behavior entirely.

Now sit with him for a few minutes (and your co-parent if possible) and tell him that you really appreciate his humor and smarts but need to teach him the skill of when it is and isn't ok to use sarcasm when speaking to an adult. Decide (with your teen's help) on a nonverbal cue that you can use if he is being smart-alecky instead of smart, like a hand on his arm or (if he isn't a toucher right now) grabbing your own ear lobe for a minute. Then he has the opportunity for a conversational do-over, meaning he can express the same idea but more respectfully. If he can start again without the edge in his words or voice, you'll continue the conversation as if nothing happened.

When you are talking to him about this, be clear with him what the consequence will be if he does not take the do-over chance but continues to be disrespectful. You may automatically deny his request if he can't speak respectfully. He may miss his next social outing. He may be excused from the table even if he is still hungry (this one really bothers teen boys!).

In this way you are not stepping on his creativity and humor, but you are requiring respectful communication and helping him learn how and when he can joke. Also, he has the chance to be a good example for any younger sister or brother so that you don't hear smart-alecky teenage stuff from the mouths of babes!

Snowy Or Rainy Day Activities For Tweens and Teens

Picture this. It's a blustery, rainy day with nothing to do, or a snowy winter one where the kids are home from school (and you're home, too!). You're trying to think of some interesting snowy or rainy day activities geared to your tween or teen so that you can spend an enjoyable day together. Meanwhile, your tween or teen may be thrilled because to them it means a day of lazily hanging out on the couch, mindlessly watching tv or a movie while munching chips, or the opportunity to spend the day online or texting with friends incessantly. If you have other plans for them and would like to take advantage of this togetherness to spend some quality time with your tween or teen, then you need to come up with some interesting snowy or rainy day activities that they think will be fun and that won't make them want to roll their eyes at you. Although they may love the opportunity to "plug-in" on a lazy day like this, you can connect with them if you offer up some fun activities that will engage your tween or teen and will get them to want to hang out with you instead. Maybe if you're lucky, you'll even get in a decent conversation or two in the process!

Below are a handful of snowy or rainy day activities for tweens and teens. They can be enjoyed as a family or can be used to pass the time indoors with friends or siblings. These activities are geared to older kids and can be a great source of amusement for both parents and teens alike.

10 Snowy or Rainy Day Activities for Tweens and Teens:

1. Do a jigsaw puzzle. Chances are it's been awhile since you've all sat down and worked on a jigsaw puzzle together, but this can be a great diversion for the whole family, and provides opportunities for meaningful conversation.

2. Play a card game. Gone may be the days of playing "Go Fish" with your kids, but there are many other challenging card games to play with older kids. Engage them in a game of texas hold 'em, gin rummy, or another card game of choice and the time will fly by.

3. Sing karaoke. This may be a completely embarrassing activity for your teen or tween to enjoy when their friends are around (and if you ever sang in front of their friends, they'd surely cringe!), but when hanging out together at home on a rainy day, this can be a great source of fun and laughs.

4. Make a scrapbook. Take the opportunity to go through old pictures and put them into a scrapbook. If you don't have all the materials needed to make and decorate the book, then spend the day organizing and selecting photos to put in the book and enjoy reminiscing about old memories. If you have digital photos, there are some great online digital scrapbooking sites, like Shutterfly, where you can make a beautiful scrapbook, complete with custom pages and journaling, in no time.

5. Make a video together. Plan it out together and record away. Kids are so into videos today that it could be fun to make a family video. You can recreate a talk show and conduct interviews, try your hand at a game show or act out a comedy. Either way, you'll have a chance to get creative and have a memento of your day spent together.

6. Make a house of cards. Remember the days when your kids could be entertained for hours with blocks or legos? Well, they may not be willing to break out the blocks these days, but the challenge of trying to build a house of cards could certainly bring out the architect in any teen.

7. Devise a mystery sound game. See how keen everyone's sense of hearing is by having one person or group go around the house and record various sounds heard around the house. This can easily be done even with a cell phone if you don't have a tape recorder. Then try to guess what the sounds are.

8. Have a dance party. Let loose and get some exercise, too! Take turns choosing music to dance to so you can both enjoy each other's selections and maybe teach each other a few moves in the process.

9. Play challenging word, number, or trivia games. Games like Rummikub, Scrabble, Upwords, Trivial Pursuit and more are always fun to revisit, so if you have a few games lying around the house, dust them off and challenge each other to a game or two.

10. Plan a meal with items from the pantry. Get creative together and put everyone's cooking skills to the test. Older kids love to eat and can have a great time trying to concoct a new recipe based on what's available in the pantry or fridge. And you'll get out of having to figure out what's for dinner!

Kids and Money - 7 Essential Skills For Financial Success

Whilst the debate about financial education in schools continues, parents need not wait to teach their kids about money. Here are 7 things that every teen should know about money.

1. Manage your money - Show your money who's boss by putting a money management system in place. Divide your income into separate jars, money boxes or bank accounts. Take a proportion and save it. Take another and allocate that for investing. Then work out how much you need to spend on essentials. From the remainder you can put some aside for fun and leisure.

This simple system has several powerful principles, paying yourself first, creating a savings habit, being organised with your money and to spend less than you earn and invest the rest.

2. Know the true cost of buying on credit. The availability of easy credit has become a part of society. Don't be tricked however into taking the short term view that the headline monthly payments are all matters. Buying an average car for example at 10% APR over 3 years could mean paying over $5000 extra. If that was the sticker price of the car then you may not be so keen to buy. Also consider that your circumstances may change, would you still want to be saddled with monthly debt repayments if you lost your job?

3. Take control of your outgoings. The simple process of checking bank statements and credit card bills can ensure that you know where your money is going and can check for mistakes and anything suspicious. You may have unwanted direct debits which relate to cancelled agreements, such as gym memberships or cell phone insurance. If you track and classify your outgoings, you may find that you are spending hundreds of dollars on lunch and coffee which you could bring from home.

4. Understand the financial realities of home ownership. For the majority buying a home is the biggest financial purchase of their lives. Many young people however are poorly equipped to understand the process or the numbers involved. It can be explained by imagining a dream home and then working backwards. With many lenders looking for a deposit of 20%, the prospective home owners need to first consider where they can obtain this and how long that might take. Then they can consider the amount of borrowing they can obtain, be that 3 or 4 times salary for example. Thirdly include the additional costs of insurance, utilities and council tax.

For many young people this will be an important wake up call, which can have a dramatic effect on career and education choices.

5. Develop multiple streams of income. All is not doom and gloom however, for the entrepreneurial minded there are an abundance of opportunities to make money either alongside or instead of a traditional career. A hobby or passionate interest can be translated into an income earning blog or website. Existing skills and talents can be taught to others at a fee, or new products and ideas brought to market. Long term, investments in the stock market or property have historically yielded good returns. All of which can combine to supplement or replace traditional earned income.

6. Invest in your own education. For many, learning stops once they leave school, if not before! By continuing to learn whether its job related or developing new skills you become capable of bringing more value to the market and subsequently will receive more reward.

7. Expect the best but prepare for the worst. When jobs are secure and house prices are rising it is easy to be lulled into a false sense of security. Many people released equity from the homes to cover consumer debt, secure in the knowledge that they could meet the monthly payments and maybe even reduce their outgoings in the short term. When the economic climate changed however there was a new reality.

In uncertain times it is better to expect the best but prepare for the worst, by saving an emergency fund which could support you for several months if you lost your job. So too is insurance important, covering sickness or unemployment. Developing multiple streams of income as outlined about is another way of spreading the risk and not being over reliant on one source.

Military Schools - Looking At One Alternative To Raising Happier, Calmer Children And Teens

Many parents think that sending their badly behaved children and teens to military schools will solve all their problems. They are wrong to believe this because there are many things to consider before deciding on this move.

The first thing to consider is the financial aspect. There will be a clause that you will have to sign where you agree not to claim back the fees, should your teen decide to drop out. That could mean a big loss as the clause might specify the fees for the whole school year and not just the semester!

The second thing to consider is whether that type of environment is actually suitable for your badly behaved child. How will he or she respond to such an environment? There may well be other problems that surface later on and you could be sowing the seeds of resentment against your parental authority. It could also compromise your relationship with your offspring.

The third thing to consider is that many military schools will just not accept children who are out of control, defiant and aggressive as they have to fit in with school life and be able to get on with their peers. If the child is already violent and aggressive towards his peers at his normal school, there is no guarantee that he would change in the new environment.

Apart from the discipline issues which are clearly the driving force behind such a decision, have you thought about the bonding issues? Any child needs an affectionate and loving supportive environment in which to grow up. Even obnoxious kids need that! The military schools are not the ideal environment to provide that kind of support and that may well make your child unhappy, frustrated and lonely.

So what is the alternative to military schools? The answer is to find a good behavioral therapy program or simply learn effective parenting skills. There is no need for expensive family therapy or counseling. You can do this efficiently, easily and above all cheaply in your own home.

By using such a program, you can stop the back talking instantly. You will be able to stop the endless arguments and you will be able to get your child back again. You will never dread coming home again in the evening after work.

So, there you have it. You can either opt for very expensive military schools or ask for help from the psychiatrist below who has been dealing with these problems for over twenty years.

Home Schooling and Its Effects

Home schooling or homeschooling, if you want (in deed, you even see it hyphenated, as in home-schooling) has been around for about 30 years now, although, of course it was all pupils had before state involvement in education. Out of the way sparcely-populated places in huge countries like the USA, Canada and Australia still have to rely on home schooling to a large extent, although it is easier now with the popularization of radio, television and the Internet. Video packages also have an important role, as do books still.

However, home schooling has become very much in demand in the cities as an alternative to inner city public schools, which are frequently seen as hotbeds of upheaval, anger and narcotics, especially by the middle classes and not without some due reason, to be honest. Nonetheless, there are also other good reasons for deciding on home schooling, which we will go into at a later stage.

First, it ought to be pointed out that the decision to opt for home schooling must be a family one. This is because it will toss "normal family life" on its head and place an added financial strain on the household budget. For instance, one parent will need to stop working. This cannot be allowed to be a source of bad feeling, or both parents could take part-time jobs and share the children's educational time. Whichever way you go, you will not have two full-time incomes any longer. Working at home on the Internet could be a partial solution here.

Home schooling will also upset everyone's social life. So, the parents' social life is restricted by not seeing work colleagues every day, but so is little Johnny's, particularly if he has already spent some time in a conventional classroom. He won't see his pals from class as much and they may drift away from him or even be angry with him.

On the plus side is that the family will become much more solid as a unit by working together at home schooling. Both parents will have a thorough understanding of what their child is learning and will be learning. While following a broad-spectrum education, you may nonetheless opt to focus on aspects of, say, history or science, that especially interest your child. It gives you the freedom to match your child's education to his or her own interests, something that state education cannot do well with large classes. Your child will also come less under the influence of the bawdier elements in school and be able to concentrate more on studying.

A note of caution may be useful at this juncture. Do not be tempted to compel your child to progress too rapidly. It is tempting for a non-professional teacher-cum-proud parent in home schooling to push the child much harder than he can go. Don't forget that most people are just average. You ought to be on look out for signs of burn-out and stress at all times.

Once you decide to opt for home schooling, you will have to choose a basic curriculum, run through it yourself to familiarize yourself with it, purchase or locate in the library any additional books, videos and software, write a lot of notes and stock up on pens and paper, folders, binders and filing cabinets and you'll be ready for your first term at home schooling.

Why More Parents Choose Home Schooling For Their Kids

In the 1980's, a number of conservative Christians pursued the legality of home schooling that led to its open acceptance in all States. Some parents protect their kids' values and formation by opting to teach them at home and away from uncontrollable influences in the public schooling setting. This has resulted to about 1.1 million homes having education out of school, just in 2005 alone.

Home schooling is defined as the education given by parents, private tutors, or professionals to children at a home setting. There is no classroom setting and the need to attend public school teaching to earn educational credits. The good thing about this education program is that a home-taught graduate can still enter various other educational institutions like universities and technical schools to have higher education. There has been no substantial limits to home schooling that can hinder any academic growth for your kids or teens.

But what are the reasons behind parents opting for this new form of education? First, parents chose to do so because they are standing up for their religious beliefs and values. These parents know that there are negative conditions that can be promoted in public schooling. Factors like drugs, peer pressure, and bullying can be any parent's nightmare when their kids go to the usual school education. At this time though, the demographics of kids getting home schooled are just no longer from the religious conservatives. Surprisingly, there is a turn out of various families coming from different backgrounds who finds home schooling more convenient and practical.

Second most common reason is the readily available bonding time spent between parent and child during their learning activities. Most of the parents who want home schooling are hands-on parents. They can easily mold their children with the values and beliefs that come from them. For kids who have private tutors, the attention given by their tutor can maximize their learning capacity since they do not have to share their tutor with any one else. Also, even if tutors took hold of the teaching of their children, parents are often still involved with their home schooling kids as they can easily monitor the progress being made by their children from the report of the private tutor.

And lastly, parents choose it financial reasons. Going to school can cost a lot aside from the other school services, projects, trips, and other miscellaneous related to formal education. Usually, one parent stays home in a home schooling setting and the whole household depends on the other parent for income. This might sound as a challenge to some, but it helps the family to get involved in money saving. As young as they are, they can feel they are being valued for their small contributions and would even become more grateful to their parents.

Finding alternative choices for your kids' education can really help you when you have a certain situation or condition at hand. Fortunately, there is a rising number of communities that acknowledge this educational form and has put up a few help support. They provide resources and offer support for parents who have their children home-schooled.

Cooking With Kids And Teens

After a long day at work, would it be nice to come home to a dinner table set with plates, drinks, napkins and forks? Or even better, how about walking into the smell of aromatic delight coming from your kitchen? It is possible to have your kids, prepare a meal with dad's supervision and with some initial teaching and training.

Children naturally love to explore, and cooking is the best way for them to become creative. Why? It teaches many skills including: confidence, creativity, math, science, reading, geography, nutrition, healthy eating habits, culture and organization. There is no other subject area or hobby that truly integrates so much richness. Try to think of one? If you look at school subjects, most things are taught in isolation. Not cooking. It is the best well rounded subject I know.

So how are you going to get your kids cooking? Just start them in the kitchen no matter how old they are. Let them mix, pour and help you with simple tasks. Spend time with your child in the kitchen, teach them that cooking is not only a great life skill, but that they can be creative and make things with so many ingredients. Laugh with them at messes and mistakes, and then teach them how to clean it up or fix their mistake. Here are some other suggestions to encourage an interest in cooking:

1) Plan a family night, where you and your child do the shopping for one meal, let your child pick out things and be involved in the process.

2) Have your child help you prepare food for a party, have a "kid friendly menu" for the kids attending the party and create a sign names the food and put your child's picture next to it with a heading "created by Chef____".

3) Praise your child for doing even the simplest task in the kitchen.

4) Enroll your child in a series of cooking classes (four minimum). One class is too short to really learn much, and the child may be shy at first. But by class four, watch out! Your child will want to take more classes.

5) Make cooking a priority in your house so that kids understand the value of food made from scratch.

6) Don't let your child see that you struggle in the kitchen. Relax, and try to have fun with food. Don't prepare "boxed foods", they are not fun or interesting.

As you teach your child the value of cooking, you will be able to step back and let your child prepare some fun treats for you. But don't forget the formal training first.......especially when you don't have the time. Take your child to a series of cooking classes or enroll your child in culinary camp, and then let him or her come home and cook what they learned in class for you. Above all, make cooking fun and pleasurable for your child. And always have an adult supervise the child in the kitchen for safety reasons.

When enrolling your child in a formal cooking class, look for these basic fundamental things that your child can learn: how to safely use a knife (depending on age), how to use appliances safely(depending on age), the difference between herbs and spices, how to bake cakes, cookies, breads, how flavors go together in a dish, measuring, mixing, folding, how to be organized and follow the recipe, how to make a basic dish from scratch, how to make soups and sauces, and how to clean up while they cook. Your child will surprise you, and you'll feel good that your child is learning a healthy skill that will last a lifetime. Formal cooking classes will give your child the confidence to come home and cook in your kitchen. Cooking: the best life skill to learn!

Troubled Teens and Christian Boarding Schools

Every parent who has a troubled teen hopes that their kid will snap out of their problems, do well at school and live a happy and healthy life. And to achieve that goal, many parents send their child to a Christian boarding school. These schools are pretty much the same as most boarding schools except Christian boarding schools place an emphasis on the spiritual education of each student. They base their moral teaching on the teachings of the Bible.

But Christian boarding schools do not swamp their students with religion. Rather it is the Christian faith which is the basis or foundation of the teaching programs.

Almost every teen will face temptation in their formative years with such issues as drugs, alcohol, sex and crime. Parents obviously wish to help their son or daughter make logical and healthy decisions to reject bad influences and wrong life choices. Knowing their teen is a part of a Christian boarding school gives everyone a positive attitude. The teachings in a Christian boarding school are based on the Ten Commandments. This is a powerful and positive basis for a moral upbringing. And because the students are boarding at the school, staff can keep a 24/7 watch over their pupils.

This fact of being on the school campus day and night has additional benefits apart from keeping troubled teens away from potential dangers. First there is time for after-hours supervised study sessions and after-hours extra curricula activities such as sports and the arts. Students don't go home as such and so at the end of their school day they can work on their music or dance or swimming or track and field.

Academically the standards are high and are tied into subjects taken in high schools. This means that if a troubled teen is withdrawn from their Christian boarding school for any reason, the student should be able to get credits for their academic progress and resume their studies with a minimum of fuss. Christian boarding schools aim to assist their students to do so well academically so that the students will be eligible for the college or colleges of their choice.

Being a Christian boarding school, it is natural that Bible study is part of the teaching program. However, most schools do not force students to take scripture classes although most students do participate. All this is part of the moral guidance program at the school. Being based on Christian teaching and its way of life, it is natural that Bible study will be an important aspect of the education program.

Teens who are troubled need special care. They need to be nurtured and taken away from their pain and into a life where they can be confident and have a high self-esteem. This is a basic aim of a Christian boarding school. It is not just a fine all-round education on offer but also a caring and helping environment where troubled teens can turn their life around and grow into happy and healthy young adults.

Kids and Funerals: A Parenting Guide to Handling Issues of Death and Mourning

This subject is awful, a why-think-about-it-before-you-have-to kind of thing. Each person's experience of grief, or dealing with the grief-stricken is very personal. Add to that the complexities of relationships and religion (and our relationships to religion) and it's a struggle to form an opinion when faced with a funeral to go to.

Death happens. And children need to begin the lifelong process of understanding and coming to grips with it. In order to raise children we respect and admire we have to discuss the hard stuff. Death tops that list.

Last week the principal at my sons' school lost his adult daughter. The kids were told in a very general way about this and the parents (informed beforehand) could take over from there in any way they saw fit. It is our religious tradition to visit the family in mourning in the week following the funeral. This was (thanks be) the first time in a couple of years that we had such a visit to make and my husband and I decided to bring the two older boys along. They each have a relationship with their principal (good so far!) and we believe that comforting the bereaved is a sacred obligation.

Even if that is not your religious belief, I propose that comforting the grieving is a very important life skill. The gravity of the situation allows children and teens to (briefly) get outside their current thoughts and problems, and figure out how to talk to someone in a worse situation than them. Experiencing the community aspect of these gatherings is also a good lesson.

"What if my child is too young?" Only you can decide when your child is old enough. A lot of this depends on the age of the deceased and the personalities in the grieving family. Would a small child playing bring a smile or a frown? A child to young to understand death won't be scarred by a funeral but may make you too nervous to be able to really be present yourself. If the child is in the family of the deceased then I think most instances warrant bringing the child to be a part of the family. When we lost my father-in-law it was our then 2 year old that kept the rest of the family intact, just by being himself.

"What if my child might be scared?" This is reasonable. First I would challenge you to make sure that it is not your own fear (of death or grieving) that you are projecting. Beyond that, I urge you to introduce your child to this topic gently - avoiding an open casket wake (or sticking to the back), waiting and paying a social call on the family some time after the immediate grieving period.

When we entered the home of this tragically saddened family, the principal was standing near the door. When he saw me he smiled a gentle smile he had clearly been putting on all day. When he saw my sons, something in his face opened and he said, "Oh, more of my children. This is what will get me through." As he enfolded them in a hug - that they both returned - they brought him a comfort I could not.

This is hard. If you ignore this opportunity for teaching, it may (hopefully) not come up again for a while. That won't avoid it forever though, and kids deserve this education as much as any other.

Teen Communication And Teen Arguements

How Teens Normally Communicate

· Teens normally come to their parents when they need to talk. Be patient.

· Your teen may appear to be rude, in a hurry or cut you short. This is not their intention. Be patient.

· Teens are not adults. You may from time to time have an adult conversation with your teen. Treasure this moment! Don't expect it all the time.

· Teens often are more comfortable talking to their friends or peers than they are talking to adults; especially their parents. Again, nothing against you mom or dad, but kids their age are more fun to talk with. Be patient.

· Moody teens will avoid conversations with you.

· Happy teens may talk your ears off. You may have to listen, nod your head and smile. Be patient.

· See the section in Scott Counseling regarding communicating with you child for information on parenting techniques and strategies on this topic. Be patient!

My Teen Argues!

We want our children to learn to speak and communicate. We want them to become independent thinkers. We also want them, someday, to stand on their own. Well, believe it or not, these are some of the key factors to explain why some children argue with their parents. According to the Department of Families, "arguments between brothers and sisters are one of the ways that children learn to respect other people's belongings and feelings." Children are just like adults. We like to present our ideas and sometimes argue to express our opinions or points of view. Children, however, are just beginning to learn how to argue without being disrespectful. Below are some pointers to help parents teach their child how to share their thoughts without offending others.

· Do not argue with your teen. It's that's simple. An argument can only occur if you let one occur.

· Many arguments can be avoided when you give the child an option. For example: "You can either empty the dishwasher or take out the trash."

· Treat your child and yourself with respect. Be objective when you speak and try to use fewer words. For example: "I need your help. Your job is to pick up your toys. Please begin now." Avoid statements or questions like: "Can you" or "Do you want to pick up your toys now."

· Teach your child the difference between debate and arguments. Debates allow two people to share their points of view without offending others and leaving one person a winner and another a loser. Arguments end with a winner and a loser. Teach your child what points of view or opinions are debatable in your home. If your child says, "Mom, I'm tired of doing dishes." The parent can respond by saying, "That's fine. It's a good time to change chores. You may pick between feeding the dog or dusting this week."

· Use simple body and facial language instead of words. Simple body and facial language includes: Looking at your child and show the face of patience. Your face should show that you are not angry, but you are also not amused.

· Sit down with your child and let the child know the negative consequences that they will receive if they argue with a parent. Set the consequence ahead of time and stick to the consequence. It's appropriate to let children know that you do not want an argument as a warning before providing the consequence. Remember the first example provided above.

· You may provide incentives. However, do not over use this strategy or you will be teaching the child that rewards come after each request. "You may play with your friends when you are done doing the dishes."

· Encourage and teach your child to ask for permission. This will prevent many arguments.

· Prepare yourself for the fact that your child will be making more requests that may lead to future arguments. To find out if your child's request is normal for his or her age group, ask a teacher, youth group leader, coach or other adults who have many years of experience working with children to find out if their request is normal.

· Let your child know that making a request should be done in private or at home. Some parents, for example, tell their child that if they ask to have a friend sleep over in front of the friend that their request will automatically be denied.

Note: Children who have chronic or ongoing behavioral problems with argument that lead to anger, violence or other fear inducing tactics may need to be assessed by a trained professional. Usually these behaviors diagnosed by a psychiatrist or other medical professionals. You may also obtain assistance from a school psychologist who may provide some insights and resource information.

Getting Rid of Harmful Inclinations, for Parents of Teens and Teens

After my private preschool closed, I started to work in the public school district and with a corporate child care placement agency in the San Francisco Bay Area. What I learned was astonishing.

I was assigned to After School programs in the wealth suburbs in Danville, Ca. (Black Hawk) where every home in the neighborhood was selling for over one million, long before the down turn in the economy.

The children were bright and extremely caution about new comers into their After School program. Some of the pre-teens were placed there because their parents didn't trust them to be alone after school. It was a safer for the children to stay in a controlled environment, rather than to be unsupervised in the afternoon.

These young pre-teens were extremely territorial and questioned authority in very discrete ways. Their reaction to me was no different. Little did they know, or maybe they did, I had also worked in Oakland, California, where territorial issues could land you in the hospital, or worst. I knew how to stay out of the way and be respectful of unseen territorial lines.

I can't prove it, however, I am sure one or two of the parents took down my auto license plate and ran a make on me. (Over heard, a conversation) These parents were Vice-Presidents, CFO, and top level management in large corporations, in San Francisco. At any rate, I was allowed to come back. But please know, being sanctioned by the parents, didn't mean the kids were going to let me in.

What I kept seeing over and over was a closed society, where no one but the kids were allowed in, and adults who they trusted completely. Parents were never, under any circumstances, allowed into the After School secret society.

I spent a lot of time watching and reviewing what I saw. There was an actual path in which the older children had created, or it had been created for them, that was in alignment with the elementary school and their parents, but separate.

I might add, parents didn't have a clue, or maybe they did know, and just wanted to respect the kid's privacy.

These kids were sharp and had no problems with thinking things through, or pre-planning. Of course when their parents showed up to pick them up, they turned into perfect little dumb angles and asked to go to McDonalds!

Another action which occurred often was, when their parents showed up, the kids would completely ignore me. They would act as if I wasn't there. At first this hurt my feelings a little, then I realized, I had been allowed into the society, but had no rights.

The last thing I want to do, is to violate the trust that these children placed with me. (Including children on the San Francisco Peninsula and in Contra Costa County) After being away from the children for over four years, I realize something which concerns me.

You know the old saying you can't see the forest for the trees? This statement applies to my work with children. I could not see where the kids were headed, until after I was out of the industry.

To my students who graduated from my preschools and to those children whom I meet while working as a substitute teacher I say, "Be aware of your every thought." If you get a strong inclination to take or experiment with illegal substances, talk to your parents, determine where the thoughts are coming from and eliminate the source.

Please forgive me if you feel I have betrayed your trust in anyway. You know, I care about you and you know I'm concerned about what you might do to Social Security, once you start voting.

Kids and Peer Pressure in Today's World

As parents, it is our responsibility to listen to or children, and make sure that they are understand that we are there for them in everything they do in their lives. So many parents work long hours at work, that when they come home they are too tired to take time out with their children. In the teen years, it is very important that our children understand, that we are there to support them when the road begins to get tough. Sometimes teens began to get stressed because they are worried, about, whether they are going to pass an exam, or whether or not they are going to make the team. High school can bring about many changes in a teens life, especially if this is something very new to you and you're learning to adapt to changes. Of course you are no longer at middle school, and you're not going to see the same faces.

Many teens begin to worry about who will like them, they will also begin to feel unattractive because the body certainly begins to change with growing up and the girls will start to sprout out as the boys begin to grow a mustache, but this is very normal. We need to support our children and let them know that they are beautiful in every unique, form, and fashion. These are a few minor issues, that our children will face and this will heal with time. Another major issue that teenagers have to deal with, when it come to peer pressure, is learning to say, 'No', too drugs. This is one of the leading killers in high school today. When kids become overstressed they attempt to help themselves feel better by listening to what, we call cool kids, that linger in the hallways instead of trying to get an education.

They prey on kids that are loners or kids that seem depressed, but when we show our kids love and give them a listening ear, they will refrain from drugs because they know when things get rough, their parents are always there to lean on. Drugs are not the only thing that teens get hooked on when struggling with peer pressure. The other known killer of today is cigarettes which leaves the lungs black and unhealthy. For many people who have teenagers, we have to be there, for our kids and they will overcome peer pressure. They will be able to look back and understand that it was just a phase, that every teenager run into.

Differences Between Military Boarding Schools and Military High Schools

There are many differences with the main one being the living arrangements for the student. At a military boarding school, as the name suggests, the students board at the school. Apart from holidays and term vacations, the students are almost always in residence. Whereas in a military high school, those who join the cadets in the school do so but like all the other kids in the high school, go home to their family after school. Apart from this major difference there are many other smaller but no less significant differences.

In a military boarding school the students regard the issue of discipline with a greater degree of seriousness. They wear uniforms at all times, they have daily inspections, parades and regard staff as higher-ranking officers. In a military high school, the discipline activities only take place when the cadets are meeting which may be once a week. Uniforms are only worn when the cadets meet and the only staff in the school with a rank are those involved with the cadets.

The emphasis on academic matters is far stronger in a military boarding school. A military high school may well have an excellent academic program but it almost certainly won't have any regular after hours compulsory study period every school day under supervision from staff. The strong aim of the military boarding school is to enable its students to gain entry to prestigious colleges and universities across the country. In a military high school, after hours study is usually paid for by the students if they are willing and able to find staff to assist.

Discipline is given more weight in a military boarding school. With the students in uniform, there are strict rules for preparing your room, attending parades and respecting officers and orders. Failure to follow the rules will mean punishment which, if repeated failures occur, can result in expulsion. The discipline in a military high school varies from school to school but minor infractions do not carry the same consequences.

Extra-curricula activities such as sports, outdoor education and the performing arts are, generally speaking, given far more emphasis in a military boarding school. The facilities are usually first class and with students living on the school campus, there is far more opportunity for training and rehearsals. Teams and ensembles don't have the problem of missing members who have to go home. There are likely to be more field excursions in a military boarding school and more interaction with the school's local community.

Of course the major difference of the living location is one which all students and their parents need to address. Living at home with your family and going off to school every day is greatly different from sleeping in school dormitories and walking to and from school on the same campus. Whatever else may be the difference, choosing a boarding school with a military background is a way of life which suits many but not all. It takes consultation between the teen, their parents and the school to find the best outcome.

Home School - How Can I Fit More Hours in My Day?

Life is hectic, and running a household full of kids can be a real challenge. Add the responsibilities of educating your children at home and you might feel overwhelmed. To some extent, homeschoolers will ALWAYS feel like there aren't enough hours in the day! It's part of parenting, and even more a part of homeschooling. There are some things that can help. I read the book "Managers of Their Homes" and it really helped me. It is a book about scheduling your homeschool, so that you do the most important things FIRST. Determine what your priorities are, and then start with priority #1. The less important things may need to be less frequent. A schedule will sometimes tell you what is going wrong.

Sometimes parents will tell me what they are "trying" to do each day. When I add it up, they are doing too much! I remember one mother I met had scheduled nine and a half hours a DAY on academic subjects with her 9th grader. Maybe you are simply trying to do too much! So prioritize, and make sure you aren't biting off more than you can chew.

When we were homeschooling, it always felt like we were being asked to do "more." It became a struggle to keep a balance between what was important and what was "urgent". Sometimes it became necessary to cut back on some of the activities we did outside the home. You might also consider eliminating things like co-op classes, sports teams, music lessons, volunteering, employments, Boy Scouts, and even church activities. Sometimes it's all just too much! Again, try to decide what you really need and what's important to you. Scale back your activities if you can. I encourage you to have your teen be part of the conversation, though. Their interests should carry a LOT of weight.

Finding the right pace for your homeschool requires a lot of planning. Failing to plan your high school is one of "The 5 Biggest Mistakes Parents Make WhenHomeschooling High School." Learn how to avoid all 5 mistakes in my free e-mail mini-course.

Summer Safety For Kids and Teens

As the traditional school year draws to a close, it is wise for parents to sit down and talk with their children about safety. Very young children will often be in some type of supervised activities, but our 'tweens and young teens may find themselves staying home alone for the first times, maybe getting newer, independent privileges for the first times, maybe even babysitting younger siblings.

Parents, the American Red Cross provides a babysitters training course for 11-15 year olds. This course not only teaches basic child care, but also educates young people in leadership, decision making and handling emergencies. This is great training even if your older child is babsitting a sibling. Just because it is a sibling doesn't mean that your older child automatically knows some of these things.

Young teens, remember when dealing with older adults at summer camps or sports activities that it is always a good idea to be cautious - not paranoid, but cautious. Many young people get crushes on camp counselors, and that is normal. However, remember the boundaries that adults are to respect. There are, unfortunately, times when those lines are blurred. Sometimes an adult may ask a child to keep a secret about something that may not be appropriate. Students in Franklin, Tennessee learn through the Safe at Last program that there are some things to consider when an adult asks a child to keep a secret:

Could someone get hurt?
Could someone get in trouble?
Is it forever?
How does it make me feel?

Some secrets are perfectly safe; some are not. The above questions can help young people decide.

Young people also should be reminded of the safe use of electronics. Text messaging and internet communication can become hurtful, and even dangerous. Remind your children to never send any text or pictures on their phones or through the internet that they would not want anyone else to see. Nothing is ever really deleted, and once something is out there in the cyberworld, all control is lost as far as where it could end up. Cyberbullying is rampant among middle schoolers, and use of the internet should be monitored. If students will be home alone, there is protective software available, although not completely fool proof.

Lastly, remind your children that chat rooms can be very deceptive. There is never any real way to know who you are talking to. People can and do lie about many things, so it bears repeating often to never give out any personal information.

In today's society, there is probably no such thing as too much caution when it comes to our kids' safety. There are far too many sad stories in our newspapers daily. Help your child have a safe summer by putting awareness and safety first!

How Your Child Can Make the Transition From Home School to College

You may be wondering if home schooling is a good idea for a child that has outgrown their youth and are now in their latter teens. As thoughts about college arises and it's time to think about continued education, some parents feel that attending a public or private high school is necessary for college admission. But this is not true at all.

In fact, Harvard has accepted in the past 2 kids that were home schooled into their degree programs. Most colleges are aware that home schooled kids can have educational advantages as opposed to their counterparts in high school, so they are open to the possibility of accepting home schooled kids.

Most colleges are more interested in the knowledge of the student rather than a diploma, so you should keep this in mind. In fact, some colleges prefer home schoolers because of the diversity and personality that they bring to the college campus.

Some colleges don't care about tests at all while some require the use of the SAT. Criteria will vary but you should know that a lot of college courses don't require a high school background.

Even if you think that you should send your kids off to high school, you should know that college is available to your teen via general admission or even attending college online.

Going to college online will further the home schooling experience while allowing you to continue to help your child with their work. It all depends on your child's preference and learning style. They can attend a college via the comfort of their bedroom, and come out with a 100% valid college education.

You can save on college costs dramatically using this option and your child may even learn better since there are so many audio and visual aids that they be available to them.

Going to college has it benefits and disadvantages but the biggest thing that you need to weigh is whether or not you want to sacrifice your child's social life for the cost of the education. If you're child is fine with the fact that they may not meet a lot of friends via an online school, and has the "big picture" of life after college in mind - then maybe going to school online is best for them.

Complicated subjects can be immediately handled via the use of online help and resources, so there are a lot of advantages to going to college online. To help with your child's social life, they may want to get a part-time job to earn some income and to meet new friends and mingle. This can make up for lost time at college and will definitely help with their social life.

No matter what you choose, you should know that college is definitely an option for home schoolers. You just have to get the proper paperwork out to apply and your child will be good to go. If you have prepared your child correctly for college and has taught them virtually everything they need to know, then you should have no problems. You should have them take the SAT during their sophomore or junior year to see where they stand from a collegiate level.

Be sure to keep these things in mind when thinking about college for your child. College is definitely an option.

How to Set Up a Home School Classroom For Middle Schoolers

Oh, the middle school years! What can you do with these active, restless young people?

Middle School, or Junior High, is the pre-adolescent time of life most parents dread. Your child is not yet an adult, but they are far past young child stage. If you're homeschooling, these middle school years can be some of the most challenging. You want them to keep learning, but you're not quite sure how to cope with their changing moods. Successfully navigating these next few years will require more than sound curriculum choices. It will require flexibility and creativity on the part of you, the homeschool parent.

Here are some techniques and tactics for how to set up a homeschool classroom for your middle schooler:

1) Give your student plenty of room to spread out. Young people at this age are spreading their wings in many ways. Giving them a workspace where they can sprawl out on their back or on their stomach to work may be just what he/she needs to feel "free". Resist the urge to nag about books spread out all over the floor. Agree on a room or area of the house or garage that they can call their own--at least during school hours.

2) Allow them to listen to good music. Many of us concentrate best with background sounds of some kind. When I am writing or making lesson plans, I always have music or television on in the background. My mind just works best that way. Whether it's classical, jazz, or rock, your student may actually need to have some extra input to really concentrate. For you parents who need absolute quiet when working, this advice is going to sound goofy. But remember, you're trying to make an environment in which your student can work best, and a little music may be just what he/she needs.

3) Stock your homeschool library with lots of good books. My kids rolled their eyes as I would periodically pick up "a classic" at the bookstore. But in time, they picked those books up off the shelf and read every one of them! One of the best learning tools we found as we tackled those classics was to read along in the paper book while listening to the audio book. Many students will really enjoy following along in the text while listening, especially if they struggle with reading. They can start and stop the tape when needed, and make notes according to your assignment. You don't even have to be there!

4) Give them anything that is hands-on. Learning with DIME blocks, Legos, electronic circuits, a handheld device of any kind, stimulates today's teens and pre-teens. We live in an information and technology age, so let them use technology in their learning. Many homeschool families find online learning to be a great choice for their middle school and high school students.

Be willing to change things up a bit in your homeschool. Your student is maturing, growing, and changing, so be willing to be flexible when setting up your homeschool classroom for the middle school years.

Kids and Teens Benefit to Outdoor Activities

Kids and teens are the age group wherein they easily get bored. They want adventures and activities that are more fun, exciting and interesting. Nowadays, most children prefer outdoor activities in school such as playing soccer and cheer dance than staying inside the classroom doing the writing, reading and solving math problems. They love to run and play outdoor games either individually or by team. Kids and teens today like to stay at home more often than going to the school. Children are very energetic when it comes to physical activities. They don't get tired so easily. Therefore, kids and teens are fitted to do the outdoor activity which is beneficial for them. It will not only bring fun to these children but can also improve their sociability to other family members and friends. Parents should encourage their children to participate in an outdoor activity to gain various benefits. Listed below are the following benefits of letting your kids join to several outdoor activities.

Firstly, the physical benefits of outdoor activities that will give you. Since children are energetic, they can endure every move that is required for a specific activity. If this activity entails lots of running, then kids and teens are the most appropriate age group that can do it. For example, playing basketball, it is a fun and exciting sport game for male teens as well as to male kids. You can't finish the game without sweating and stretching all your muscles. Through this, you are already giving your body a good exercise. As we all know, exercise is recommended for us by doctors to remain healthy and active that promotes good circulation and oxygenation to our body. If your child is bit younger like 5 years old, outdoor activity will help him develop good sensory and motor skills. It will help them develop a stronger muscles and bones. They will not only enjoy the activity but they could also bring the best physical condition to their bodies.

Secondly, outdoor activity is helpful to the development of mental capacity of kids and teens. Learning is also possible outside the classroom. It doesn't only occur inside the house or at the classroom. There are so many things to explore outside the house too. It is good for kids to let them experience the beauty of the nature. Kids often ask what those things are because they are curious about it. Therefore, if they are brought outside wherein more things can be seen, they will ask more which will surely contribute to their learning. For teens, outdoor activity will save them from boredom. As we all know, a brain that is stagnant due to boredom will not bring any development to the brain. So keep your teens' brain active. Get them involved to activities that will enhance their cognition. Do not restrict or limit their activities inside the house because there are so many things to learn outside too.

Finally, kids and teens sense of camaraderie will develop. It is a benefit that will always be present in outdoor activities. You cannot enjoy playing outside alone. It is best to play in pairs or in groups. Of course, if you have team members, there is cooperation, communication and socialization within the team just like in basketball, baseball, and many more.

Helping Your Tweens and Teens Fail!

Weird topic? Here, my entire career is devoted to success and to teaching the skills of success to kids and parents. Usually I write about reaching potential and how parents can help their kids to do just that. Why on earth would we want to help our kids fail?

Failure is an incredibly important aspect of success. How we fail, determines in large part, what we will succeed at. Success at things and in life depends upon our willingness to put ourselves out there and take a risk. When we fear failure we are less likely to take the chance of bringing any failure into our lives. In other words, we are afraid of trying new things, trying difficult things - we are afraid of trying.

In our zeal to create young people with higher self esteem, the modern approach to parenting and schooling, particularly in the younger years, discourages competition and failure. It is almost impossible to fail in structured environments like school - where F's no longer exist and have been replaced with "Needs Improvement". Whether that is right or wrong, I can't say. What I can say is that it is not a realistic representation of the real world. We all know that in the real world - the grown up world - where fair is not a requirement and in fact, is rarely experienced, there are "F's". There are real moments where we fail, bomb, lose, get fired. Kids experience some form of this, but not the definitive FAILURE. They may lose a game, they may get poor grades, but these are gradients of failure.

As kids travel through the middle school years & into their teens, they experience the reality of failure, often for the first time. Failing the Bronze Medallion exam, flunking the driver's exam, not getting the summer job, not getting into the specialized High School programme etc. How they cope with that failure and how we help them to cope, will have a huge impact on what they will try in the future.

So, how can we help them fail? Or more specifically, how can we help them when they do fail?

1. Failure is the other side of the success coin. If you don't make the toss, you never stand a chance. Help you kids see failure as a necessary part of life. Something ventured. Help them to see that the person who exposes themselves to the possibility of failure is heroic in their bravery. Failure means that you put yourself out there and you tried something hard. You didn't stay home and only do something that you knew you'd succeed at. Failure means that you tried something with risk - that risk was failure.

2. Let them feel bad. We don't have to wear our smiley faces all the time. Allow the space for your child to feel bad about their failure. It's natural to feel bad, so don't try to cheer them up or make little of their loss. Talk to them about it. Ask them how they feel. Make it clear that feeling bad is expected and nothing to be alarmed about. Bad feelings are a part of life, not a threat to your existence.

3. Help them find a way to get back on that horse. Help them discover some way to try again, and encourage them to do so. Help them see that most failures are time tied and not permanent. If you fail the swimming test, you can try it again. Success is often about perseverance. Teach your kids to persevere.

It is funny to think that the very source of the greatest achievements in the world have come on the heels of great failures. It is hard for us, as adults to stay mindful of that, but when we do and we teach that to our kids, we offer them the chance that maybe some of us never had. The chance to try, fail, brush ourselves off and try again. How much different would your life have been if you knew that at 13?

Basic Behavior Solutions for Kids and Teens

Do you feel like your child is the boss? Do you feel like you have to tell them time and time again to pick up their toys, and do their chores? This is a common occurrence in many homes but unfortunately this often leads to bad behavior and insecurity in children. When parents provide consistent boundaries for their children, children feel secure and confident. Transitioning from children being the boss to parents being the boss can be stressful but the benefits are worth it. You and your child will feel more comfortable in your home and have an increased self esteem.

How to get your children to listen:

Give your instruction

ex-put away your toys

Withhold reinforcements until task is completed. Withholding reinforcement is key to this being effective.

ex: no snacks, toys, TV or any fun thing until the child completes the desired action

If your child screams, hits, kicks or does any other undesirable behavior make sure you are not reinforcing it by allowing it to be effective. If your child yells and screams and then you give them what they want, they are likely to do that behavior again.

What to do when a child disobeys or breaks a rule:

When a child disobeys determine the severity of the action and assign chores accordingly

Ex: child lies- child has to scrub the kitchen floor and no reinforcements until task is complete

Ex: child skips school- child has to sweep drive way, organize the closet and clean the car and they may not socialize, eat snacks, have electronics, or anything fun until task is complete (no reinforcements)

Be prepared for children to challenge you on this if they are not used to you being this assertive. Do not be intimidated if your child acts out initially. This is common but with consistency the behavior will go away. It is important you follow through with this. It will not be effective if you are inconsistent. Remember it will be stressful at first but once your children understand this is the new normal and boundaries are clear, your home will be more at peace. With this method there is no need to ever raise your voice or argue. The rules are black and white.

At time behavior problems can get complicated and help is needed. Do not be afraid to seek out a professional if you are feeling overwhelmed with your child's behaviors.

Kids and Drugs - 5 Ways to Spot Inhalant Abuse - A Parent's Guide

When people think of inhalant abuse (sniffing glue, gasoline, turpentine etc.) they generally tend to picture inner city homeless; poor souls already past the hope of help. But the reality of inhalant abuse is far different, and far scarier. 17 million Americans report having used inhalants at least once, and the most common age of experimentation is during late childhood and the early teen years.

What is inhalant abuse?

Kids sniffing glue, gasoline or other volatile chemicals, enjoy an intense and pleasant high, and a sense of intoxication resembling drunkenness in its outward appearance. Yet although kids abusing inhalants may look drunk, the intensity of the intoxication is far stronger, and these kids are at risk from impaired judgment and the risk of accidents, but far more troubling are the risks of both acute and chronic health damage.

Inhalant abuse can cause fatal heart failure, at any time, and there are some tragic cases of kids dying from a first experimentation. Chronic use can cause brain damage, damage to virtually all of the organs and a greatly increased risk for a legion of cancers. Tragically much of this damage once caused, is irreversible.

Inhaling solvents is also addictive, and kids experimenting with glue sniffing are at risk for dependency and ever increasing abuse, with all of the health risks associated with that.

Because younger kids may have trouble securing other types of drugs or alcohol, and because the substances needed for inhalant abuse can be either procured from the home, or easily purchased, the most likely inhalant abusers are kids.

Parents need to be alert and vigilant to the signs of abuse, never ignore these signs, and because the risks of abuse are so extreme; get professional help and intervention immediately if any abuse suspected.

5 Warning signs to look out for

1...Inhalant paraphernalia in the room, in a school bag or in the house. Old spray cans, tubes of glue etc. or bags smelling strongly of solvents.

2...A chemical smell on the person or in the clothes. Unless your kid is moonlighting in a factory, there is no reason for regular chemical aromas.

3...Stains on the clothes or the face. Kids abusing inhalants will often spill quantities of these staining substances on the clothes, and may also have traces on their faces from inhaling out of bags.

4...A loss of appetite. Inhalant abuse negatively affects hunger, and it is not normal for healthy and growing kids to be consistently without appetite.

5...Confusion or seeming intoxication. Never ignore the obvious signs of intoxication thinking your kids are too young to be experimenting with inhalants. Most inhalant abusers start their habit very young, and kids don't look drunk without good reason.

Don't wait if you suspect abuse

The damage of an inhalant addiction is unparalleled and tragic, and kids at any age are at risk of abuse. Talk to your kids about the dangers, and be aware to the signs that point to abuse. If you see or even suspect a problem, make sure you take action. The dangers of doing too much are few, yet the risks of inaction are heartbreaking.