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.

Basketball Goals - How to Make Sure Kids and Teens Are Safe

Kids love basketball. Whether kids are short or tall, old or young, have experience or no experience, they love to pick up the ball and give it a try. The goal may seem miles away, but they will try to make a basket and dribble around the court. Just as important as teaching kids the rules of the game, is teaching them how to be safe. When purchasing a basketball goal for your home, school, or community keep these safety tips in mind.

For basketball goals with a pole, purchase pole padding. Pole padding is a simple foam padding with a vinyl cover. The padding can be wrapped around the pole and closed with the attached velcro strip. Most padding fits poles up to 66" tall, but check your pole height to get the right fit. Typically padding is 1 ½" thick.

Padded poles protect kids from injury. It is easy to run into the pole when playing a game or chasing the ball. Injuries from colliding with a pole that isn't padded can range from bumps and bruises to concussions or broken bones. Adding pole padding can greatly reduce the chance of these types of injuries.

In addition to padding the pole on your basketball goal, you can also add a gusset pad. These pads are pyramid shaped and cover the base plates and bolts on an adjustable crank system. Gusset pads will help prevent foot injuries that can occur when players bump into the base plates. It will also protect players from being scratched or injured on any bolts.

Another item that you can add to your basketball system to help kids be safe is a ball retention net. This net attaches to the back of your system and stretches to the ground. When baskets are made or attempted, the balls retract off of the net and can roll back towards the player. This is a great way to prevent kids from running into the street or other people's yards after the ball. Adding something as simple as this gives kids a visual boundary.

For teenagers who are ready to start attempting slam dunks, the type of net you have on your basketball goal becomes a safety issue. Make sure you get an anti-whip net. Anti-whip nets are made of a specific type of nylon that won't tangle around hands or fingers. This helps protect player's hands from injuries that may occur when going in for a slam dunk.

Another safety issue for teenagers is the type of rim that you have. A flex rim gives when pressure is put on it. This spring loaded resistance protects both the player and the backboard. For teens who will be making more contact with the rim, a flex rim assures that the pressure they apply can be handled.

Teaching basketball to kids and teens is a fun and exciting experience, but safety is of the utmost importance. Keep kids and teens safe by adding some of this equipment to your basketball goal.

Gift Ideas For Kids and Tweens

Need a gift for a hard to shop for tween? Want to give a get well wish to the star little leaguer laid up with a broken leg? Can't make it to the little Diva's big spring recital, and not sure a dozen roses is exactly what she would enjoy to mark her stage debut. Is your grandbaby's birthday coming up and you are simply out of ideas? Need the perfect gift, that is a not a trendy high priced toy?

A kid friendly gift basket is a great alternative to high priced toys or a generic gift card to a store the kiddos or tweens might see as out before you know it or for a store that is "so last year!". Gift baskets for kids are highly customizable and can be full of bath time fun, movie themed treats, character specific paraphernalia and treats for boys and girls, outdoor adventures and downtime fillers. Have a gaggle of nieces and nephews and not sure what to buy them, a large fully stocked gift basket will have something for everyone, from the littlest tike to the very picky pre-teen.

Gift baskets are like a treasure chest, lots of yummy treats to discover and little hidden surprises in the layers of wrapping and nesting material. Gift baskets are a gift that will provide instant gratification (candy and cookies and snacks) and enduring treasures, like card games, old time toys, activity books, and towels and totes.

With a variety of themes and an assortment of goodies, gift baskets truly offer something for even the pickiest tween or teen. Also children with food allergies or very specialized interests can also enjoy a basket, customized to their likes, needs and preferences.

Gift baskets and other assortments are artfully wrapped and present, to be a focal point of any occasion and most of them just beg to be ripped into and explored. Fun for adults and kids alike, gift basket really are a wonderful alternative for just about any occasion.

Every year the local PTA does a gift basket silent auction. Why? Because people, especially children love gift baskets. Gift baskets are fun in a container. Themed baskets offer a variety of fun and games with a purpose. Superman and friends and Hannah Montana or Camp Rock, kid friendly gift baskets offer the experience in a box.

There is just something special about crinkly cellophane wrap, a variety of candies and snacks, and a collection of other fun theme items, to make any occasion just a little more exciting. Gift baskets are hours of yummy fun for all occasions. Back to school, away from home, get well soon, happy birthday and congratulations all sound sweeter with a side of crinkly cellophane and a big basket of joy.

Toddlers are often too old for baby toys but too young for toys and games geared towards older preschoolers. The basket with the right mix of toys and games will make them feel all grown up and still be age appropriate. Even if mom and dad have to remove and item or two, there will be plenty of exciting treats to enjoy.

Tweens are a very difficult age group to buy for is the constant refrain in the school pick up line. What to get that ten year old boy or girl for the next birthday? When video games and ITunes gift cards are the norm, maybe a bit of nostalgia is just the thing. Share a sampling of your favorite old school games and snacks. Send her a pampering spa experience in a tote or tub. Gift basket are really a sky is the limit venture, there are limitless combination and ideas, which can be layered in the basket and wrapped in that giggle inducing crinkly wrap.

Gift baskets and other assortments are artfully wrapped and present, to be a focal point of any occasion and most of them just beg to be ripped into and explored. Fun for adults and kids alike, gift basket really are a wonderful alternative for just about any occasion.

Troubled Teens Alternative Schools

Many parents who have an only one child are not willing to send their child to a boarding school style facility. Instead, they choose to take their disturbed teen to a troubled teens alternative school. Usually, troubled teens alternative schools are day schools. The troubled teen lives in a highly structured school during the day and then returns home at night. There are also residential type alternative schools available, which are rare in number.

Alternative schools cater for teenagers who do not fit into mainstream educational institutions. They provide chances for out-of-control teenagers to change their behaviors and get back on track. Alternative schools also facilitate the change of students from other treatment programs into traditional education, by bringing these students up to date academically.

There are a number of other reasons for a parent to choose an alternative school for their child. Most parents often think that their kids are put at a risk and will face negative experiences in the public school classrooms. Alternative schools involve the entire family in their activities and each member of the family will have options to make in arranging the family calendar. This participation is increased gradually and progressively as the parents find that they are not only intellectually enthused, but may feel overwhelmed too.

The community of troubled teen alternative schools is widely distributed. The teenagers come from a variety of parents who have different viewpoints of learning. In addition to academics, alternative schools offer a variety of programs to help troubled teens, including athletics, personal development courses, emotional growth sessions, daily responsibilities and duties, therapeutic treatments, and counseling sections. Alternative schooling provides a peaceful, restorative quality to a troubled teen?s life and self-esteem. It usually contains a well-stated philosophy and mission and the parents should understand and agree with these.

Alternative schools may be a feasible option for teens who are just different. However, they are not suitable for teenagers who have serious behavioral problems that are exacerbated by relationships with compeers. Often, these teenagers show progress during the day, but enter into negative behaviors when they spend evenings with friends. Therefore choosing an alternative school for troubled teens needs a very close and careful look.

Parental Survival Skills: Getting Your Children and Teens to Listen and Obey

There are no easy answers when it comes to deciding how to communicate or deal with with your children in a manner that will get them to change problem behavior. The best way is to start with a simple goal like getting them to listen to you and respond in a positive way. Easier said than done? Maybe, but let me show you some proven and effective ways to get your point across and change your children's bad behavior patterns without having to bang your head against the wall.

Plan to succeed by deciding what it is you want to communicate to your children, what discipline methods will work best with them and how you can help them to avoid problem behavior in the first place. Start by keeping your communications with them simple. Don't lecture or tell them what happened when you were a kid. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Keep your sentences short, speak clearly and always remain calm.

Children learn from their parents. If you yell and fly off the handle, so will they. If you hit and beat them (which you should never do), they will learn that violence is a way to try and get people to do what you want them to do. If you warn them not to do something and offer a punishment if they do not obey, make sure that you follow through. Otherwise, your kids will learn that all your threats are empty ones and just keep doing what you do not want them to do.

Do you constantly criticize and never praise your children? Criticism has its place as long as it is carefully worded and constructive. Let's use a messy room situation as an example. If you tell your child, "You are the biggest slob I have ever met," what is that telling them? The answer is: nothing. No only have you insulted your kid, but they still have not actually received any instructions from you. Try this instead: "Clean up your room today. If you do, you will have more room to play and space for your friends when they come over."

That tells a child that's there is something in it for them to clean up. When your child cleans things up or does a chore on time, offer some unexpected praise by thanking them for doing so. If they do not follow your directions to clean the room after at least two warnings, lower the boom with a reasonable punishment. Ground them, give them time-out, refuse to allow their friends to play with them or do all three until their room is cleaned up to your satisfaction.

If you have house rules, make sure your child understands them. Too many parents continually shout out all kinds of demands at their children without telling them exactly what they would like their kids to do. If a child stays outside too long after dark would it be better to say, "Do you think you can stay out all night?" or "You know the rules: Be in before dark." The answer is obvious. Rules remove excuses and replace vague criticisms and insults.

One way to take the sting out of rules is by offering your child some choices. There are kids that would rather sweep the porch than do the dishes or clean the garage instead of taking out the garbage. By offering choices and letting your child decide, you remove yet another reason for them not to do their chores. If they fail to do them, take immediate action. Never put punishments or the assignment of punishment off for more than a short time. If you do, the child will probably not even recall what they did wrong by the time they are punished and will not learn from the punishment.

Children are not perfect and deserve a chance. The last thing you want is to be perceived as an unfair dictator. Most experts recommend that you give kids three chances to complete a task, do a chore or instantly change a negative behavior. If you want a child to stop banging a toy against the wall, ask them to stop. If they do not, tell them to stop. If that fails, take the toy away and give them a suitable punishment like time out or extra chores.

If you want your kids to listen to you, you have to listen to them. If your child wants to talk with you, give them the attention that they deserve. Turn off the TV, move away from the computer and stop text messaging. Listen to them and respond to what they say in an honest and concerned manner. Offer sound advice and do not placate kids by saying that they will feel better in the morning or tell them to get their minds off their troubles. If you do not help your kids with their problems, they will look elsewhere for answers and you do not want them doing that. Try to get to the heart of their problem and help them solve it.

Never use name-calling or labeling in your communications with your kids, Do not tell them they are stupid, dumb, lazy, crazy, act like a baby or make statements like, "You are just like your no-good Uncle Henry." You also do not want to go too far in the other direction by using politically correct psycho-babble responses like, "I see... That makes sense... I understand... Really... How about that...I feel your pain" and so on. Be kind, be fair, be honest and be yourself.

Children like reinforcement. Sometimes that want to talk to you about a very simply problem to see if you are willing to invest the time and effort required to help them solve it. For example: Your child says, "All my friends are away for the weekend and I have nothing to do." Ask them if they would like to do something with you. Perhaps you both could go to the park, visit the local library, see a movie, throw a baseball around or do something else you often do together. You can also suggest they go out and try to make some new friends in the neighborhood or visit a neighbor's child that they have not spoken to in a while.

You should never play Let's Make A Deal with your kids. If you do it once, they will expect it again. Do not compromise your authority or their safety. There are going to be plenty of times when you will have to stand your ground, especially with teens. Things like dating, wearing make-up, inappropriate physical relationships, staying out late at night, failing courses at school or driving a friends car without your permission (or perhaps even a driver's license) are good examples.

Teens have reached a stage of development that is preparing them for life on their own. This makes is difficult to keep them in line with house rules designed to rein in their desire to be completely independent before they are ready and to protect them from harm. Teens believe they will live forever and many think they know everything, so any arguments deigned to appeal to common sense or warn against the possible dire consequences of their actions will likely fail.

Teens want respect and freedom, but those things have to be earned. Let them no that. Make a short but comprehensive list of rules you need for them to follow. Each time they break a rule, there must be an instant consequence. Teens love to communicate, so taking away phone or computer privileges for a reasonable period of time is a good start. If they stay out late, ground them. If they still try and go out or habitually break the rule about staying out late, take away their I.D. and place a pad lock on their closet so that they do not have instant access to clothes except for sweats or pajamas to wear around the house.

You have to protect your kids because they probably will place what they believe is having fun above protecting themselves. If you feel your kids might be experimenting with drugs, have them drug-tested during a scheduled doctor's office appointment. If they are using drugs, take immediate steps to stop that behavior. Keep them away from the drugs and the drugs away from them. This could mean no longer allowing them out of the house on their own. It might also mean placing them in a stricter educational environment (by changing schools or home schooling). Regular and unexpected drug tests should also be performed to be sure they are following the rules.

Inappropriate physical relationships are a huge problem among teens and always have been. Teens do not understand the long range and very serious consequences that can arise from what they consider to be just "fooling around." There are no easy ways to deal with these except to limit the times that teens have alone with their peers. Grounding and isolation from other kids has to be handled delicately to avoid making your teen a social outcast. This should be a last resort, not a first response if you suspect your teen is having that type of a physical relationship.

The most important consideration in any step you take must always be the health and safety of your child. Before you lower the boom with a complete grounding and total isolation, try to give your teen some wiggle room by allowing them out within strictly set parameters. Make it a rule that at no time are they to be alone with a known or perceived girl or boy friend. This rule should extend to the point that your teen is not allowed to be anywhere that might offer them the opportunity to be completely unsupervised by responsible adults.

Check up on your teen and make sure they check in with you on an hourly basis when they are out on their own. Make this a hard and fast rule that has instant consequences if broken. If you allow them to take charge of and run their own life, they will probably run it right into the ground. Remember, it's not only in your child's best interests to keep them out of trouble, it is in yours as well. There are many jurisdictions where parents are now held equally responsible for the actions of their children. Parents are being fined or even jailed when their adolescent or teen children get out of control and habitually break the law.

There are no shortcuts to good parenting. You have to be positive, decisive, proactive and responsible when it comes to your children. You must be a good listener, constant companion, fair judge and always follow through with any reasonable punishment when children and teens refuse to behave, break the house rules or decide to test the limits of how often you will exert your authority.

Should I Home School?

"As parents we ask ourselves many things when it comes to raising our children...we worry about what they eat, what they watch, who they play with, how they behave themselves when we're not around. Of course, we also worry about their schooling. But how many of us feel confident enough to take charge of our children's education and what advantages are there to doing so?"

Seriously, have you ever thought about teaching your child? It's quite a concept, isn't it? The truth is, most people never dream of taking on the responsibility of their child's education, at least, not in this day and age. It doesn't even enter into the heads of most parents. Most don't consider it an option because they have so much faith in the school system and the teachers who operate it. Well, is that truly the case or do most parents overlook the option of homeschooling their children because they simply don't feel qualified. Most parents who think about homeschooling feel overwhelmed by the very idea. They stop dead thinking about how much work will be involved; how much patience they'll have to maintain. They wonder, can I be the parent and the teacher? Will I have to learn all of the subjects? Why should I home school? These questions and more have risen every time I speak about homeschooling, every time I discuss the great benefits of this educational approach.

Home schooling does require time and energy, there's no getting around this. But if you play your cards right and focus on getting your kids excited about learning, in time, you can leave most of the teaching up to them. What I mean by this, is the first few years of their life until the age of seven, you teach your children to read, write, and apply basic math skills..

Here are some other things to consider:

o Once your children have mastered the basic skills of learning, once they know how to read and apply numbers, then you can have them start working independently.
o Gradually, children can learn to teach themselves.
o In the beginning, homeschooling requires three to four hours of work a day, supplemented by the odd field trips.
o By the time your kids reach seven or eight years old, however, homeschooling only requires about one hour from you and about five to six hours from them every day.
o The major advantage of this approach to learning, however, is that your kids eventually develop a habit of studying independently.

Of course, most parents worry about having the patience to teach their kids the basics study skills. As a business woman, the idea of staying at home with my kids every day never really occurred to me as a lifestyle unto itself. On the other hand, I was very focused on raising my kids the proper way did. When I first started home schooling, the whole process took some getting used to; the process was both difficult and demanding, with the first two months being the hardest, like most new things we begin. Once my kids and I had settled into a routine, however, things started to become a lot easier. Only seven months later, homeschooling for me and for my kids is a piece of cake. It's thrilling to see my kids really benefiting from the experience.

At the end of the day, the curriculum you choose also helps you to teach all the subjects relevant to a rounded education. As the teacher, all you have to do is follow the curriculum and the agenda that is written for you on a daily basis by home school advocates. You will learn as you go.

When it came to distinguishing between school and home, I began my homeschooling odyssey by explaining to my kids that when I am a teacher I will speak English only, and when I am a mom, I will speak Dari only. However you establish it, you need to make sure that your kids know that you have two different roles. In school time, my children get to be students who ask thousands of questions; as their teacher, I have to answer. In home time, I am teaching manners, and showing them what good behavior is. Above all, I've found that it's important to always be the best person you can so your children have a good role model to follow.

So, why should you home school? There are many reasons:

1. To allow your child to learn at their level, and excel at their pace.
2. To teach them all the things you think are important, including religious studies.
3. To let them become creative and find the gifts they were blessed with.
4. To give them confidence in their abilities.

The Benefits of a Teen Boarding School

There are many benefits for students in a teen boarding school. They are not military schools with strict discipline, uniforms, parades and drills. They are not day high schools where the students go home every night and may be without supervision.

Private boarding schools have the best of both worlds. Students are supervised 24/7 and can home for semester and summer breaks. They can be troubled in some ways and still gain admission to the school. While not for out of control teens or those with major problems, students who need guidance and discipline and the friendship of students and staff on a full time basis will find this at a boarding school for teens.

Preparing for college life and the dormitory accommodation found on campus is well catered for in a teen boarding school. And because students are thrown together in academic, sporting, meal times and for other activities, they are more likely to develop strong friendships which can last a lifetime. Cliques and enemies are less likely to occur in a school where the students live and study all the time.

Developing leadership skills is a major benefit for students at a boarding school. Because the live on site there is usually no travel time between living quarters and school and students are given tasks both large and small to help become a leader. These are character building situations which when fully developed will stand any boy or girl in good stead for later life.

Because they are at their school full time, the students are not in a position of getting into trouble. Mixing with the wrong crowd, going to places where drugs and alcohol are available and being tempted by some of the dangerous things kids are tempted by today. Parents really appreciate knowing their son or daughter is under constant supervision by their school.

Being on-site means the students can develop any particular interest they have such as sport or performing arts. Most teen boarding schools offer a wide range of facilities so if a student is keen on swimming or athletics of playing the flute or doing ballet, they are able to work on these interests in a safe and friendly atmosphere because the facilities are part of their school.

Remember that teenage years can be difficult with young boys and girls growing rapidly and facing puberty and other issues of the day. Being in a safe environment and surrounded by caring adults is a big help. Schools take a high degree of interest in their pupils from all points of view. The school obviously takes an interest from an academic and future study and employment point of view but also with regards to the social life of their students.

Teenagers need to feel comfortable with their peers and feel free to mix well with other students. That is why being in a teen boarding school makes social development a much easier task.

Academic standards are important in all schools but boarding schools which are essentially private institutions, rely on the success of their students to build their name and reputation. That is why there are so many worthwhile and long-lasting benefits for students who attend a teen boarding school.

Facebook, Texting, and Teens: Is It A Good Thing? Pros and Cons, and Suggested Parental Controls

Recent research findings indicate that modern-day modes of communication can greatly benefit teens, especially anxious teens and boys. Teens in general, and anxious teens in particular, greatly fear humiliation and rejection. Developing new friendships, and deepening existing friendships, can be quite difficult for them. Texting, instant messaging, and Facebook have been found to reduce these fears and allow them to connect with peers they may otherwise avoid. Valkenberg & Peter (2010) report that these modalities allow the teen to take greater risks of healthy self-disclosure which can enhance friendships and ultimately increase the teen's self-confidence and well-being. Social networks, like Facebook, break down barriers to communication, such as cliques, socioeconomics, and physical separation. Kids who normally wouldn't speak to each other at school are now able to connect and built friendships. There is a greater community being experienced online than at school.

Valkenberg & Peter (2010) report that eight-years ago only 11% of a teen's friends were online. Now, only about 11% are NOT online. Teens online now communicate almost exclusively with their friends. In the past, they mainly communicated with strangers in chat rooms. In today's culture, if your teen does not have access to texting or Facebook, they could be completely left out of their community network.
In my practice, I have seen teen's mentally health improve by utilizing these means of communication. They have more friends, closer friends, and feel better about themselves. It contradicts what we first thought would happen years ago, that kids would become even more socially isolated, but it's true. They still need face-to-face interaction, but the use of these technologies can make that connection less difficult to initiate and maintain.

Many parents, especially anxious parents, fear the new means of communication- cell phones, texting, instant messaging, Facebook and Myspace, but things have changed for the better over the last decade. Security applications and parental controls for Facebook and cell phones have greatly improved. Parents can now monitor and limit the amount of usage for cell phones, texting, and social networking activities. Facebook settings allow for your child's profile information to only be seen by friends. Nothing's perfect of course, but multiple research studies indicate that these communication formats are much safer and that there are benefits for the teen being plugged in.

Some further suggestions for parents who decide to let their teens use these technologies:

1.) Join the revolution and stop criticizing these new forms of communication (it only makes you look old). These things are here to stay. Get a phone that allows you to text. Get a Facebook account and become your child's friend. Knowledge always breaks down fear. Interact with these technologies to gain a better understanding of your child's world.

2.) Protect your teen from pornography, especially if you have a son. The percentage of male teens who view pornography on a regular basis has skyrocketed over the last decade. Never before in the history of mankind has the accessibility of porn been so easy for young men to obtain. Don't assume your child would never view it. I can't tell you how many times I've worked with parents shocked by their son's porn use, often for years. Regardless of your personal views regarding pornography, research overwhelming indicates that the viewing of porn by young men is significantly harmful. Get protection for your home computers, and your child's smart phone, PSP, or iTouch. Yes, these devises can access the internet and therefore porn. Since the iTouch came out and replaced the more common iPod, many young men view porn on it. Apple has software that will block it, but you must install it. Protect your child's future from sexual addiction and problems with intimacy by protecting them now!

3.) Scott Frank (2010) reports that texting more than 120 texts per day, and social networking more than 3-hours per day, has been correlated with negative behaviors like smoking, drug & alcohol use, fighting, and promiscuous sexual behavior. The use of these communication technologies follows the law of diminishing returns, which states that something is beneficial up to a point of use. Then, with every increment of greater use, it becomes more harmful. Think of Aspirin- very helpful up to a point, then harmful and even lethal. I recommend to my clients allowing their teen to have a half-hour of free time when they get home from school to text, Facebook, or play a video game. Then ALL technologies should be off when they do homework, except maybe some music in the background. Then once they are done, they can resume activities. Use of these things should be less during the school week than the weekend. I'd suggest a maximum of 2-hours of all media during the week and 4-5 hours on weekend days. Texting can be for a little longer as long as it does not exceed the limit stated above.

Teach your child to compartmentalize and balance these wonderful new inventions, whether it be communication technologies or video games. They need to learn how to use them, and when to turn them off so that they don't distract them or rob them of more relationship enhancing activities. The world is an ever-changing place and we must change with it so that we can properly guide our young people to maximize the new technologies and minimize their risks.

Choosing A Monologue For Kids And Teens - Hints For A Successful Audition

What is the right monologue for you? Kids and teens are often faced with this question.
Whether you are auditioning for a school or community play, a job, an agent or manager or even
a Performing Arts College your choice of monologue will have a lot to do with how successful
you will be.

Not too long ago, my son was auditioning for several Performing Arts Colleges and although he
had participated in many theater productions as a kid, now that he was a teenager, we were advised
to have him work with a monologue coach. After calling several theater professionals, whose opinion
I trusted, I came up with the name of a person that seemed to fit our needs. I proceeded
to call him, to check his availability, and to conduct a phone interview. The phone call went well and, consequently, we set up the initial meeting. What follows is the process that they went through in order to determine the perfect monologue for my teenage son.

  • Before the first meeting the monologue coach asked me to describe my son's physical characteristics, training, and what roles (if any) he had played over the years.

  • The coach chose six monologues he thought might be suitable and brought them to the first coaching session. He then presented them to my son. They read through each monologue and talked about what was the most comfortable (in terms of delivery) and appropriate for the piece.

  • My son came away from the first session with four monologues to consider. His coach asked him to obtain a copy of the entire play from which each monologue was taken, and to read through each one in its entirety.

  • During the next coaching session, my son worked on all four pieces. He and the coach then decided to eliminate one more of the monologues, as it did not suit my son well and he, in fact, did not have any interest in performing it.

  • Having selected three suitable pieces, that both the coach and my son felt were believable pieces for a young "all American boy next door" type to perform, they worked on these pieces for the next four weeks. There was one lesson per week. My son also rehearsed at home in front of the mirror in between lessons.

  • This young actor became very comfortable with the monologues and confident in his delivery. He subsequently auditioned for six theater schools and was admitted to all of them.

Not everyone has the luxury of being able to employ a monologue coach, however, anyone can employ the same process as outlined above. The most important thing that we learned from the experience is that the monologue you choose must be suitable to you. This means that a person of your "type" must be believable when you speak and act the words of the character you've chosen to portray. For example, an "all American" type is not always going to be believable playing the role of an "introverted geek", and vice versa. The world takes all kinds and so does the theater. Be honest with yourself. There are suitable roles for everyone. This is why it is so very important to read the entire play from which your monologue is taken. You need to know the character's frame of reference (where he or she is coming from) and where he fits in terms of the plot, and other characters in the play. Besides, especially at college auditions, you may be asked about the plot of the play from which your monologue is taken. Remember, when you audition, the casting director or professor doesn't usually know you personally. You must convince them that you have the ability to play whatever character you've chosen. Choose your monologue carefully, rehearse often and make them believe! You should do well on your auditions.

Homeschool High School - Will a Perfectionist Do Well in Community College?

Dual enrollment (that is, enrollment in high school and college at the same time,) may not be the best option for homeschoolers, especially if your child has perfectionist tendencies.

A common pattern works something like this:

  • high-achieving teen feels unchallenged at home and goes to community college

  • gets straight As with little or no effort

  • then starts college at a real university

  • works as hard as they did at community college (i.e., not much)

  • gets poor grades because they used the same skills as when they were at community college

  • teen feels stupid because of poor grades

  • parents notice sadness, become concerned

Our pediatrician said this is the common cycle that "perfectionist" kids go through during the transition from community college to a university. He said that as a doctor he never recommends dual enrollment (high school and college) while a child is in their high school years. He always recommends continuing high school or going to real college early.

When we were in dual-enrollment, we couldn't find many classes that would challenge my son and at the same time not offend our faith. That meant my Poli-Sci son Alex spent most of his time in engineering physics and math classes with his brother. I'm glad he liked differential equations, LOL!

In addition, we noticed that for the first time, my kids encountered people who didn't want to learn. People there thought passing meant over a 0.7 GPA, and that a 2.0 in a class was good. People didn't speak up in class, even when they knew the answer. The academic environment was very poor.

I go to a lot of college fairs in my business. One community college took me aside and said "Please tell homeschoolers not to send their young children to community college! We have adjudicated people in the classes!" She said felons, including predators, were known to be on campus, and they worry about innocent homeschoolers.

I live in very liberal Seattle, but I've heard very similar stories from a mom in Oklahoma.

I know that lots of kids do well in dual enrollment. I've noticed that they typically aren't "perfectionist" kids. As the result of my experience, I recommend that people use dual enrollment only when they have completely run out of curriculum AND can't afford the costs of college. Dual Enrollment is not a panacea for gifted children.

More importantly, though, you know your children better than anyone, and you know what will help them thrive. No situation is perfect, but you will find what works for you. I wanted to give you the benefit of other's experience, and relay the information that I got from my child's doctor.

I asked my son if he thought community college had been a mistake. At the age of 20 he said "YES!" If I could do my life over again, I would have homeschooled college for two years, not one. Community college wasn't worth the cost of "free" education.

Uniform Violations for Kids and Teens

Here is the most aggravating article head teachers and parents are likely to read for a very long time.

Here is a suggested list of things kids can do to enhance an ugly school uniform, once safely out of the school gates and away from the beady eyes scrutinizing for uniform infractions.

1. Roll over the waistline of your school skirt to hike them a good four inches above regulation level. A hot tip for pleats is that if you safety pin the pleats first they do not warp when you roll them.

2. School caps for boys are the geekiest invention in the history of the world. However if you turn the peak skyward you can have the advantage of looking not only geeky, but colourful too.

3. Flat brogues for girls make even the nicest legs look dumpy. However you can manufacture a passable heel lift by adding three or more heel supports inside the shoe. This makes your calves tighten as you walk and is a marked improvement over the Farmer Jones motif.

4. Change your tights in the girl's toilets before leaving for home, for a finer denier. The thick ones make your legs look like planks.

5. School shirts should always be clean, but you can make your arms look slimmer by rolling up even the short sleeves in a cuff. Even better with a summer tan. Even better with a temporary tattoo.

6. Sneak your mother's sewing machine and sew darts into the back of your school blouse. Boys' shirts also benefit from this little trick, especially if the boys in question happen to be fit.

7. Knot your school sweater around your neck rather than wearing it in the conventional way. Not only does it look stylish, it hides the rest of the geek outfit by dangling down the front or back. Turn up the back of the school shirt for extra effect.

8. There are some things even a school uniform cannot camouflage, such as nice clean, shiny hair, clean skin, a great figure and so on. Also, you can make even the worst possible uniform look sexy if you learn to walk properly. Check out the many websites which offer advice. However, practice at home in front of the mirror before making an idiot of yourself at school, because some of these walking postures can have the opposite effect and make you look even more ridiculous than the uniform. Girls can wear their hair up which makes them look taller. Boys can try the heel lift trick if there are no sports classes to expose the artifice.

9. Apply some make up before leaving for school if you can get away with it but don't overdo. Thickly applied makeup with a school uniform looks cheap and this is not the impression anyone would wish to convey. Vaseline makes very good clear mascara and you do not have to wash it off. Colourless mascaras are good too but more expensive. Very few teachers or parents object to a touch of light blusher, as long as it is skilfully applied. Practise first.

10. Should you spot a figure of authority coming toward you, try to find somewhere to sit down before you are spotted. A seated figure is harder to check out for hemlines.

Families and Teens - Love As an Action Verb

For many families the teenage years of their children are more than just a challenge. Many families find that their children suddenly change into people they don't even know and become frustrated and angry with the "new" people who are now living with the family. About two million kids between the ages of 13-17 run away from home each year. So, how to effectively deal with a teenager in the family is not a problem that is yours alone, even though it may feel like it.

Families spend a lot of their time trying to figure out ways to communicate with their teens and return their lives to normal. But, this can be very difficult and easily turns into a verbal debate with a teen that has made up their mind about an issue. One of the most important things to remember when you are entering the dark teenage years with your child is that "Love is a verb".

Before a child hits their teen years they spend a lot of time showing parents how much they love them. From the time a child is a toddler they want to be with their parents, hug them, sit on their laps, be a part of their lives. Children spend a lot of time "doing" love. When children become teenagers it is time for parents to become the "doers" in showing their love. While many teens do not appreciate physical displays of affection very often, and do not want to be "embarrassed" in front of their peers by a parent who tells them they are loved, there are other ways to make love a verb in your life with a teenager. Here are a few easy ways to turn love into a verb with your teen.

  • Plan on some one on one time with your teen. It is important to remember that most teens do not want to be seen with their parents. Remember, this is not personal. Teens want to be grown-ups and part of that means that their parents aren't hanging around with them in front of their friends. Spending one on one time with your teen is going to take effort and planning. Take a day trip to a neutral place where there is little or no chance that your child's friends will be there. It doesn't have to be an expensive outing, just a day at the beach or hiking. Yes, your teen will complain about going, complain about what they are missing, complain about the weather, and anything else that may make you give up. But, once you are at the location and just hanging out with your teen you will find that kids will open up and talk about their fears, dreams, and hopes. You may find that the first few times you do this you and your teen will spend several hours just sitting. That is okay, the idea is to spend one on one time together and besides showing that you love them enough to want to hang out with them, eventually there will be communication.

  • It is very difficult for a parent to listen without giving advice or having an opinion. As parents and as people we have lived long enough that we have an opinion about just about everything. But, opinions and independent ideas are new to your teen. The action of love is listening and responding with interest to their ideas and opinions. Not giving advice, saying something like, "Absolutely no way!" or, ignoring them. Many times a parent is the person that teens test their opinions and ideas on, you are their sounding board and they aren't saying something because they believe it, but because they want to hear what it sounds like out loud and see what the reaction to that belief will be by others. Letting a teen talk through their opinion or idea to it's inevitable conclusion empowers them and helps them to grow into adults that will think things through. Listening and responding without judging is one of the action verbs of love.

  • Focusing on the positive everyday with a teen is an action verb. A friend had a daughter with long, flowing, beautiful hair that she loved. One day her daughter came home from school with her hair dyed purple. While it was hard not to react negatively, she told her daughter how much she loved the haircut that she had gotten and didn't react at all to the purple hair. When her daughter asked her what she thought about the color her response was, "Well, the color is different but if you like it, it's your choice." The next day her daughter had dyed her hair back to it's natural color. By focusing on the positive instead of the negative there was no argument about how awful the hair looked or how her daughter was old enough to make her own decisions. This was not easy for the mom, but it was the "action" of love. And, the teen was not placed in a position of asserting her independence through a fight that would have ended badly.

There are many ways to make love an action verb in a family. It is important to take time to think about how, as parents, we react to a teens efforts to become an independent adult and include making "love an action verb" as daily part of our family life.

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At haymom you will find information and tips for creating a strong family, and ways that you can achieve goals that you may have set aside. The staff of haymom are devoted to seeing you succeed as a mom, a wife, a woman, and a family. They search daily for new information that will help you to achieve your goals for yourself and your family. And, they also search for ways that you can relax and live a more stress-free life.

What To Do When Your Teen Skips School

For the most part, the problems you will have with your teens will be the run-of-the-mill teen attitude variety. Most teens are good kids who make good choices. Even the so-called "bad" teens are actually just good teens who make bad choices...and that's the best way to approach your teen when he or she skips school. Instead of accusing your teen of being a bad person, recognize that nearly every teen wants that extra day off at least once and that it is normally for no other reason than to see if they can do it without getting caught.

I am not saying that you should not take it seriously when your teen skips school. In fact, I believe that parents need to get tough on teens who skip. I firmly believe that teens should know their parents expectations and that open communication is the key to successful parenting. The more your teens know about how you feel about them not skipping class, the more likely they will be to avoid that particular bad choice.

When your teen doesn't want to go to school, it might be an indication that he or she is overburdened and looking for a break. It's ok to teach your teen about life balance issues. Often the demands placed on teens are incredible, between academic requirements, searching for the right college, sports games and practices, and still trying to manage a social life. You can set an example of good life balance by sending a clear message that it is ok to take a break now and then.

There should be consequences for the teen who skips school. Often, the school will count the teen as truant and all of the teachers will be required to give failing grades for the day's assignments. However, if there is no follow-up from home, that may not be enough to deter further episodes of class skipping. Talk with your teen. Find out the reasons behind why your teen skips school. Is there a bully involved? Has something changed in your teen's life that is causing distress? Did he or she recently gain or lose a friend or boyfriend that may be impacting life at school?

Make it clear to your teen that going to school is his or her obligation, just like going to work is yours. Place value on your teen's education, but recognize if your teen truly needs a break and work to help him or her learn to better balance the demands. If your teen skips school habitually, enlist the assistance of the school counselor. Your teen student can be placed on a variety of academic performance reports in which the teachers have to sign off on his or her daily attendance.

If your teen skips school, make sure he or she understands that it is a choice, but that it is a choice that carries consequences. Teens who skip are not responsible enough, perhaps, to have a cell phone or a car; teens who skip are not demonstrating the maturity required to go on the school trip or have a part-time job. The message you send about what the impact of your teen's choices are will help him or her make better choices about skipping.

How to Implement Cooking Lessons in Your Home School

Cooking with your kids can have lifetime benefits as well as teach them about nutrition.
You can easily incorporate cooking with your kids on a regular basis. Here are some ideas to help implement cooking lessons or just fun cooking activities from home.

Start cooking lessons that are age appropriate. Any child of any age group can get involved helping in the kitchen and learning to create and cook. Analyze what your child can do and what is safe for your kids and plan cooking activities accordingly.

Assign your kids to help cook dinner once a week. If you have teens they can be the head chef for a meal. If you have more than one child this is a great way to get one on one cooking experiences with them. Each child can have their own night for helping and cooking.

Holidays are great for cooking opportunities. Whether it is gingerbread houses for Christmas season or dying eggs for Easter, use these holidays for cooking lessons. Don't forget about seasonal times such as apple season. Plan a trip to an apple orchard, pick apples and make an apple recipe. Seasonal cooking can give you cooking times all year.

Are you studying a certain country in geography? Cooking can expand kids learning by creating ethnic foods and discovering what food is easily available in different countries.
Pick a special night and have an International night. Cook native recipes and dress for the occasion. It is a great way to celebrate the end of a study unit.

How about history and cooking? You can learn what kind of food the Vikings cooked and try to replicate it. After studying Medieval times create your own family banquet, but forget the court jester.

Look for these chances to teach and bond with your kids whether it is in a home school environment or just for fun the opportunities are endless.