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Suzanne Shaffer has been a member since April 8th 2011, and has created 1049 posts from scratch.

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Avoiding Traditional College Doesn’t Have to Halt Your Teen’s Education

 

traditional college

If your teen thinks that going straight to college from high school is not for them then they’ve probably been questioned ‘now what?’ countless times. They’ve probably been inundated with people voicing their opinions and telling them where they should and should not go from here. They’ve probably had everyone, from you to their teachers, asking them what the plan is. If that plan is to neither go to college or jump into the world of work then fear not. There are many viable and fruitful educational options out there that involve neither traditional college or work routes but do lead to success. A few examples of such can be found below.

Community college

Just because your child doesn’t want to take the traditional college approach, it might not mean that they don’t want to carry on studying. Just because they don’t want to live in a dorm and move away from home, it might not mean that they don’t wish to get a degree. One way for your teen to get a degree without going down the traditional college route is for them to attend community college. If your teen doesn’t want to do the full four-year stretch at college then they need only do two at community college. In doing so they would earn themselves an associate’s degree.

If your teen is afraid of moving out then they can easily stay at home when attending community college. In doing so they can take this next step in their life at their own pace. If they don’t want to have to waste time continuing in general ed classes then they don’t have to if they attend community college. In doing so they can spend more time exploring their interests and refining the skills they want to refine. Community college is an incredibly viable option if college is not the route for your teen. Because of this you should do all you can to help them see past the misconceptions and stigmas attached to this route.

College online courses

Another educational option that doesn’t follow the traditional college route is the online course. The rise of online technologies in the digital age has improved education by offering learning beyond the traditional brick and mortar. Colleges use platforms such as Moodle to teach their classes online. And those who don’t go to college can use their own education platforms to get a degree. Maryville University offers online courses in all sorts of subjects, as evidenced here: http://online.maryville.edu/. These courses offer the same opportunities for students to ascend in their education and following careers as traditional classroom courses do. The only difference is, a student who takes an online course need not sit in a classroom all day. They can do the work assigned to them and meet their deadlines from the comfort of their home.

Free online courses

Another way to continue education is with other online offerings that cost a student nothing. Khan Academy has a full array of courses for students to whet their educational appetite without the pressure of grades. Colleges like Harvard also offer free university level courses to students who are interested in learning but haven’t yet decided what to study or if they want to attend a traditional four-year university. Both of these options will help students explore interests that will help them decide which career to pursue.

 

If your teen doesn’t want to go to college or take a step on the career ladder, yet they cannot afford a gap year, then there are other ways. There are many ways to carry on with education even when college is forgone, and these options should not be forgone themselves. Long gone are the days when it was either college or work. The world is not as black and white as it was in the past. It is no longer as cut throat. There are many options out there to facilitate education, just not in the traditional sense. So, if your child wants to avoid a ‘traditional’ college setting then you need not fear. There are still ways for them to learn and grow in other places.

 

Exploring Alternate Career Paths

 

alternate career paths

Going to college then following it up with a university degree is perhaps the most common way of pursuing a career. However, there are times when your child just doesn’t want to go to college, or perhaps they dislike the lessons they are receiving and want to have something more hands-on. For instance, perhaps they love art and drawing but the school they attend has horrible teachers that don’t give your child the respect and knowledge they deserve.

If your child wants to avoid college, then it’s not the end of the world and there are alternate career paths that could either convince your child to return to study, or to simply take an alternate path in life for them to reach their desired career target.

Going the freelance route

Freelancing doesn’t have a specific age. A freelancer could be as young as 14 or as old as 80. As long as you have the skills to fill your client’s needs, you can make a living and forge a career path. Of course, if they’re fairly young then you may need to supervise them and handle their finances, but it’s a career path that children take if they want to avoid college or take a more direct approach to reaching their goals. Just don’t tunnel your child town a specific path and don’t force them to do something they don’t want to. Freelancers typically don’t need qualifications to get started. Instead, what they need is a shining portfolio with plenty of examples, and this can easily be done through lots of practice. The first few clients that your child works for might request lower prices due to their inexperience, but this is fine because it all leads to a better portfolio.

Learning on the internet

Internet learning has exploded in popularity due to how accessible and cheap internet connections now are. Many teachers all over the world have turned to internet teaching because it’s far more convenient for them to work in the comfort of their own home, and the same applies to students. Most colleges offer a limited selection of courses, and if your child has a specific interest that can’t be met at your local schools, then the only option is to either move home or use an internet service like Find Your Context to look for their desired online course. Studying online is much cheaper than studying at a physical location, it’s more convenient and your child can study in their own time.

Starting a business (or following in your footsteps)

If you have a family business, then perhaps it’s time to introduce your child to it so they can take over the reins when they are old enough. If you don’t, then turning to entrepreneurship is never a bad idea. If your child is showing signs of a creative mind, an undying passion towards something and an analytical mind, then they might just have what it takes to become a success business owner in the future. Start off young, teach them what you know, and help them forge a path to greatness.

Finding the Right Financial Strategy for your College-Bound Student

financial strategy

Parents have tough choices to make deciding on their financial standing when sending their kids to college. How much help should they offer? How do they make sure that their children learn financial responsibility? What is the best financial strategy?

Here are a few possible answers.

Paying for your child’s college is a good idea if you can afford it

Various positions exist on how fair it is to expect parents to pay their children’s tuition. Some experts point to the fact that college isn’t an essential because success is possible without college. Some believe parents should only be expected to pay for essentials. Those in favor of having parents pay point to the unfairness of the high cost of education today, and the terrible financial burden that loans place on a student.

Whichever side of this debate you may stand on, there are a few things to understand. College is a wise choice if the career that your child has in mind does require college. If it does, it is an essential, not a luxury. Ultimately, it is the parents’ choice on whether to provide support or not.

It is also important to understand that supporting a child through college doesn’t amount to coddling or spoiling them. The idea should be to pay as much for your child’s college as you can afford, without putting your own retirement into jeopardy. If you can only pay for tuition but not for board and lodging, that’s what you should pay. Encourage your student to contribute to the cost by working during school, breaks and during the summer.

Give your child a monitored credit card

Letting your kids have a credit card in college can be a risky choice because many have no idea how to use their newfound independence in a responsible way. They may go out and blow everything they have on the card.

A credit card with a low spending limit, however, can be a good idea. It’s when your kids blow their money and scramble to understand what they did wrong, that they begin to learn about how money works.

There are upsides to owning a credit card, too. As long as the card is in your child’s name, they will begin building credit, an important thing for when real life begins four years down the line.

Teach financial responsibility

Heart-to-heart talks about how money works are a part of gaining an understanding of money. You should talk to your child about savings, investing, payday loans, how banks and credit cards can help you with consolidation, how compound interest works and so on.

Talks are important because far too many young people go out into the world with an inadequate understanding of money.

Restraint is important, too

It’s a good idea to encourage financial responsibility by making your kids earn their rewards. While you should pay for your child’s college if you can, everything else like nice clothes and cars should be things they earn.

Finally, once you do have a policy in place, you should stick to it. It doesn’t work to start out with solemn declarations but to always bail your children out when there is trouble. Lessons will never be learned then.

13 Reasons Why Parents Should Pay Attention

13 Reasons Why

My teenagers are now adults. Thankfully, they both survived being a teenager and came through it unscathed. I was never more thankful than after I watched “13 Reasons Why”.

This is not an entertainment review blog. That’s not the reason I’m discussing the Netflix series here today. Although it was an excellent series with some bone-chilling twists and turns, it was more than entertainment. It was a shock to my system. It was a wake-up call for parents. It was a commentary on the dangers of today’s teenagers and how being connected either online or with smartphones can multiply and exaggerate what used to be typical teenage experiences.

The premise of this series is one teenager’s path from hope to hopelessness. That path was driven by 13 different people. Twelve teenagers and one adult who either weren’t listening, didn’t care, or felt pressured by peers to participate in hateful acts toward her. With each instance of cruelty, her hopelessness increases leading her to take her own life. But, she leaves 13 tapes behind explaining what led her to do it. Each person had no idea. Each came face to face with their own cruelty and neglect.

Every parent of a teenager should watch this series. But be warned—it will scare the bejeebies out of you. And it should. Because the world our children and our grandchildren live in today is cruel—crueler than it has ever been. Bullies exist everywhere and the bullying is magnified by social media and smartphones. Your teenager is most likely either being bullied or is bullying someone. Yes, I did say that.

It’s time for parents to start paying attention. Don’t bury your head in the sand and say it can’t happen to my child. Don’t turn away and make comments like, “everyone is bullied.” Most of us were bullied as children in one form or another, but trust me, it was nothing compared to the extent of what is happening today.

I am not a psychologist. I’m just a parent. I raised two teenagers. Based on my own experiences, here are 13 reasons why “13 Reasons Why” parents should pay attention to this series:

  1. Your teenager will experience back-breaking peer pressure. Their peers will pressure them to do things they might not normally do on their own. Peer groups have a great influence on your teenager’s actions. Give your teenager the tools he or she needs to stand up to bad behavior and bullying.
  2. The stress and competition around the college process is overwhelming. There is no greater time for students to feel pressured and stress from their peers and adults than during college prep season. Some is self-inflicted stress, but they will also succumb to comparisons over GPAs, test scores, college choices, and college acceptances. Encourage your teen to pursue his or her own path and be proud of their own accomplishments.
  3. Kids are cruel; especially teenagers. It’s a fact of life. It starts in grade school—the teasing, the bullying, the “I’m not your friend” comments. It only intensifies during the high school years. A strong self-esteem and supportive family can help your teenager overcome the feelings of inadequacies that come with this type of cruelty.
  4. If you don’t know the signs of suicide, you can’t help. Educate yourself. Get information online. Go to parent seminars. Talk to the school and ask what resources they have in place to help students. Finally, don’t ignore the signs. If you see your teenager needs help, don’t be afraid to get it.
  5. You should make it clear in no uncertain terms that bullying will not be tolerated. If you don’t want your teen to be bullied, you should make it clear that you will not allow bullying from your teen. If you see it happening, confront it. If you see it happening to another teenager, inform their parents. Get involved and encourage discussion.
  6. If you don’t talk about this now, it will only get worse in college. Now, while you have them at home, is the time to confront these issues of bullying, teen suicide, social media behavior and mental illness. Once they are away at college, it’s harder to see the signs and even harder to help.
  7. Social media is a game changer. Years ago, bullying was done face to face. Now, it happens online and with the use of smartphones. Social media allows bullies to remain anonymous and harm their victims without having to be face to face. It also makes it harder to fight and diffuse the bullying.
  8. Texts, group texts, Snapchat and other means of communication make bullying much worse. When you watch this series, you will see how group texts and social media contributed to extending the bullying from one student to an entire school. Talk with your teenager about the danger of this behavior and monitor their smartphone and social media activity.
  9. The suicide rate among teenagers is alarming. According to the Center for Disease Control:

    Suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death for ages 10-24; suicide is the SECOND leading cause of death for college-age youth and ages 12-18; more teenagers and young adults die from suicide than from any disease COMBINED; each day in our nation, there are an average of over 5,240 attempts by young people grades 7-12; four out of five teens who attempt suicide have given clear warning signs

  1. Most teenagers have a side their parents see and a side their peers see. You may think everything is fine because your teenager tells you it is. But appearances can be deceiving. Take the time to listen, communicate and spend time with your teenager. Make your home a safe space where they feel free to talk about any subject without judgment or condemnation.
  2. Do not let your teenagers watch this without you. There are explicit rape scenes, nudity, and an actual depiction of suicide in the series. If you feel they must watch or are already watching, watch with them and have discussions after each episode.
  3. Kindness won’t stop a person contemplating suicide, but cruelty certainly contributes. It’s clear that a person contemplating suicide will require more than kindness to change their mind. However, the amount of cruelty and hatred a person endures can be a contributing factor. Your teenagers should be aware of this and you should make it clear that you won’t tolerate any hate speak or cruel words directed towards others.
  4. Your teenager’s peers shape their lives. Our friends dictate our actions. That’s why it’s important to choose our friends wisely. It’s important for your teenager to have a few close friends they can confide in and trust. These friends will help counteract any negative input they receive from others. My teenagers’ friends were literally their lifeline in high school and college. Help them choose friends who will raise them up and not tear them down.

If this isn’t enough, read this post from a parent whose son attempted suicide and watched the series: “13 Reasons Why” Scared the Shit Out of Me—And It Should Scare You Too!

Now go watch “13 Reasons Why”. But fair warning—it’s going to scare the bejeebies out of you. At the very least it will make you pay attention. At the very most, it could help you save your teenager’s life.

Preparing Students for College

college

High school students have to be prepared before going to college. This period in the educational journey of students has to be productive enough to gain the right amount of knowledge and skills. College is the real thing. This is where the students will build their dreams. It is where they can look forward into the future and see themselves as a success.

On the other hand, it is also a scary place. College will be full of activities, far harder than those in high school. Knowledge and skills will not be enough. Students also have to possess the needed qualities to thrive in their new environment.

  So now, the question is how do educational institutions prepare students for college? Is there a certain method to do this? In this article, we are going to talk about this critical matter. As you may know, “college” is not for everyone.

In fact, according to a study from Harvard University, only 56% of college students complete their degree. This is very alarming especially if we consider the number of high school students who are not getting a college education.

Why is this happening?

According to the latest findings conducted by the National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) a.k.a. the Nation’s Report Card, only 37 percent of high school students are prepared for college. Why is this happening in a country where high achievers are very prevalent?

The blame goes both ways. The methods of the schools are not that enough to prepare students for college. Many college students are complaining about their high school education because they feel that it didn’t help them prepare for college. They believe that it all boils down to the quality of learning that high school institutions are offering today. 

In high school, you need to memorize a lot of things in terms of Science and the formulas involved in Math. There are also a lot of quizzes and standardized tests. However, when students go to college, the game suddenly changes. Students discover that memorizing is not that useful, but comprehension is a must.

Students have to understand the lessons and not just learn the facts. Another point to consider is that in high school, when a student attends classes regularly, they automatically get a passing grade.

However, when they are already in college, some professors don’t care if they are going to pass or not. It all depends on their performance in the classroom. Plus, the workload in college is far more demanding than in high school. You have to work hard for those passing grades.

Now, as per students’ opinions, we can say that high school today is not too bad. There are still small things that students should appreciate as high school is where students can learn the fundamentals of each lesson.

High school also teaches the students to acquire the necessary attributes that they can use in college. There are still a lot of things that students can learn from high school. They just have to notice these things and use them when they go to college.

A School That Defies the Norm

While most schools are too busy following their curriculum, there are schools that offers a different kind of learning experience for high school students.

Their methods go far beyond memorizing for exams and quizzes. They are famous because of their education from a deeper perspective. This is the Waldorf Academy in Toronto.

Waldorf Academy offers a wide variety of lessons in Sciences, Math, Arts, and Humanities, with a healthy dose of Social Sciences and Physical Activities. This institution makes sure that students are actively engaged in the learning process. Students in this school exhibit awareness, expertise, and clear thinking in a variety of areas.

Waldorf Academy is a school where students can actually entrust their future. As proof, statistics show that nearly 100% of the graduates from Waldorf high school get into College or other post-secondary programs.

According to the college professors who handled these students, the kind of education that they had in Waldorf Academy is evident. They are showing signs of clear-thinking and interest in the lessons—not only on the context but also in its sense.

Is your child ready for college?

Don’t compromise the future of your kids. High school is a critical part of the children’s educational journey. It is the start of making dreams and building them.

If they are not entirely equipped with the necessary knowledge, skills, and qualities, it would be hard for them to finish a degree.

So, why risk the future of your child while you can choose Waldorf Academy? Choosing a high-quality school with good-quality learning methods and teachers that are the best at what they do. In this school, you can be sure that you child is in good hands.