School Issues

Can You Hire Someone to Home School Your Children?

Defining Home-School

Many use the term home-school as a blanket term that defines any schooling that takes place outside of a learning facility. This generalization is, of course, false. Home schooling is just that, schooling in the home. Home-school is a parental decision to accept the responsibility of educating her child, according to the National Center for the Study of Privatization in Education. In a home-school setting, a parent or family member living in the home assumes the role of formal instructor.

State Regulations

The leniency of individual states allows some parental flexibility as to who the formal educator in the home setting can be. In Maryland, the primary educator must be a legal parent or guardian. However, in Pennsylvania, parents can turn the role of teacher over to a private tutor. This tutor must hold a Pennsylvania teaching certificate and he must receive payment for his services.

Testing

Some states require home-schooled students to partake in standardized testing, outside of the home, in a third-party setting. The Maryland State Department of Education explains that the parent or legal guardian must contact his local public school district to make these arrangements. There is no charge to the family for this testing. However, if the parent opts to hire a professional testing agency to prepare his child for the standardized tests or provide test administration, he must pay to do so.

Misconceptions

Virtual schools, or cyber schools, are electronic classrooms that a child accesses over the Internet. Even though the computer may actually be in the home, this is not home-school. In the home-school setting, parents absorb all costs of education. Much like traditional brick-and-mortar schools, the educational department of each state grants approval to virtual schools and provides explicit guidelines that require following. While a parent does not have to pay a separate tuition for this form of teaching, the Colorado Cyberschools Association explains that state tax programs provide the funding.

What Happens When a Teen Skips School All the Time?

Short-Term Academic and Social Consequences

Teens in large school systems don't get caught every time they skip a class because most schools have difficulty coping with all the absentees or because students forge parental excuse notes. Although most teens fool themselves into believing they'll be able to catch up, each missed class results in some academic setback. Students who skip school do not normally spend the time studying in the library. They hang out with friends watching TV, playing on computers or browsing in malls.

Long-Term Academic and Social Consequences

Absences negatively affect academic results. The New York City Independent Budget Office found that test results plummet after as few as five days of absence. Failed courses lower the chance of graduating high school and increase the risk of dropping out of school. Absence negatively impacts standardized test scores, making it difficult for educators to accurately analyze achievement results and to effectively program for increased success. Skipping school increases the likelihood teens encounter other truant teens while hanging out. These teens are at greater risk of taking drugs and vandalism.

Short-Term Disciplinary Consequences

Students who are caught skipping are given consequences that range from detentions to suspension from school. School administrators inform the parents who often impose additional punishments such as grounding the teen at home for a few days, withdrawing computer game privileges or cutting off allowances. If the teen was skipping because of a bullying issue, it's essential the school be informed and take steps to resolve the issue.

Long-Term Disciplinary Consequences

If the chronic skipper is over the age of 16, the school might expel the teen. Many school districts offer alternative schools with increased support services. Truancy officers, attendance counselors or social work agencies become involved with younger teens and frequently take court action to encourage the parents to get their delinquent teen under control. Chronic absenteeism sometimes leads to criminal behavior and police involvement. Teens who don't graduate high school find themselves less employable and often doomed to low-paying jobs.

What Can a Parent Do About a Teen Who Refuses to Attend School?

State Minimum

The laws in each state vary when it comes to how old a teen must be before he can legally quit school. According to the Georgia State University website, all states in the U.S. have either a 16-, 17- or 18-year-old dropout age. A student who is younger than the dropout age in his state must attend school for the required amount of days, per year, per state mandate -- it’s the responsibility of the parent to make sure he gets there.

Truancy

Public school districts require school-aged students to attend a set amount of school days every year. While excused absences do not count against a student’s attendance record, unexcused absences in excess of the amount appropriated by the school render a student truant. Schools have an obligation to report such truancy to the juvenile court in their district. According to the U.S. Department of Justice website, parents of an out-of-control teen who refuses to go to school can file their own petition with the juvenile court asking for intervention.

Truancy Intervention Programs

Once a juvenile court intervenes, the truancy is out of the hands of the parents and into the hands of the law. The majority of truant teens must enter a truancy intervention program as ordered by their juvenile court. The teen is then assigned a case manager. The teen will undergo a psychological evaluation and assessment, after which an educational intervention plan will be set in place. The National Conference on Safe Schools website explains that, along with the specified education plan, the teen and her parents may need to attend counseling. The case manager will make periodic home visits and school visits for the duration of the educational intervention plan. Teens who do not follow the rules set into place by the court face further repercussions.

Raising the Dropout Age

Legislation is getting tougher on teens looking to end their school careers early. In fact, some states, such as Montana, are introducing bills that raise the dropout age from 16 to 18. The theory is that by legally raising the age, more teens will lawfully have no choice but to participate in some form of school environment until they complete graduation, bettering their chances of obtaining work with reasonable wages later on.

Teens Who Refuse to Go to School or Work

School Refusal

Some children resist going to school in the morning by not getting up on time for the bus, claiming to be sick or throwing temper tantrums every day. According to the Child Study Center website, this pattern of behavior is known as "school refusal" and is most common before the age of 13. Although teenagers don't throw temper tantrums like younger children, they may also try to resist going to school or may cut class once they're there. Teenage school refusal behavior can happen at any age but is most common during the difficult transition from middle school to high school.

Social Problems

If your teen seems to be coming up with every excuse in the book to avoid going to school, it might be because he's scared of what will happen when he gets there. Your teen could be dealing with a bully or with an upsetting personal problem with his friends or with a teacher. In areas with gang problems, he may be facing pressure of some kind from gang members. If he's starting to feel overwhelmed and falling behind on his school work, he could be trying to avoid taking a test or handing in a paper. Whatever the situation, it's important to find out what he's scared of so you can help him with his problem. It's also important to establish clear consequences for failing to go to school, such as losing video game time or other privileges.

Anxiety and Depression

If your teen complains of stomachache, nausea or headache at school or frequently stays home sick or leaves school early because of these symptoms, the problem may be psychological. According to the Child Study Center site, teens suffering from depression, an anxiety disorder or a social phobia can experience emotional distress in the form of physical symptoms. If you think your teen may be experiencing a psychological or emotional problem severe enough to interfere with her schoolwork, consult a professional.

Work Refusal

A teen who refuses to go to work may be dealing with bullying or harassment from coworkers or supervisors or may be suffering from depression or another emotional problem. An older teen boy who seems to have little or no motivation to go to school or work may be showing signs of "failure to launch," a pattern of behavior in which young men fail to make the transition to independent adulthood. Failure to launch is a widespread problem among young men, according to experts cited in a 2011 Associated Press article on the phenomenon. In some cases, failure to launch may be caused by a perceived lack of economic opportunities.

How to Talk Your Teen Out of Quitting High School

Tell her you will help her succeed in school and then do it. For example, if she wants to quit school because it’s too hard, find her a tutor. Help her with her homework. Talk to her teachers about finding alternative ways to help her learn. If she wants to quit because she’s having serious problems with the kids or teachers at school, take her out of that school and find her another one. Find her a home-school teacher, a magnate school or a work-study program that better suits her.

Paint a picture of his financial future. According to Kids Source, your teen will earn $200,000 less in his lifetime if he drops out of high school than his friends who graduate from high school. Additionally, he will earn approximately $800,000 less as a high school dropout than those who graduate from college. He is also more likely to end up on welfare if he drops out of high school -- high school dropouts account for more than half of all welfare recipients, according to DoSomething.org.

Talk about her risk of going to jail. According to Kids Source, more than 82 percent of prison inmates are high school dropouts. Point out that the stresses of not having enough money and not being able to get a good job, or any job, make it more likely that she will turn to drugs, alcohol or crime as a way of life.

Work to ensure your teen does not drop out of high school, advises Kids Source. Help him make up the work he missed in school, drive him to and from school daily if that’s what it takes to get him into class and prevent him from skipping school or find professional help for any personal problems he’s having. For example, if he seems depressed and that is the cause of his desire to drop out of school, find him a doctor who can treat him.

What Should Parents Do When a Teen Gets Caught Cheating at School?

Communicate Opinions

It’s time to have a serious conversation with your teenager. First, communicate your own principles about cheating to ensure your child understands how you feel about dishonesty, according to the Gloversville (New York) High School website. Without condemning or displaying anger, tell your child that cheating creates an internal condition inside the cheater, requiring a disconnection from conscience to lie and sneak, advises clinical psychologist Carl Pickhardt at PsychologyToday.com. This internal condition can be hurtful to oneself.

Meet with School Officials

It’s likely your child’s school will schedule a parent-teacher conference to discuss the cheating and connected consequences. Attend the meeting and approach the meeting in a spirit of cooperation. If your child is present at the meeting, listen to his explanation. Listen to the consequences that the school will institute to address the cheating. Most schools have a honor codes in place that prescribe specific consequences.

Support School

Whatever the consequences meted out by the school, support them as the parent, recommends Linda Morgan with the North State Parent website. Disagreeing with or arguing the consequence could send your child the wrong message about the seriousness of cheating and the need for this behavior to change. Resist the urge to add home punishments to school punishments, counsels Morgan. Your overreaction could squander the opportunity for a “teachable moment” that will help your child move forward with more ethical behavior.

Monitor Teenager

After leaving the cheating episode behind, keep lines of communication open and monitor your teenager’s academic conduct, according to the Gloversville High School website. Check the history of the computer your child uses for homework to ensure your child is not visiting websites that provide research and reports to students. Ensure that your child isn’t struggling academically, which could lead to the temptation to cheat, advises the Kids Health website. If you find your child needs extra help, provide it yourself or check with your child’s school about private tutoring.

Reason for Kids Not Liking School

Being Bullied

School bullies have always been around, but the bullying issue has escalated. If your child tells you he's being bullied or you suspect that he is, discuss the situation with him. Inform teachers and school officials, whether the bullying happened on school grounds or was cyberbullying. Both are equally threatening and dangerous. Your child deserves to attend school in a safe environment without being victimized.

Difficult Classwork

When a student feels that assignments are too difficult or he's overwhelmed by the workload, he may resent school. Usually, if he's tuned out of learning, he will not ask for help when needed. Fear of embarrassment could cause him to hesitate to ask questions in a large class of peers. After all, what kid wants to feel like he's the only one not understanding concepts? Maybe your child does best with a method of learning that's not addressed in the lesson delivery. If the teacher does not support his personal learning style, he could become bored with school.

Strict Rules

Having numerous school rules could stifle a student if he doesn't realize their importance. If the school requires a dress code, he's not able to express his individuality through clothing and must find another creative outlet. Some kids challenge rules as a way of trying to gain superiority. This is never a good idea, since it wastes valuable class time for other students and the teacher. Students who are constantly non-compliant usually have to face severe consequences with school administration and run the risk of being labeled as problem students.

Long Hours

The school day often seems like it's never going to end. Every minute in the schedule is accounted for, with little down time. A student attends school for seven to eight hours and then makes it home, only to spend another two to three hours completing homework. He may wonder when the fun begins. When he has limited time to spend with family and friends, the student could become resentful and wonder if school is really worth the hard work.

How to Get an Anxious Teen Back to School

Talk to your teen about what's really bothering her. Whether it's been a long summer or your teen has taken some time off, there's probably more to her anxiety than just jitters. She might be having issues with her peers or be anxious about her grades. Let her know that you're available to talk about why she's anxious about going back to school.

Normalize and validate your teen's reasons for feeling anxious. It can be easy to wave away anxieties that you deem unimportant, but remember that to your teen, they're extremely important. Saying "You're scared that you don't have friends? That's silly; you'll make new ones!" might seem helpful, but it downplays your teen's real worries. Instead, try "I know how you feel. There were times when I was a teenager that I felt alone too." Your teen needs understanding and to hear that she's normal.

Visit the school before your teen has to go back, and spend time helping her feel more prepared. Checking out her schedule, meeting with teachers and getting the lay of the land can help when your teen is nervous about a new school or a new schedule, notes the UNC Health Care System. Going to school before the year starts means your teen can feel prepared without the pressure of the school being filled with kids and teachers on her first day back.

Put safeguards in place that help your teen feel more confident about going back to school. Whether it's a new outfit, her locker combination on a sticky note or checking in with you at lunch, she should know that not everything will go perfectly -- but that's okay. By being prepped for anything, she can calm down and tackle her first day head on.

Check your own mood and reactions to things. If your teen senses that you're anxious about her heading back to school, she might pick up on your mood and project it onto herself. Instead, be positive and calm -- at least on the surface.

Warning

Watch for signs of teen depression, which often goes hand-in-hand with anxiety, warns PsychCentral.com. If your teen withdraws socially, has sudden changes in appearance,experiences mood swings, is often sad or doesn't enjoy the things she used to, head to your family doctor for a mental health referral and help for your anxious teen.

End-of-Year Activities For Elementary School

Field Days

Elementary school field days, typically held in the spring, devote half or most of a school day to organized outdoor activities designed to promote team spirit and independence. Teachers and parents plan an active, fun-filled day on the school grounds, and schedule all elementary grades on one day, or they can schedule several field days, one day for each grade level. Activities can include sack races, egg balancing races, hula hoop competitions, croquet, flying disc and jumping rope, along with an ice cream sundae bar and craft activities.

Year-End T-Shirts

Students enjoy creating their own T-shirts and signing each other's shirts to collect memories of special friends from the school year. Any elementary grade can participate in this activity by bringing a plain white T-shirt to school, a sponge and a paper bag. At school, kids can cut the sponge into a shape of an object representing their personality and stamp it with fabric paint. The bag inside the shirt will prevent the paint from running through the fabric. Once you’ve stamped the shirts and the paint has dried, students can wear the shirts and get autographs from their friends.

Digital Yearbook

While some elementary schools sell printed yearbooks, a yearbook option everyone can afford is also easy to make. You can produce it on presentation software or photo software and represent a particular grade. Students and their parents may e-mail photos from the school year, and the teacher can add his or her own digital photos of the class and its activities. Similar to the process of creating a print yearbook, students can be responsible for sections of the yearbook and even create their own pages. The product would be a presentation software file or a picture file that all students could take home with them via a flash drive or CD.

Graduation Party

Schools often organize 'graduation' ceremonies for exiting fifth or sixth graders, depending on the highest grade at a school. Outside of school, parents may organize a party for the oldest grade to celebrate their achievements and transition to a new school. Ideas for a party include a visit to a theme park, community pool or beach, or a party organized indoors in a community building. Parent committees manage food, games and decorations to create a fun atmosphere for the pre-teens.

What Can Parents Do to Teach Young Kids to Do Well in School?

Show Interest

According to KidsHealth.org, kids are more successful in school when parents take an interest in homework. (See Reference 2) Provide a regular homework routine and a quiet space for her to work. Show interest in school by asking your child about her day, encouraging her to talk about what she likes and doesn't like about school. Attend school events or volunteer in your child's classroom to show that her time and efforts at school are valuable to you.

Read

Dr. Seuss wrote, “The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.” (See Reference 3) Once your child learns to read, he has the ability to learn for the rest of his life. Carry on with the reading rituals you began in your child's early years, when reading was a daily opportunity to snuggle, bond and unwind. Encourage your child to read to you as he learns, but make sure to keep reading to him so he can still relax and enjoy a good book. Be a good role model by reading for your personal enjoyment as well.

Create a Home Learning Environment

Although your child's formal education takes place at school, you set the tone for the home learning environment. Create opportunities for learning and exploring at home every day. Let your child see you learning new skills or finding solutions to problems. Integrate concepts your child learns at school into home-based activities, like practicing measurement while cooking dinner or creating a model of Earth's landscapes from the recycling bin. Blend the line between school and home, teaching your child the importance of learning wherever you are.

Expect Success

When you expect your child to succeed, she will learn that you have faith in her to do her best at school. Praise her accomplishments by recognizing her efforts to get there instead of the finished product. The pride she'll feel for a job well done will provide the motivation to keep doing well in school. Encourage her to work hard and help her when she needs it.

How Parents Can Improve Student Attendance

Establish Clear Attendance Policies

Your kids' school likely has its own attendance policies in place. Go over them with your kids at the beginning of the school year, and give them a refresher any time they miss school. Establish your family's own attendance rules as well. Explain to your kids that they cannot miss school for any reason beyond being legitimately sick. Implement these rules every time, even when you have a child who seems perfectly healthy whining about a stomachache or headache.

Never Allow Skip Days

Don't let your kids get away with missing school, recommends the Collier County School District. Pay careful attention to your child, and only allow her to miss school if she is clearly sick. Take her to the doctor for confirmation of the illness. If she complains about being sick without any visible symptoms, send her off to school. Avoid starting a pattern where your child can play sick and get out of going to school.

Drop Them Off

When your kids take the bus or drive themselves to school, they have an opportunity to skip school and spend the day carousing. On the other hand, when you take your kids to school, you can ensure that they are dropped off at the school's doors every day, allowing you to force attendance. Take advantage of the car ride to school -- talk to your kids about what's going on that day and send them off to school with a positive and focused mindset.

Communicate With School Administrators

When you know your child's teacher or the receptionist in the front office, you'll be able to stop a truancy problem before it develops. The Collier County School District encourages parents to support education and be an advocate for their child. If you're concerned that he's missing school, talk to his teacher and other school administrators, and ask them to notify you if your son misses class -- if they aren't already doing so. Open lines of communication can ensure that your child attends school every day.