Wednesday, May 20, 2015

7 Ways to Prepare Your Child For High School Transitions {Guest Post}


 Whether your child is heading off to public school, private school or even if they are homeschooled, getting ready to become a high school student can be a huge adjustment for a teen. Parents can do a lot to ensure their teenagers feel comfortable with the academic and social challenges that come with this new phase of education. As your teen gets ready to make the big step into high school, there are several things you can do to help him make the transition. Being successful in high school requires preparation from an academic standpoint. The confidence that comes from academic success can also help your teen to excel mentally and socially. High school can be a very fun time, and your teen is likely to make friends that will last a lifetime. Here are Seven Ways you can assist your child in getting ready for high school. 


                 1. Take Your Child's Concerns Seriously 

Don't blow your child fears about high school off by telling him that "it will be OK" or that you went through the same thing and got through it. For instance, if your teen expresses that he's having problems with high school math, you should do all you can to get your teen the help he needs right away. For instance, online tutoring can help him understand basic math concepts early in the school year. This online option can also make tutoring less awkward for your child.

           2. Help Your Teen Learn The Way High School Works

In addition to online tutoring, it's up to you to show your kid the ropes when it comes to getting used to high school. If your child high school has a freshman orientation program, be sure to attend with your child so you can get first-hand information on school policies and academic expectations. The orientation may be the best time for your teen to learn her locker combination and try it out, or to visit some of her new classrooms.The transportation aspects of high school should also be rehearsed with your teen as much as possible. Go over the public transportation or bus schedule with your teen as many times as possible so you can be sure she knows where her stops are.

                               3. Be an Active Parent

Get involved with all your child activities of interest. Encourage your teen to get involved in extracurricular activities. This helps to foster his social development and gives him a sense of belonging in high school, which helps to form his identity for years to come.

                           4. Get Prepared for Summer

Keep in mind that your teen is very likely to forget some of what she's learned during summer break. Online math tutoring during the summer can help her keep her skills sharp and even prepare her for the next grade level. This can help to boost your child's confidence and even make her excited to go back to school.

                                  5. Get into the Details

Focus on the small details so that your child's first year in high school will be a successful one. For instance, take some time to look over your child schedule for the school year and go over the classes with him. This helps you to become familiar with the things your teen will be learning. Going over the schedule, and learning a little more about the teachers, can also keep your teen from  convincing you that he's supposed to have more recreational or elective classes than he needs.
                             6. Be Ready for Adjustments

Everything isn't going to run smoothly for your child during the first year of  high school. Be prepared by being available to talk to your child about the stresses and confusion that can sometimes come along with being a high school freshman. It's common for your teen to get low grades during 9th grade, but as high school progresses, she'll learn how to do her best and realize her strengths and weaknesses. Encourage your teen to take her first year of high school seriously, but also stress the importance of trying new things and attempting to make good friends.

7. Get Help When You Need It

  Your teen may be anxious or even depressed during the first few months of high school. If you notice that this behavior is prolonged, be sure to seek help from a trusted professional. Changes in sleep patterns or feelings of low self-esteem are also common at times during the freshman year. However, getting your teenager the help he needs in the form of online tutoring or other academic assistance can help your child feel more comfortable about going into the new school year.

Disclaimer: This is a Guest Post provided by Tutorpace. 
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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Using Speech Buddies In Your Homeschool {Review}

I determined early on in my parenting years not to compare my children to each other. Everyone grows and develops at different rates and it's not fair to one child to compare them to another. 

Honestly, it can stress a parent out. One child may have begun to walk before they reach their first birthday while the second one takes their grand old time! Maybe your daughter had no problem being potty trained by the age of two but your son still wets the bed into his school-aged years. 

These comparisons are normal and quite common but once we begin to look for the milestones in educationally-based skills, the stress levels tend to skyrocket! Many parents are so eager to have their child reading immediately (like I was with my first!) that we might begin to push a little too hard too young. Then, when number two or three come along it's so easy to compare and expect the same developmental milestones to happen at the same time for each child! Again, every child is different.

Sometimes, a child may just need more time until they are ready to gain a new skill. Sometimes they will excel sooner in areas that their siblings don't. And then, it could be that one child may need to be taught a skill using a different approach than what you've used with others. Some of our children might be visual learners while other are tactile. My second son falls in the latter category. He is more of a hands on learner, which is why Speech Buddies has been working wonders for him!

 When it became to clear to me that other people outside our immediate family had a hard time understanding my son, I knew I wanted to incorporate a speech therapy program into his homeschool day. I didn't want to make a big deal out of it since he already is sensitive to my correcting of his speech and grammar. I first tried a book that was meant for untrained parents to help their child. It was no use. It frustrated my son to no end and he completely felt like he was put in the spot.

 I would tell him to say a sound in the book.
 He would say it wrong. 
I would correct him. 
"But that's what I said!" he would yell in frustration.

This method got old pretty fast. I wasn't quite sure where to go from there. As a homeschooler, I don't have access to free speech therapy as many public school students do. And, in our state, even if you are in the public school system, your child's speech has to be affecting their grades in order for them to qualify. So even if we were in the system, I'm quite sure he wouldn't qualify since he is reading and writing well. The issue with him is just a few sounds that he struggles with such as "R" and "SH." He thinks he is saying it right but just needs help understanding how to form the letters in his mouth.  

Enter Speech Buddies

Speech Buddies are tools to help your student learn the correct placement of their tongue in their mouth for the 5 most commonly mispronounced sounds.

 Easy enough for a child as young as three and effective even with adults, speech buddies are used by professionals and parents alike to help students gain confidence in their speaking ability. What makes this product unique is that it helps the student hear themselves saying the sounds correctly. This is where it seems to be clicking with my son. When he can hear himself, rather than me or someone else saying the sound the right way, then it begins to make sense. 

Now, as with anything, this tool is something that needs to be used on a regular basis to help reverse any bad habits that may have formed over the years. I believe though, that these tools have been helping my son tremendously. He not only is able to hear himself but physically feel where in his mouth his tongue is supposed to be for each of the sounds.When we use this, I can tell the rest of the day that he is beginning to "get it." Honestly, it is just a matter of me being sure we establish this into our daily homeschool routine because on the days I do, I completely see a difference!


Each of the five sounds, R, L, CH, SH and S that are included in the Speech Buddies pack are color coded. Also, each sound has an animal that represents each one. This is great for young children to connect to each sound! I will oftentimes say, "Ok, lets get the rabbit buddy now," this makes it more fun. The colors simply help with organization.

 My son has been working with his rabbit buddy the most because that is a sound that had been hard for him to form in his mouth. I allow him to take the buddy out of the box himself and use it himself. It seems a bit less intimidating than me trying to stick a tool into his mouth like a dentist! He has become accustomed to it, and actually finds pride in doing it, since he does it well. The R buddy is the most fun yet challenging in my opinion. He needs to press the end against the back of his teeth and try to roll the plastic loop out flat as he properly says the R sound! After a few tries he got it and can say it well with the tool. There are instructions both in the box and on the Speech Buddy Website to teach you how to effectively use each tool. There are also suggestions of different words that can be practiced with each sound.

 We would probably only spend about 10 minutes a day working with these tools so it didn't stress my son out. I also have his younger sister work with these tools as well with him to help her learn from the get go the right way to say these sounds. I didn't want my son to feel like I was singling his out so having it part of our homeschool day with him and his sister has simply been fun, hands on and effective!

 Set of 5 ($299)

Promo Code for $10 off: MAKEITMINE 
Free Shipping Code: DP97A

Disclaimer: This post is brought to you by Speech Buddies. All opinions stated here are my own. A big thanks to Speech Buddies for providing this product in exchange for this review!


Friday, May 1, 2015

The Berenstain Bears: God Bless Our Country

The Berenstain Bears: God Bless Our Country by Mike Berenstain is another wonderful faith-based Berenstain Bears book to add to our collection. I appreciate this series because the reading level is higher than a basic Easy Reader but the content is simple enough for even my preschooler. My eight year old could read this book easily but was still able to learn greatly from it. For the younger grades in our homeschool, half of my curriculum is Abeka based. If you know anything about the Abeka history program for the young ones, then you know that it is strongly patriotic. It focuses primarily on placing a love, understanding and appreciation for our country. 

This book could easily be used as a supplemental resource for American history. My oldest son was was excited to review the Redcoats and my first grader recognized the Statue of Liberty. I enjoyed how the focus of the book was about the celebration of the Independence Day both historically and presently. In our area of the country Fourth of July parades aren't generally celebrated. Yet, in my childhood, I remember the large parades, celebrations and patriotic events. This book not only brought back those memories but taught my children how different people across this country celebrate the birth of our Nation.

Disclaimer: Thanks to the BookLook Blogger program for a copy of this book for the purpose of this review. 
All opinions sated here are my own.