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TalkEdu Posts

Use Text Messaging to Stay Connected with Your Teens

Earlier this year, Samsung Mobile conducted a survey focused on family texting habits. The results of the survey claim that text messaging is improving relationships between parents and teens. Not only that, parents are learning something from their teens as a result of use of text messaging to keep in touch with one another. As a wired parent, I regularly use text messaging to quickly stay in touch and keep communication lines open with my text messaging guru teens… do you? One of the biggest challenges we face as parents of teens is communicating with them. We want to be involved in their lives, be good listeners, and help with the many challenges that crop up in the middle and high school years. We want to do all of this while allowing our kids to grow and learn on their own without watching their every move.

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Tell Me About Yourself Introduce: Answer Some Personal Questions

So here it is, your weekly opportunity to tell me a bit more about you – on your marks, get set… GO!

YOU ANSWER #5

When was the last time you bought something you wanted but didn’t need?
What do you admire about your mum?
How would you rate your intelligence against your friends?
Do you believe in something that is quite “controversial”?
The paranormal – your opinions?
Who has had the biggest impact on your musical tastes?
Which two artists would you love to see duet together?
When was the last time you lied and was it worth it?
If you didn’t have to work, would you?
Do you have a secret that nobody knows but you?

And just for your interest, here are my answers:

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The High School Confusion

online-educationIf you think it’s easy to get into even a public high school for some kids, think again. Yesterday I met a girl and heard her story, her parents formally disowned her when she was 15, and she spent six months living in a car before trying to enroll herself in school miles away with no parents. It’s not the lack of parents that was the problem — it seems her former school district was so far ahead of the new one that, even at 16, she only had three classes left to graduate. She had two options: continue high school, or sign up for online GED classes online, and believe me there are plenty of great courses.
Three classes simply weren’t worth the trouble for the school. she was denied entry back into high school and told to finish her high school equivalency at the nearby community college. Obviously, this came with a fee that fortunately she could pay from working two minimum wage jobs. Perhaps it was survival instincts kicking in, but even then she knew she was the exception.

High School isn’t a Guarantee

The GED is a great, feasible option for many people. However, what if you really want that high school diploma? There are ways to get it beyond high school. Maybe you’re like me, or maybe you think you’re “too old” for high school, but still want that diploma. Consider looking into options at the community college.

She opted for independent study largely because she was so disheartened at being denied re-entry into high school. However, it worked for her, especially considering she enjoyed those last three classes. For others who are busy with work, family or other obligations, it’s relatively simple to squeeze it into your schedule. Continue reading The High School Confusion

Energy Drinks and Teens – What Every Parent Ought to Know

0023-GI_bsl044Jolt, Buzzed, Amp, Red Bull, Monster, Rockstar, Nos, Full Throttle, Sobe… sounds like nicknames for the starting lineup of a hockey team, but they’re not. These, my fellow wired parents, are the names of just a handful of the many different energy drinks that our teens are consuming by the “BFC” (that’s an acronym for Big F*****g Can, and is indeed the name used for one style of Monster drinks). And we thought we were wild when we were kids and we drank Mountain Dew, now they have things like Hype and Bawls to get their kicks with. Are these energy drinks safe? As parents of today’s teens, should we be concerned?

Increasing Popularity

According to a recent USA Today article, the  market  for energy drinks in the US was at a whopping $5.4 billion. Even more, the market is growing at an annual 55% rate. As you may have guessed, much of this growth is due in part to the popularity among young drinkers – teens like yours and mine.

Caffeine Amounts

A quick Google search of “energy drink caffeine amounts” yields several good links to investigate just how much caffeine these buzzy drinks contain. One of the most comprehensive lists can be found at Energy Fiend (appropriately named). Energy Fiend’s caffeine list includes just about every energy drink on the market, as well as other caffeinated beverages like drip coffee and Diet Coke. This lets you more easily compare the caffeine amounts to something you have some experience with.

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Gaming is A Way Parents Can Connect With Their Teens

As winter settles in here in the great white North, we find ourselves doing more and more things inside. For my family, this means things like watching football, catching up on movies, surfing the web, baking cookies (Superdad here baked cookies with my 6 year old girl last weekend), and playing video games (gasp!). I really enjoy the outdoors and the warmer months, but the colder weather and being inside more offers some advantages – namely, we find ourselves doing more things together as a family, including playing video games together. I’ve played more Madden / Rock Band / Guitar Hero / Halo 3 (with my kids) on our Xbox 360 over the past month… I almost forgot how much fun it can be. So why should you pick up that controller too?

Not All Video Games Are Violent

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Tracking Your Teen’s Progress in School with Skyward

0054-PA_36504As parents in the digital age, it’s never been easier to stay up-to-date and informed on how our kids are doing in school. Web-based school administration programs and school websites provide us with class schedules, updated assignments, after-school activity schedules, and teachers’ email addresses and phone numbers. Parents and students can utilize these online tools to keep track of daily assignments and track progress throughout the school year. Our school district recently switched to a system called Skyward Family Access, and after using it for the past week or so, I simply love it.

Assignments and Grades

Skyward includes a calendar of the current month, showing assignments due (or past due) for each date on the calendar, by class and teacher. Missing assignments show in red and are clickable for additional details on the assignment. The calendar on Skyward is clean, easy to follow, and a one stop shop for just about everything that is currently going on with your student’s scheduled classes at school.

A report card style grid shows your student’s current grade in each class, by reporting period, and as a final grade. A separate view of this progress report displays all missing assignments for all classes by date. For one of our teens (he has a tendency to “forget” to do his assignments from time to tome), this is an invaluable tool in determining what is missing and needs to be turned in asap.

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How to Avoid Scholarship Scams

learningAre you planning to attend college after graduating from the GED school and you are worried that you might not afford the cost of education? There is no denying that colleges and universities these days are quite expensive. While there are a lot of credible scholarships out there to help you afford high education, there are a lot of not-so credible ones as well. This is why you have to be careful in making your options as to what scholarship you would apply for.

Nowadays, people are making every possible way to get that money- the easy way. Unfortunately, when you begin your lookout for a scholarship, you may be required to fill out certain papers that are designed to get some essential information from you. Unknowingly, people behind the scams are fishing out on you so as to steal your personal information to their benefit. To avoid getting scammed, you have to be well versed in all your options so that you can decide which legitimate program is best for you.

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A Fundamental Guide to Music Sharing for Today’s Parents

0068 MF_645-01538414When was the last time one of your kids (or you, for that matter), bought a music CD? A month ago, six months ago, a couple years ago? Over the past couple of years, more and more of us are turning to digital music and away from CDs – a trend led by our youth. While the digital trend in music is definitely a convenient one, it can be tricky one for today’s parents to keep up with to make sure our kids aren’t doing anything illegal (does Limewire mean anything to you?).

The Good

Social media sites and paid-for music services like Itunes and Rhapsody are the safest options when it comes to sharing music online.

Sites like Imeem, Ilike, and Pandora are social networking sites (like Myspace) that allow users to upload music, create playlists, and interact with others in a music-centric setting. It’s free to sign-up and listen to other people’s playlists or uploaded music tracks – so as long as your teen is uploading and sharing music that’s paid for, they’re safe. Continue reading A Fundamental Guide to Music Sharing for Today’s Parents

How To Predict Your Child Career Potential

0012-GI_gam013Taking on an examination of your career potential might seems difficult especially when if your education path was not straightforward, coming back to school for your GED might be the alternative path but it doesn’t mean that your career potential is smaller.

In the late 1970s, while studying executives impacted by the breakup of AT&T, Dr. Suzanne Kobasa developed the concept of “Stress Hardiness”. Predicting potential for future success is based on past performance and demonstrated skills.

I’ve adapted the three Cs of Kobasa [and added a fourth] to the specific issue of career examination as follows:

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How to Choose Safe Web Browser?

0083-IS_7512600090Chances are you’re sitting at a computer right now that’s running some version of Microsoft Windows, and you’re browsing the web with some version of the browser that’s included with Windows – Internet Explorer (IE). At home (if you’re at work now), you likely have a similar setup – a Windows PC (or two) with Internet Explorer as your web browser. Not me. As a wired parent of teenagers who spend plenty of time on the Internet, I setup Firefox as the default browser on all four of our home computers (and my work one) to help prevent all that nasty malware from rearing its ugly head.

Certain Web Activities Can Harm Your PC

If you’re a parent of a teenager, you know all too well that today’s teens are very web savvy. They spend all kinds of time connecting with each other on Myspace, watching videos on YouTube, or playing games online. Most of these online activities are harmless to your PC, as there is typically nothing malicious or harmful in most of the more popular online areas that teenagers venture to. However, if they’re attracted to those banner ads displaying the latest smiley icons, or a sweet new wallpaper they just gotta have, or some awesome online game, that’s where the trouble can start. These are just a few of many examples of the types of web activity that can harm your PC – which is were Firefox comes in.

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