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Life Lessons: Teaching Kids to Manage a Bank Account

By: Beth Werrell

Is your child ready for his or her own bank account? A savings account can offer your child a little extra savings in interest as well as added responsibility, so if you hadn't considered opening one with your child yet, this may be a good time to start researching your options.

Before opening a bank account, consider teaching your child about financial responsibility and trying some exercises that can measure how well your child understands budgeting. To kick off this lesson, take a look at the budgeting and financial responsibility worksheet below.

Once your child has completed the activities and has a good grasp of financial literacy, you may want to start considering his or her bank account options.

What to Look for in an Account

You're going to want to do your research before opening a bank account for your child. But do you know what to look for?

Consider a savings account. When your child is in his or her late teens and is making bigger purchases, a checking account may be appropriate. But until then, why not think about opening an account that compounds a little interest and teaches the value of saving?

Accounts with no minimum balance or maintenance fees can be a favorable option, whether your child can make the minimum balance or not. The goal is to teach your child that saving money is a good thing, so having fees and ...

47 Learning Activities for Virtual School Students Who Finish Work Early

By: Peggy Barnholt
47 things to do when you're finished schoolwork early

If you’ve worked hard all year to keep your family ahead of schedule on virtual school lessons, your student could finish schoolwork before the school year officially ends. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can start summer vacation early! State laws require online school students to attend for the entire school year.

When students complete their work early, they are required to do educational activities related to their core courses. Here is a list of teacher-approved learning activities for your student in grades K–8 that will keep his or her mind engaged in learning until the finish line!

All Subjects
  1. For any texts or quizzes on which your student scored below 70%, review the corresponding lessons and complete additional learning activities.
  2. Go back and view teacher comments on portfolios and work on any skills that the teacher said needed improvement.
  3. Take a field trip to a local museum and ask your student to write about what he or she learned or observed.
  4. Subscribe to the free Macaroni Kids website and receive a weekly email of kid-friendly events and activities in your area.
Language Arts
  1. Watch a movie based on a book and then read the book (or vice versa). Ask your student to write a paragraph comparing and contrasting them. (A few good choices: James and the Giant Peach, Shiloh, Call of the Wild, Because of Winn-Dixie, and The Lightning Thief.)
  2. Read a biography together, and then have your student write his or her autobiography, a family member’s ...

Helping Kids of Different Ages Transition to Virtual School

By: Beth Werrell
New virtual school student transitioning from a traditional to home classroom.

Are you and your family starting virtual school for the first time? School will begin in just a few weeks, so it’s time to get ready for the big switch! After plenty of researching, discussing, and planning, you’re familiar with the virtual classroom environment. But the experience will be very different depending on your student’s age.

The last couple of weeks before school starts can easily get crowded with the details of scheduling, setting up your virtual classroom, and more, so don’t forget to stay focused on the big picture. Here’s a brief breakdown of the issues you and your student can work on to help make sure your first year of virtual school is a successful one.

Elementary Students (K–5)

Younger kids need extra guidance to get used to the school environment, especially if they’re just starting kindergarten. Below are some ways you can expose them to the traditional elements of attending school and draw their attention to a few things that are especially important in a virtual setting.

  1. Make new friends and work well with others. Help expose your student to new people and new relationships by giving him or her a chance to socialize with different people. Arrange a playgroup, go to the playground, sign up for swimming lessons, or attend events in the children’s section of the local library. If you have more than one student, work on teaching them to collaborate effectively and get along during the school day.
  2. Learn how to use ...

Help Your Online Student Make a Successful Middle School Transition

By: Tisha Rinker
online middle school student learning from home

It doesn’t seem fair, but just as kids are learning to cope with the tremendous emotional and physical upheavals of early adolescence, along comes middle school with ramped-up expectations for both performance and individual responsibility. As parent and Learning Coach, you should prepare to be supportive during what can be the most rapidly changing period of a child’s life. Here are some tips and strategies for helping your son or daughter through the transition.

Prepare your student for multiple teachers.
Just like in a traditional school, your virtual school student will have a different teacher for each subject in an online middle school. In addition, your child may have an advisory teacher who will help with setting goals and measuring overall performance.

  • Explain to your child that each teacher specializes in one subject and will have his or her own teaching style and expectations. 
  • Make sure your middle schooler understands that the rules and grading criteria may be different for each course. 
  • Talk to your child about managing multiple or conflicting priorities—and encourage him or her to turn to you for advice as soon as any situations arise.

Expect to communicate differently with teachers.
During this period, the responsibility for communication begins to shift from teachers to students. To help support your child’s transition to becoming an independent learner, you should encourage your middle schooler to call or send a message to the appropriate teacher when he or she has a question, needs assistance, or wants to share ...

The Evolving Role of Online School Learning Coaches

By: Dan Reiner

What’s it really like to juggle parenting and be a Learning Coach for your child’s online schooling? What does the role of Learning Coach involve? Are virtual school students and Learning Coaches required to interact all day long, every day? If you’re thinking about online school for your kids, it’s important to learn the answer to these questions and grasp the big picture of how virtual school works with regard to your child’s responsibilities and the duties you’ll be performing as the Learning Coach. You’ll especially want to understand how these roles will change as your child grows up (which sometimes happens more quickly than we’d like!).

column chart visualizing stages of student responsibilities in online school

evolution of learning coach responsibilities from elementary through online high school

Online Elementary School: Children in Motion

As a parent, you already know that in elementary school busy little bodies need ongoing supervision! At this stage, attention spans are as tiny as the children themselves. Learning Coaches will need to help kids stay on task by minimizing distractions and by setting a schedule with varied activities and breaks. Remember, kids need exercise and playtime every day to burn off their excess energy!

Online school students in grades K–5 will have a very flexible schedule and do a large percentage of their schoolwork offline, including reading books, writing, and doing hands-on assignments. As a Learning Coach, you should expect to spend about five hours each day supervising these learning activities.

To support a child’s learning, a Learning Coach’s role includes demonstrating positive organization and good study skills, and providing assistance with time and ...