December 5th, 2019 by SD Virtual School
The holidays allow time for much-needed rest and relaxation. However, many students struggle to get back into the swing of things once school starts again in January, and that can put a damper on their learning and progress. It’s important to take time to rest over the holidays, but students should also be cognizant of how they’re spending their time, taking care to do some productive and educational things that will benefit them now and in the future. Not only should students be trying to retain what they learned during the past semester over the holidays, but they should also be striving to learn more during their time off from school. Here are a few excellent ways to ensure students don’t forget what they’ve learned during their time off from school.
Take some time to look back on the past semester. What did you do well? What did you do poorly? What can you do differently or better in the upcoming semester? Consider improving study habits, sticking to a schedule, and having more accountability in your studies to keep you focused throughout the remainder of the school year. You should also reflect on the things that you learned, including what was most interesting to you, what you should maybe review and learn more about, and how you can apply what you learned in your life outside of school.
Goals should be actionable and realistic, but they can also cover a variety of topics and areas of life. You may have some academic goals, some personal goals, and some physical goals. Taking time to reflect on the past few months and look forward to the future with intentionality will help you retain what you’ve learned and also strive for more in the upcoming months.
It honestly doesn’t really matter what you’re reading as long as you are reading something. Sure, a textbook or informative non-fiction book would be ideal, but even a comic book, blog posts, or movie reviews are going to help you hone your reading skills during the holiday break. The best thing you can read would be notes from the past semester, especially those that are pertinent in your primary subject areas and that contain information you’ll need to have mastered for the remainder of the year. But again, reading a novel, a magazine, or any written text will be beneficial for memory and increased learning.
Writing can be incredibly relaxing and cathartic, and it has huge educational advantages as well. Again, you can write just about anything—journal entries, poems, blogs, letters, stories, and so on. Any form of writing is going to help you retain information and grow as a writer, provided that you apply the writing rules you’ve learned in school while you write. You may use writing as a way to reflect on the past semester and set goals for the upcoming months.
Tapping into your creative side is a good way to keep your brain active and improve your memory. Any type of creativity is welcome, whether it be drawing, painting, sculpting, coloring, mixed media, and the like. Maybe you like cooking or decorating, or maybe you want to hand-make someone’s gift this holiday season. Any sort of creativity is great, so embrace whatever gets you excited and make something amazing.
Use Math Skills in Real Life
Math skills are some of the first to go when you aren’t using them regularly, so try your best to integrate what you learned in math class into your real life over the holidays. Maybe that involves baking and working on your fractions. Maybe it’s about figuring out the percentage of a tip for a server at a restaurant or budgeting for your family’s upcoming vacation or grocery trip. Math appears in sports of all kinds, weather predictions, road trips, and so on. Find ways to use what you know and build upon your mathematical knowledge even when you’re not in school to help you retain what you learned and to learn more.
Do Science Experiments to Refresh Concepts
Everyone loves a good science experiment! Chances are you can find one or several related to some concepts you learned over the past few months, and you can get the whole family involved and teach them about how and why the experiment works. You can find a variety of fun science experiments online, but you can also look for chemical reactions and other scientific concepts in your daily life, such as when you cook, talk about the weather, and more.
The holidays are the perfect time for some fun family get-togethers, so why not make a few educational? Go to some art, history, or science museums in whatever city you’ll be in this season, and learn about interesting and educational things while getting some quality family time. It can be exciting for students to see things in a museum that they learned about at school, and they’ll enjoy teaching their families what they already know about the subject.
Being active can help you remember some things you learned from biology, health, or physical education, but it’s also just good for the brain and body. If you can get some fresh air while exercising, that’s even better. Staying active will keep you productive and focused on whatever you have going on during the holidays, and it will improve your mood and help you sleep better as well. Getting your heart pumping will bring more oxygen into your brain and muscles, improving overall function and blood flow, which can contribute to a better memory, better information retention, and an overall healthier lifestyle.
December 2nd, 2019 by SD Virtual School
Whether you’re an online student or a student at a traditional school, study groups can be hugely beneficial. They can help you increase your understanding of concepts, get clarification on certain materials, and review information to help you prepare for a test. All students can participate in or organize a study group, even those who are online students. Online study groups can be just as effective and helpful as in-person study groups, and with some preparation and organization, your online study group can help you increase your understanding and improve your grades.
Each online study group needs a goal. It may be to review information from a specific chapter and ensure everyone is comfortable with all the concepts. It may be to prepare to write a paper on a specific idea. It may be to study for a test and get the best grade possible. Everyone in the group should have a similar goal so that each study session can be focused on achieving it. Individuals should discuss their goals for an online study group before the first meeting to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
Choose a Platform
Once you’ve established a group of people for your study group, choose how you’ll actually meet online. Your school may have a platform for you to use, or you may need to set one up outside of your school. Google is a great tool for this, as you can organize Google hangouts, share screens, use Google docs, utilize a virtual whiteboard, and so much more. You may also consider using ThinkBinder, Rcampus, or something else similar.
Every student has different strengths, and it’s important to utilize everyone’s strengths within the group as well as ensure all aspects of the group are organized and taken care of. You should select a leader for the group who can ensure everyone stays on topic, knows when to move on from one concept to the next, and hold members accountable for their roles. You may also wish to have a note-taker, a time-keeper, and so on.
No one likes being part of a group where only a few people pull their weight and the rest just show up without contributing to the group. You should establish expectations for the group right from the start so that anyone who does not wish to uphold them can find another group. These expectations should include things like being prepared for the study sessions, committing to stay on task and focused during meeting times, staying positive and encouraging during study sessions, and more.
Determine How Study Time Is Managed
This may be primarily up to the group leader, but it’s important for the entire group to have a conversation about how the study session time is going to be managed at each meeting. It may change from meeting to meeting, but each group time should include asking members what they want to touch on, a review or presentation of information, and a summarization of what the group went over during the session. Certain meetings may be more focused on one concept than on a comprehensive review, but the group should decide how study time is going to be managed from the start so that everyone is on the same page.
This is a minor detail of creating a study group online, but with any study groups, the number of members should be limited. If a study group gets too big, productivity will lessen and the group may deal with some unforeseen challenges. It’s best to keep online study groups around five to eight members, but you may find that slightly fewer or slightly more work best for you. As others seek to join your group, just be aware of how the group dynamic shifts and be cognizant of the productivity and efficiency that occurs during study time.
Consistency is an important factor in the success of any study group, and it may be even more important in online study groups. Consistency is multi-faceted in these situations. Your group should be consistent in meeting regularly, ensuring that everyone is aware of the meeting schedule and what is going to be covered at each meeting. You should also be consistent in communicating with one another outside of the meeting times so that everyone knows what to expect at the next meeting and is properly prepared for it. Finally, you should be consistent in the way you run the group meetings. This includes not only sticking to the agenda you’ve determined, but also in starting and stopping on time. This consistency will make your group more effective as all group members will know what to expect and will feel as though their time with the study group is respected, leading them to then return that respect toward the group and other group members.
Wrap Up & Summarize
Having a summary at the end of each meeting should absolutely be included in your normal agenda for meetings. One person may have the job of keeping notes of key things you go over, or it may shift from one person to another during each meeting. Either way, someone should be in charge of notating the main ideas and concepts that you review during the group meetings, and the summary should be discussed at the end of each meeting. Additionally, it will serve the group best if that summary is sent in writing to each member at the end of the meetings so that they can easily reference which meetings covered what information.
November 4th, 2019 by SD Virtual School
The world is changing drastically at a break-neck pace, and while some things may remain the same for a time, just about everything will have to adapt to the technology-driven era that we now live in. Education is no exception. Online colleges and universities have seen a huge boom in enrollment, and it is estimated that about one-third of all college students take at least one class online at any given time. That is a far cry from the traditional college experience that many of us one had. Even more than that, however, is the increase in online education for younger students, including those in both middle school and high school. While private schools and homeschooling have all been available as alternatives to a traditional public school environment, more and more students and parents are discovering the benefits of an online education and are jumping aboard this fast-growing educational revolution. The more people enroll in online schools, the more those online schools have resources to pour back into their educational models, and the more the students benefit. If you’re considering enrolling your child in an online school or allowing them to take some virtual learning classes, get in touch with San Diego Virtual School to learn more and see for yourself all the amazing benefits that an online education can provide for your child.
By far, the number one benefit of getting an online education is the flexibility it allows. Most families first begin exploring online schools due to the increased flexibility. Students at traditional schools spend a lot of their time at school doing busywork, traveling between classes, socializing at lunch, and waiting for their next class to start. With an online learning environment, students don’t have any of that downtime, meaning they can get an entire day’s worth of lessons done in half the time (or less!). Online students can also work at any time. They typically need to check in with instructors regularly or log on a certain number of times per week, but that can be done at any time, day or night. If your student is a night owl, he or she can start their lessons at midnight rather than at 7 am. If you have a busy family schedule, assignments can be done on the weekends. Many of our students are those with unique schedules, like military families, students who work full-time, or those who are training or competing in athletics, performance arts, modeling, and more. No matter why you need the flexibility, online schooling offers it.
Students will learn hard skills, or job-specific skills, in college or during training for a particular job. Soft skills are things that employees are expected to have mastered already before applying for a job or beginning a career. Unfortunately, many high school and college graduates lack these soft skills that are vital for their future success. Thankfully, however, many students who are virtual learners are able to practice and master these soft skills while in school due to their unique learning opportunities and atmosphere. Soft skills include communication, empathy, self-discipline, adaptability, work ethic, teamwork, flexibility, self-motivation, conflict resolution, time management, problem-solving, critical thinking, and more.
A traditional school environment can be very challenging for some students. There are a lot of distractions and interruptions during learning time, peers can be mean, and even teachers can be discouraging and unsupportive. At San Diego Virtual School, we pride ourselves on our positive learning environments, and so do many other online education programs. Students interact in our virtual classrooms through group chats, discussion boards, and the like, and we are always so proud of how respectful and encouraging they are to one another. Our teachers set the tone for a supportive and positive environment, making all students feel safe in expressing their feelings and contributing to class discussions. If your child has struggled with focus, bullying, or social anxiety in a traditional school, an online education might be perfect for him or her.
More Access to Instructors
Many people believe the myth that online students never interact with their teachers. This is incredibly far from reality. In fact, many of our teachers are available at a variety of hours and they are always willing to offer extra assistance or answer questions for students who seek them out. Students don’t have to wait days or weeks to get to class to have their needs addressed because they can email or message their teachers at any time, helping them right when they need it and encouraging their motivation and progress on assignments.
Better Preparation for the Future
Whether your child goes on to complete an online college education or not, online learning will prepare them for the future better than any other educational environment. Not only will they have mastered the soft skills necessary for them to be a successful adult, but they will also understand the importance of personal responsibility and independence. Those two things are completely vital for high school graduates to have success in anything they take on after high school, including a job, a college education, or a training or certification program of any kind.
An online education offers countless benefits to students, no matter their age, grade level, or educational experience. While middle school students may need a little more assistance navigating their online learning environment at first, independence and self-discipline are skills they will master in a short time, followed by all the other important soft skills that young people need. To learn more about enrolling your child at SDVS and getting the best online education available for him or her, contact us today.
October 31st, 2019 by SD Virtual School
Bullying in any form is awful. It’s unacceptable behavior regardless of the bully’s age, and it can occur in a number of different ways. It can have devastating effects on children and teens, so it’s incredibly important that it is handled appropriately and quickly. Bullying used to be something that only happened in face-to-face situations, such as on the bus, at school, at an afterschool hangout, and the like. Nowadays, online bullying has become rampant among children and teens, although other forms of bullying are still present. Let’s look specifically at online bullying, its effects, why it needs to be addressed, and how to deal with it if it affects you or someone you know.
What Is Online Bullying?
Online bullying is any form of harassment, threatening, or humiliation done via digital technology. This can include text messages or instant messages, emails, or anything done on social media. Online bullying can seem minor, such as one child texting another child mean things, or it can seem as extreme and major as a group of kids creating an entire social media profile to make fun of a classmate. No matter the level to which the online bullying is taking place, it can be very challenging for students to deal with and should never be ignored. It’s important to note that cyberbullying can be done by one person or several, and the identity of the bully may not always be known. Online bullies may make physical threats, inappropriate and sexual comments or suggestions, spread lies or rumors, reveal secrets, or exclude individuals from certain things. Because online bullying is done via the internet, students may feel at risk anywhere because their attackers can reach them anywhere they have an internet connection. This means that every safe place they’ve known no longer feels safe.
Effects of Online Bullying
The effects of online bullying are more far-reaching than most people realize. Even if it’s just a one-on-one situation and the entire school isn’t involved, victims of online bullying can experience significant distress, fear, sadness, and more. The most common feelings associated with being a victim of online bullying include feeling hurt, angry, scared, isolated, helpless, hopeless, and anxious. Some children will experience depression or anxiety due to online bullying, and some children have even become suicidal because of the relentlessness of an online bully. Students who are bullied are more likely to drop out of school or skip school, see their grades suffer, and withdraw from the things and people they once enjoyed. They will likely experience physical health concerns, including sleeplessness, more frequent sickness, and a number of mental health issues, such as depression, low self-esteem, and even a form of PTSD.
While regular bullying is absolutely hard and awful, cyberbullying may be even worse for a number of reasons. First, it can happen anywhere. It’s not specific to just happening at school, and it can leave children feeling like there is no escape from it no matter where they go. Second, online bullying is often done anonymously, which can make kids feel paranoid, untrusting, and more threatened. Cyberbullies often get bolder when they think they won’t be caught or found out, which can make them go to more extremes and be even meaner. Third, since the bullying isn’t done in person, the bully often doesn’t see the immediate reaction of the victim, which can be unsatisfying for them, so they may push things too far for the sake of getting a reaction and feeling fulfilled in their bullying. And finally, the lies, threats, and humiliation associated with online bullying can be something that hundreds or thousands of people see. It’s not just about a few kids in the hallway overhearing someone making fun of a peer anymore. People on the internet are ruthless and students know how to quickly spread their posts to far-reaching avenues to get the most exposure and make the most impact on their victims.
Why It Needs to Be Taken Seriously
A lot of people may say that “kids will be kids” and while that is true, kids need accountability for the things they say and do, and that includes instances of online bullying. Children and teens have committed suicide in response to cyberbullying and although that is an extreme, no child should be made to feel inferior or less than simply because another student wants to harass them on the internet. Kids need to learn how to interact with others appropriately and respectfully, both online and in person, and it is the responsibility of the adults in their lives to do so.
At the same time, children and teens should learn how to handle being bullied in an online setting and respond as well as they can. The best thing to do is not respond to the cyberbully attack and tell a trusted adult about it immediately. Students should remember who they are and stand firm in that and in what they believe, and they should be encouraged to ignore what a bully says to them as best as they can. The stronger the mental fortitude of our children, the less power cyberbullies will have and the more the problem will begin to dissipate.
If you are an adult that learns about online bullying, you should speak to the parties involved and get as much information as possible. Speak to other adults involved in the kids’ lives and come up with a plan to handle the situation before it gets worse. Monitoring technological devices and social media accounts that your children have is also a great way to stay on top of what they are sending and receiving online.
What to Do If You or Someone You Know Is a Victim of Online Bullying
If you are involved in bullying, whether online or face-to-face and whether as a victim or as a bully, you need to talk to someone about it. Victims should not seek revenge or even respond to their attackers as that will likely fuel them to continue. Report whatever you can to the police, the internet service provider of particular websites being used, and any other adults or authority figures that need to know. If you are a student at San Diego Virtual School, talk to one of your teachers or a school counselor or administrator about the issue. You can get in contact with the school via their contact form, through email, or by calling. It’s best to have proof of the cyberbully attacks for your records, but victims should avoid re-reading the comments. If you are struggling due to online bullying, talk to someone right away about the bullying and the feelings that you’re having about it.
October 3rd, 2019 by SD Virtual School
Getting your degree online, whether in high school or college, offers a number of advantages that traditional students simply don’t get. You enjoy the flexibility of making your own schedule, you get to work at your own pace, and you also acquire and master a number of soft skills, like personal responsibility, self-discipline, and time management. However, you may feel like you’re at a disadvantage when it comes to securing a job after school due to your online education. The good news is that simply isn’t true, provided that you take the necessary steps to prepare yourself for life after school. Having a solid resume is important for anyone, but it is even more vital for online students since some employers may view virtual students a little differently than traditional students. Thankfully, you can create an incredible resume that stands out in the best ways, and you can use your online education to your advantage to prove how well-rounded you are, how much of an asset you’ll be to any company, and how qualified and prepared you are to take on a new career. Here are some top tips from industry experts on how to build a well-rounded resume as an online student.
Land an Internship
Whether you’re in high school or college, an internship is only going to benefit you. Not only will it teach you valuable skills related to a job or industry you hope to work in, but it will also give you some connections in certain fields that could help you get your foot in the door. Caleb Backe, Certified Life Coach and Business Consultant, says this about creating a well-rounded resume: “Finding an internship or volunteer position related to your field of study is always a plus. The key is to network as much as you can so that you have plenty of material for your resume.” Basically, the more you learn and the more you do while in school, the more you’ll have to brag about on your resume.
Get Volunteer Experience
If you can’t get an internship for some reason, get some volunteer experience. Find an organization that means a lot to you or one that relates to the field you hope to be in one day, and do anything they’ll allow you to do. Even if you can’t find something that’s related to your chosen industry, just showing a potential employee that you care about others and are willing to volunteer some of your time is going to benefit you. Being a volunteer will also help with networking and if you can make strides within a particular organization, that will help improve your resume as well.
Have a Job
Maybe an internship isn’t feasible and you simply don’t have enough time to volunteer. If that’s the case but you still want to build your resume, you can get a job. Ideally, the job would be something that is related to what you want to do after graduation, but that’s not an absolute requirement. Caleb Backe says, “Even if you opt to find a job that’s not related but pays the bills, the responsibilities and skills required can be reflected in an advantageous manner in your resume if you write them the right way.” All skills you acquire, no matter how simple or complex, can be translated into meaningful abilities that apply within various fields. Even a job at a fast food restaurant or a grocery store can teach you important skills like punctuality, personal responsibility, respect for authority, a good work ethic, and more.
Take on Extracurricular Activities
Most students tend to participate in extracurricular activities, and the key to creating a well-rounded resume is selecting the right ones. If you play a sport or are extremely passionate about a club or activity, getting involved in it during school is a great use of your time. If you can make it into a leadership role in any group, that’s even better. Business coach Stacy Caprio says students should “try to find actual outside activities to participate in so your resume includes more than simply sat in front of a computer to get a degree. It will be helpful to do volunteer activities, try to find some community leadership activities, and join outside speech clubs or other events you’re interested in. This will show you’re well-rounded and more than just someone who can learn in front of a computer.”
Do Your Research
When you’re applying for a specific position, or even if you’re preparing for an interview, you need to make sure you do your research. You may have a general resume that you use for all jobs you’re applying for, but you can tailor each resume to the specific company and job to make yourself stand out more. The more well-rounded and well-read you appear, the better off you’ll be. Do your research about what works on resumes and what doesn’t, and do your research on the company that you’re applying to work for. BP Greycastle of Name Colorology Group says, “The best way to build and stand out and succeed in a resume or interview is by knowing [about] the person … that will be interviewing you or reading your resume.”
Consult Resume Experts
If you’ve done all the legwork of being well-rounded but you need a little assistance in putting together the perfect resume, you may consider hiring experts to help you. Various companies and individuals will craft an incredible resume for you or will look over what you’ve already done and help you make improvements. A large part of building a well-rounded resume is not only having the experiences but also having the right words to make yourself come across the way you desire. Alexandra Nima from The Sophisticated Geek says that career hacking courses “help anyone, in any situation, to structure and present their skills and past work experience in a way that makes any recruiter pay attention.”
May 7th, 2019 by SD Virtual School
If you’re a middle school or high school student, a college student, a teacher, or involved in education in any way, you’ve likely heard about career technical education. Not only are educators and students seeing the many benefits of CTE programs, but employers see the various advantages of hiring students who have gone through CTE coursework. With technological changes occurring constantly and the job market rapidly growing and evolving, students today are being prepared to take on jobs that don’t even exist yet, which makes real-world skills and practical application of knowledge absolutely vital. Continue reading our comprehensive guide to career technical education to learn all about it, including available programs, the benefits of these programs, and how to make the most of your educational time with hands-on career technical education.
April 23rd, 2019 by SD Virtual School
High school students who work a part-time job are often more equipped and better prepared to handle future responsibilities both in college and in the real world. Many high school students want a part-time job because it can give them some extra money, a leg up on college applications, and real-world experience that may serve them in the future. Some students don’t have a choice but to work, as they may need to help support their families, which can add even more pressure to their already busy and demanding schedule. Whether it’s a job in a career field that interests the student or a food service or retail job, balancing high school and a part-time job can be challenging but incredibly rewarding. In addition to making some money, working part-time jobs can help high school students learn valuable skills, such as time management, commitment, responsibility, respect, and more. No matter what reason a student has for working during high school, here are a handful of tips to successfully balance both high school and a part-time job.
April 16th, 2019 by SD Virtual School
Online learning is growing in popularity as students and parents alike are experiencing the many benefits it has to offer. Students are able to complete work on their own schedules and with their own timelines, allowing for additional assistance when needed, the flexibility of completion and work hours, and an improvement in self-motivation and self-discipline. Students grow in independence and personal responsibility when they complete online courses since they are solely responsible for their academic successes and failures. Computer literacy is a skill that is on the rise, and students absolutely must learn their way around using a computer, overcoming technical issues, and problem-solving when a technological struggle arises. The more comfortable work environment and more positive learning environment often contribute to a lot of students’ success in online classrooms, allowing students to spend more time with family, participate in more extracurricular activities, and make the most of their time. For students who are advanced and wish to get ahead, they are often encouraged to complete online courses as quickly as they wish in order to earn college credits during high school or even graduate early.
April 9th, 2019 by SD Virtual School
Summer reading has a long history in schools, often marked by unwilling students or simple disobedience in completing book lists. As schools see more and more the impact of reading proficiency struggles in students young and old, they are pushing more for reading discipline both during the school year and in the summer. Whether you are an avid bookworm or a hesitant reader, picking up a few books throughout the summer will help you retain what you learned last year, prepare yourself for the upcoming year, and improve literacy skills and reading proficiency. All of these things are important factors in your success, both during your schooling years and beyond.
March 1st, 2019 by SD Virtual School
College students and recent graduates are often encouraged to participate in internships to expand their experience, apply what they’ve learned in school, or even make some extra money. While paid and unpaid internships are a great chance for college students to get some hands-on training in a field they’re interested in, internships are also a great opportunity for high school students. They can see first-hand how certain jobs are done, meet professionals in industries they’re interested in, and experience new things while working with smart and motivated experts. If you or your student is interested in finding internships, we can help. Whether you’re trying to find internships for over the summer, for a work-study program, or for after graduation, finding internships doesn’t have to be incredibly difficult or time-consuming. Here are some of the best ways we’ve found to help students who are interested in finding internships.