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10 Signs Your Child Might Be Anxious, Not Just Shy

10 Signs Your Child Might Be Anxious, Not Just Shy

A child who is described as “shy” may have trouble speaking up in school, talking with adults not familiar to them, and even making friends with peers. These behaviors all seem to be characteristic of garden-variety shyness. But how do you know if a child is more than shy, if their inability to communicate with others becomes so extreme that it interferes with their functioning in daily life?

Social anxiety — an officially recognized psychiatric disorder — can look a lot like shyness, and it can be hard to know when a child is beyond shy and needs the help of a professional mental health provider. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (APA), used by mental health professionals, states that the symptoms of social anxiety disorder must be present for six months or more in order for a diagnosis to be made.

The 10 signs that a child might have anxiety rather than simple shyness involve not only the symptoms but also their intensity and their tendency to interrupt a child’s normal functioning.

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1. Fear Of Embarrassment

A person with social anxiety experiences actual fear when confronted with a social situation. They may fear that others will view them critically and that they will somehow embarrass themselves in front of others. Being in a social setting can feel like being on display or performing.

2. Intensity Of The Fear

The fear of social situations can hit an anxious person hard: they may experience such physical symptoms as a racing heart, dry mouth, sweaty palms, trembling, and shaky voice. The mind and the body are intertwined when it comes to anxiety.

3. Anxiety Or Panic Attacks

The anxious person’s feelings of fear about a social situation can escalate to the point that they experience an anxiety attack or panic attack. These kinds of attacks can be frightening. They can involve such intense physical symptoms as heart palpitations, chest pain, shortness of breath, and nausea. Many people having a panic attack feel as if they are having a heart attack.

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4. Awareness Of The Fear Being Out Of Proportion To The Trigger

The child with anxiety may be fully aware that their feelings of fear about going to a social gathering like a birthday party are irrational, but they are unable to control them nonetheless.

5. Avoidance Of Situations Causing Fear

Children with extreme social anxiety often avoid the situations that cause their fears. School is often a setting that generates fears in the anxious child, as it places demands on the child to perform and to engage with others at a level that may feel overwhelming.

6. Interference With Normal Life

For children, going to school is a part of everyday life. If severe anxiety prevents a child from attending school, the child isn’t able to access an education or socialize with peers, both of which are important facets of a so-called “normal” life.

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7. Withdrawal From Social Activities

Aside from missing school, avoiding other typical childhood social activities such as parties, playdates, and extracurricular activities like clubs and sports can leave the anxious child feeling alone and frustrated by the inability to connect with others.

8. Six Or More Months Of Symptoms

In order for social anxiety to be diagnosed, the symptoms must have been present and have interfered with the child’s functioning for six or more months. This time frame shows that anxiety is more about how the child is “hardwired” than about avoiding certain uncomfortable situations. Anxiety is more pervasive and persistent than temporary bouts of insecurity or shyness.

9. No Other Medical Reasons For The Fears And Avoidance

A doctor could rule out the impact of medications the child might be taking, or any other co-occurring conditions, on the child’s behavior.

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10. Your Gut Tells You It’s More Than Simple Shyness

Those who are closest to a child with anxiety know that child best, and their intuition may tell them long before symptoms become intense and debilitating that the child is affected by a condition more intense and pervasive than shyness. Trust your gut. If your child seems to be hindered from engaging successfully with the world, check with your pediatrician.

Featured photo credit: AngelsWings via imcreator.com

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Published on November 7, 2018

How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

In 2016, it was estimated that 1.7 million children were being homeschooled in the U.S, roughly 3.3% of all school-aged children.[1] Although this may not sound like a big portion of the population, the growth rate of homeschooling has been 7 to15% per year for the last two decades.

The burgeoning numbers are not a coincidence. There are tremendous benefits to homeschooling, including one-on-one teaching, adaptability to individual needs and learning styles, a safe learning environment, encouraging learning for knowledge rather than grades, and tailoring a curriculum to the child’s interests.

Is homeschooling something that you have been considering for your family? With all of the tools and resources available for homeschoolers in the 21st century, it may be easier than you think.

How to Homeschool (Getting Started)

After thinking it through, you’ve decided that homeschooling is the right step for you and your family. Now what? Here are the first things you should do to get your homeschooling journey started on the right track.

Figure Out the Laws

Homeschooling is regulated by the state, not the federal government. The first step is to find the current and accurate legal requirements mandated by your state in order to educate your child legally.[2]

The regulations can vary widely, from strict guidelines to no guidelines at all. However, don’t be overwhelmed by the legal jargon. There are many resources and local communities for homeschooling families that can help you figure out the logistics.

Decide on an Approach

Every child’s needs are different. This is your chance to choose the homeschooling style or combination of styles that best fits your child’s learning style and interests. A brief description of seven different homeschooling methods are listed below.

Supplies/Resources

Often times, purchasing a homeschooling curriculum is done too early in the planning process, resulting in buyer’s remorse.

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A curriculum is not always needed for homeschooling, and other types of free or less structured resources are readily available.

Find a Community

Getting connected with a community of homeschoolers is one of the most important parts of building a successful and thriving homeschool environment for your kids.

Look for communities online for virtual support or a local group that you and your kids can interact with. Partnering with others fosters better socialization skills for the students and provides opportunities for field trips, classes, and outings that wouldn’t have otherwise been a part of the homeschooling experience.

7 Different Homeschooling Methods

1. School-At-Home

Also known as Traditional homeschool, School-At-Home uses essentially the same curriculum as the local private or public school but at home.

The lessons can be completed independently, but more commonly, they are administered by a parent or a teacher-facilitated online school.

  • Benefits: formal standards, wide selection of curricula, same pace as peers, short-term friendly
  • Drawbacks: expensive, inflexible, time consuming, parent can get easily burnt out
  • Resources: K12, Time4Learning, Abeka

2. Classical

One of the most popular homeschooling methods used, it borrows educational practices from Ancient Greece and Rome. Subject areas are studied chronologically so that students can understand the consequence of ideas over time.

Socratic dialogue fosters effective discussions and debate to achieve beyond mere comprehension. There is often a strong emphasis on Great Books[3] as well as Greek and Latin.

3. Unit Studies

Rather than breaking up education into subjects, unit studies approach each topic as a whole, studying it from the perspective of each subject area.

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For example, a unit study about animals could include reading books about animals, learning about the classification of animals, figuring out which animals live on which continents, etc. This method is often used as a technique in other more comprehensive educational methodologies.

  • Benefits: promotes thinking about concepts as a whole, not monotonous or redundant, student-directed, bolsters weaker subject areas, beneficial for teaching multi-age students
  • Drawbacks: incomplete, knowledge gaps, curriculum-dependent
  • Resources: Unit Study, Unit Studies, Unit Studies Made Easy, Konos

4. Charlotte Mason

This Christian homeschooling style utilizes shorts periods of study (15-20 minute max for elementary, 45 minute max for high school), along with nature walks and history portfolios.

Students are encouraged to practice observation, memorization, and narration often. With a focus on “living books” (stories with heroes, life lessons, socio-ethical implications), reading plays a big role in this student-paced teaching style.

5. Montessori

Maria Montessori developed this method through working with special needs children in the early 20th century.

With a primary focus on the student setting the pace and indirect instruction from the teacher, this approach includes free movement, large unstructured time blocks (up to 3 hours), multi-grade classes, and individualized learning plans based on interests.

6. Unschooling

Unschooling is a learning model largely based on the work of John Holt.[4] The teaching style focuses mainly on the students’ interests, putting priority on experiential, activity-based, and learn as you go approaches.

For basic skills such as reading, writing, and math, a systematic technique is employed, but testing and evaluations are typically not utilized. Teachers, in general, play more of a facilitator role.

7. Eclectic/Relaxed

As the most popular method of homeschool, eclectic homeschooling is child-directed, resourceful, and non-curriculum based.

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Parents can sample any combination of homeschooling methods and styles or resources. One growing sector of eclectic homeschooling combines part homeschooling with part traditional schooling.

How to Facilitate Homeschooling with Technology

One of the reasons homeschooling is more feasible than ever before is due to the accessibility of tools and resources to enhance the learning process.

Email

Email is a tool that has really stood the test of time. Invented in 1972, it is still used today as a primary means of communicating on the Internet.

It is a great way to share assignments, links, and videos between parent and student.

Google Drive/Calendar

Google Drive offers a multitude of essential programs that can come in handy for homeschoolers, such as Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more.

With its sharing capabilities, easy accessibility, and auto-save ability, it’s easier than ever to organize and complete assignments. It will improve students’ writing and typing skills, as well as eliminate the need for paper.

Google Calendar is an excellent tool for tracking assignment due dates, planning field trips and activities, and developing time management skills.

Ebooks

Rather than invest in physical copies of books, ebooks are a wonderful option for saving money and space. There are plenty of places that offer a free or paid subscription to a wide selection of ebooks:

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E-Courses

When a structured curriculum is necessary for teaching a certain topic, an e-course is the way to go.

From watercolors to calculus, there are e-courses available about almost everything. Including different teaching styles that vary from the parents will encourage students to learn in different ways.

The visual and auditory stimulation will also be beneficial in helping students understand and retain the concepts being taught.

Some recommendations:

Youtube

Youtube is not just a platform for music videos and cats doing funny things. There are a number of Youtube channels that produce quality educational videos, free of charge.

Creating a playlist of videos for various topics is a great way to supplement a homeschool education.

Some recommendations:

Final Thoughts

Homeschooling in the current age looks much different than it did ten years ago. There are more options and more flexibility when it comes to educating kids at home.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the idea of homeschooling your children if it could make a positive impact on your family.

Featured photo credit: Hal Gatewood via unsplash.com

Reference

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