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How to Teach your Child to Overcome Bully Problems

How to Teach your Child to Overcome Bully Problems

Bullying has become a serious problem in today’s schools. It is much more than just hurtful words; some kids are physically threatened and harmed and even develop other problems, like anxiety and depression, when bullying persists. In many situations, the bully needs help too. One look at the daily news and you will see evidence of this. Maybe it’s even closer than you suspect.

Let me tell you a little story. In high school, I was a kid who used to punch a boy who would never speak up or fight back. (I know, it was awful and I have since apologized to him.) I was also a straight-A student and the teacher’s pet. Why was I bullying? I needed help. I was being abused at home and acting out at school. Luckily, I got some counseling to handle the things that were impacting me.

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Is your child being bullied?

What does a bullied child look like and how might a parent know it is happening?

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  • Parents need to communicate with their child about what is happening and, if possible, find another child who may be witnessing the bullying. Ask more than just yes/no questions. Ask for the best and worst parts of your kid’s day to get more details.
  • Often, other children will see bullying in action while teachers may not be fully aware of what is being said and done among the children. Ask your child if a friend or classmate might have seen something.
  • An astute caregiver may see signs of bullying like unexplained injuries or loss of personal items, changes in appetite or attitude.
  • While kids may not want to lose their friends or be known as a tattletale, it is important to stress the need for adult intervention when bullying happens.
  • Kids really should not deal with it themselves and need to know they have the support of the adults around them.
  • Once a bullying situation is identified, adults can step in and help all involved.

What can you teach your child about handling the situation?

  • Teach them not to handle it directly. As soon as they realize there is a problem, speak to a trusted adult.
  • Adults need to stop the situation immediately and assess the safety of the children.
  • Adults need to make it perfectly clear that bullying is not acceptable.
  • It may be best to separate the parties and get the individuals to speak to adults separately.
  • Adults should stay calm and be positive role models for resolving conflicts.
  • If weapons or serious bodily injury are involved, the police may need to be contacted.

One very successful technique to teach all children about bullying is role playing. This is led by an adult and children can “play” different roles to actually experience (in a safe and supportive setting) how it feels to be the bully, to be bullied and even to witness bullying. Kids can generate excellent ideas in this kind of setting and test them out. Practice does help. When a child has practiced what might happen and several options of how to respond, he or she is much more likely to handle it positively and correctly when it happens in real life.

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The last thing a parent wants to hear is that their child is being bullied at school or on the bus. Childhood is short enough without bullying problems. Being bullied can make an already shy kid just turn inside out. Or worse, being bullied can make your child feel hopeless and helpless in a place where he or she should feel safest. Of course, schools and teachers are more prepared today to handle bullying with training and awareness programs. Be sure to talk to your kids about bullying, communicate with school and teachers and get involved in community activities. October is National Bullying Prevention Month, so it is a perfect time to start the conversation with your kids.

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Joan Lowell

Educator, Writer

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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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