“He’ll start the school year as a high school senior in September and become a college student by January.”
Whatchu talkin’ bout, Willis?
Yep, that’s the good news I received when I reluctantly answered the phone this morning at 11:04 am— right at the start of The Steve Harvey Morning Show’s Strawberry Letter.
On the other end was my son’s guidance counselor. Apparently Mr. Dandridge didn’t get the memo that I take my first break between 11:30 and 12 noon. That’s why I was initially annoyed with him and wanted to ask why he didn’t just send an email?
But I kept my cool.
Thankfully I did. Because what Mr. Dandridge shared was worth it. (Though, admittedly, later that same day, I caught up and listened to The Strawberry Letter via podcast!)
Our state is offering high school seniors the option to finish all required courses in the first semester.
I suppose this is to keep the number of students in the classroom low. Pandemics can inspire common sense decisions.
Seniors will have the opportunity to complete all required courses in 2020. The second semester begins in 2021, with an open invitation to senior activities and a head start on college!
My son is the last of the school-age kiddos in our house. I’ve been encouraging him to turn this pandemic on its head and find a way to make it one of the best things to happen to him.
My philosophy is to always think like an entrepreneur. Always on the pursuit of new possibilities.
Seeing obstacles as opportunities.
In my opinion, this opportunity counts big as one of the best ones!
Homeschool budget ready
As we plan for my son’s last semester in public school as we know it in 2020, aka homeschool. I’m sharing planning, prep and budget ideas for school-age and college students.
In this post I’ve listed money-saving tips as received from my credit union— tips for college-age students and a list of ideas for K-12 students both in the classroom and in homeschool.
School supply planning: click on any picture to see more or to shop
New school: a parent’s guide to remote learning in 2020
by Navy Federal Credit Union
Establish a routine
Maintaining structure throughout the day can help your child focus and complete their work independently.
1. Follow a weekday schedule. Create a calendar to keep track of virtual classes or meetings, and build in time for working on assignments. Your family’s remote learning schedule won’t necessarily follow a typical school day, but aiming for consistency will lighten the load.
2. Take breaks. Schedule time for lunch, snacks and movement. Healthy food, regular exercise and fresh air can help your child stay energized throughout the day. Yoga poses, jumping jacks or a walk around the block provide great breaks, too.
3. Get creative. Make time for art, music and creative play. Encourage your child to paint, draw, practice an instrument, dance or simply listen to music as a way to express themselves.
4. Encourage social interaction. Help your child stay connected with family and friends with regular phone calls, letter writing or video chats.
Find a balance
As a parent, supervising your child’s remote learning routine requires you to juggle your own work and activities in a whole new way.
5. Talk to your employer. Ask about possibilities for a flexible schedule or telework.
6. Work around your schedule. You may not be available when your child needs help. Encourage them to connect with their teacher whenever possible. Set aside a time that works for you to check in with your child, too.
7. Set realistic expectations. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, remember you don’t have to be perfect. It’s OK to let some things go and do your best with the time and resources you have.
8. Connect with other parents. You’re not alone in tackling the challenges of remote learning, and you may find that sharing your experiences with other parents can help you navigate this path together.
Stay on track financially
Setting up a successful remote-learning environment doesn’t have to cost a lot.
9. Source your supplies. Save money by looking for secondhand office furniture or ask family and friends if you can borrow a desk or chair. If you have technology needs, contact your child’s school to see if they offer computers, tablets or mobile Wi-Fi hotspots.
10. Take advantage of what’s free. Check out free online remote learning resources to keep things interesting. Nonprofit and educational organizations offer free instructional videos, live streams and other interactive resources that can supplement learning, and virtual field trips to museums, historical sites and zoos can offer that as well.
Whatever this school year brings, know that patience, creativity and community support can help you navigate it.
Homeschool supplies on a budget
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4 Smart spending tips for college students
by Navy Federal Credit Union
Prepare students for independent money management with four simple steps.
In all the excitement that comes with heading off to college, many students don’t realize it’s more than paying tuition, studying and having fun. In fact, it comes with all sorts of new responsibilities, including potentially being the first time they have to manage their own finances.
Parents can help ease that transition by starting the conversation about finances early and teaching good habits while their student is still at home, so that when it’s time to head off to school, both will feel more confident.
Here are four ideas that might help:
1. Practice budgeting. A college freshman is likely to have a fairly fixed income and predictable expenses. This makes it easy to teach the basics of budgeting by showing your student how to create a simple spreadsheet of income and expected expenses.
That way, he or she will know exactly what will be left over after the necessities are paid. While you’re at it, open a basic savings account for your student and encourage them to put away a small amount every month for unexpected expenses.
Having a firm understanding of budgeting will be especially important if the student receives a student loan check with funds for both living expenses and textbooks. A large sum of money like that can present a lot of temptation to anyone, but knowing how to pace spending will ensure the funds will last until the end of the semester.
2. Go mobile. Does your student spend a lot of time on a smartphone? There are lots of great apps available for money management, especially from financial institutions. Many have budgeting tools and alerts that make tracking spending a breeze. Have your student download their financial institution’s app and show them how to use it.
3. Teach the importance of wise credit card use. Students should understand the benefits of good credit and the importance of limiting credit card debt, especially if they’re planning to rent an apartment or finance a car after graduation. Getting them started with a prepaid card like Navy Federal’s Visa® Buxx Card before they leave for college is a great way to help them practice good judgment.
Since it’s not a line of credit, it won’t impact your student’s credit rating. Parents can add funds to the card anytime and monitor spending to see what types of financial decisions their student is making.
Another way to teach smart spending is by adding your student as an authorized user to one of your cards. Being an authorized user may help students build their credit while allowing parents to set spend limits/monitor spending without needing to replenish any accounts.
4. Open a student-friendly checking account. Many financial institutions offer checking accounts custom-made for college students. Look for an account, like Navy Federal’s Free Campus Checking, that has no minimum balance and no monthly service fee.
By giving your student an increasing amount of financial responsibility as they grow, you’ll be helping them develop good financial habits.
Although you can’t plan for every financial situation, talking honestly about financial risks and responsibilities sets the stage for a lifetime of skilled money management.
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