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Thanksgiving is upon us, a time for intentionally celebrating everything we have to be grateful for. It’s a beautiful thing to be able to collectively pause and express our thankfulness. Practicing gratefulness is not always easy, and often in our daily lives we lose sight of what we have to be thankful for. Yet what if every day were like Thanksgiving — what if we intentionally put effort into living a thankful lifestyle? The world would be a beautiful place.

23 Nov

Cultivating a Thankful Lifestyle


This week's Food For Thought comes from Tamra Excell as she visits the 2015 iNACOL Blended and Online Learning Symposium. Tamra is the co-founder of CMASAS and Personalized Education Group. I attended the welcoming reception at the education conference I am at this week – an opportunity for vendors to entice people to their booths with free food. Obviously this works on me because I was there. I enjoy looking for new tools or strategies for our students, so the exhibit hall is a favorite part for me. However, as I went from one booth to another, there was one that I hesitated approaching. The booth was huge, dominating a large portion of the room, but I passed by it several times. I was struggling with the first bullet point on their sign: “deficiency diagnostics.”

18 Nov

Food For Thought - Detoxing from Negative Framing


Using digital tools like laptops, tablets and smartphones allow online school students to engage in learning in three-dimensional, creative, collaborative and unique ways. Unfortunately technology has also become a distraction for many online school students, causing them to lose their focus and passion for learning. In this age of an abundance of digital distractions, it’s more important now than ever for children to learn how to concentrate and practice self-control.

15 Nov

Teaching Children to Concentrate in an Age of Distraction


When is the last time you and your child took a “mental health day,” a day to rest, unplug and recharge? We live in a society today where the well-rested professional loses respect and the calm and relaxed teenager is looked down on. We hear stories and marvel at the success of famous people like Bill Clinton and Martha Stewart who only need four hours of sleep a night. We esteem the high school Valedictorian who graduated with a 4.5 GPA, an All-America athletics award, and a book contract. We make the kid who participates in only one extra-curricular activity look lazy, and we make the mom who takes a spa day feel guilty for her time off.

08 Nov

It's OK To Skip a Day — Prioritizing Rest


This week's Food For Thought comes from Tamra Excell. She is the co-founder of CMASAS and Personalized Education Group. “What is the top advice you would give to younger generations?” I asked Joanne, a retired teacher who did her own share of shaking the system over the years. She was now facing end-of-life type decisions, and while a recent injury had her down, she wasn’t out, and the spark in her eyes in response to my question reminded me of this.

04 Nov

Food For Thought - Lead With Your Heart


So many students, and even adults, communicate virtually with others in ways that they never would face-to-face. The anonymity that the Internet can provide causes some people to be cruel, spiteful and humiliating to others. In different situations, online and virtual communication causes people to be sloppy, informal, and simply poor communicators. Here are 5 rule for online etiquette that will help us all to be kind, clear and successful virtual communicators.

01 Nov

5 Guidelines for Online Etiquette


Ask any one of the instructors, administrators or staff of CMASAS why they are passionate about online school education and they’ll probably tell you a personal story, a story of how online school impacted their lives. Hi! My name is Kimberly and I write blog posts for CMASAS and help with social media. It is such a privilege interacting with all of you, this online family. Online school deeply impacted my life, and I wanted to share my story with you. I was homeschooled from kindergarten through ninth grade and was enrolled in a couple different online schools and virtual learning programs over the years. My time as an online school student was unforgettable and I learned so many lessons that have helped me pursue a remarkable life.

25 Oct

What I Learned From Online School


This week's Food For Thought comes from CMASAS online school co-founder Tamra Excell. My daughter Cass is traveling the country with a cat named Juan and a chicken named Vanna. I could blame Neil Gaiman, brilliantly creative English author, but it’s probably my fault.

14 Oct

Food For Thought - Teaching Children to be Lifelong Learners


Survivor. Advocate. Student. Friend. Maude Gorman is doing big things with her life. The twenty-one year old Stonehill College junior identifies herself in many ways and this year she holds the title of Miss Massachusetts World America. Maude’s days are now filled with pageant participation, volunteer work and professional advocacy, not to mention college courses. She dreams of joining the Peace Corps after college, putting to use her degrees in Communications and Anthropology. Her future is promising and bright, but she hasn’t always felt that way.

10 Oct

Online School Helped Her Survive


This week's message comes from school co-founder Christopher Geis. Christopher lives in sunny San Diego and travels throughout the country to meet with CMASAS students and staff. While you will mostly hear about successful and positive outcomes from CMASAS students, one outcome has bothered me for the past month and I would like to share it with you and hear your thoughts and comments.

07 Oct

Effective Communication in an Online School


From the youngest age, children of this generation are presented with more modes of technology than ever before, as most American households have multiple tablets, computers, cell phones and televisions at their disposal. Though each family and child is different, a San Francisco based nonprofit Common Sense Media, which studies screen time of children from birth, found that children under eight years old were spending about two hours a day in front of a screen.

01 Oct

10 Apps That Make Screen-Time Educational & Fun


This week's Food For Thought comes from online school co-founder and designer behind the Personalized Education Group, Tamra Excell. “She sure seems angry,” I heard somebody say behind me while in attendance at a recent conference. The presenter was passionate about her topic. She and another were taking turns explaining how “all students are a gift, but not all students are gifted,” and to say otherwise could undermine gifted education.

23 Sep

Is Everybody Gifted?


Our primary goal at CMASAS is to provide students with excellent online school courses that empower, inspire and prepare them to live remarkable lives. One of the ways we help set online high school students up for success is through Career and Technical Education Courses. These courses give online school students insight and in-depth training into numerous careers and skilled trades. In a series of blog posts we’ll be taking a look at several of these Career and Technical Education Courses, seeking to inspire students to take some these remarkable courses.

20 Sep

Course Highlight: Learn Web Design Skills and Practice Creativity


This week's Food For Thought comes from online school co-founder, Tamra Excell. Read more about Tamra and her mission to create a personalized education for all students on her website here. How much control do you feel over your own life? Are you in the driver’s seat, or do you feel like you are being taken for a ride?

16 Sep

The Respect We Give to Students


At CMASAS, we strive to touch the future by serving students in ways that encourage them to live remarkable lives. We believe that today, especially in the modern Western world, that children are the most overlooked and under-appreciated members of our society. Which is sad because children contain within them so much hope, imagination, kindness, tolerance, and optimism. With all of these natural qualities, children only need a bit of good direction and encouragement to make large positive impacts on the world around them.

13 Sep

Helping Kids Change the World


This week's message comes from school co-founder, Chris Geis. Chris lives with his wife, Linda, in sunny San Diego and travels throughout the country to meet with CMASAS students and staff. The most frequent question I hear from parents thinking about enrolling their children in CMASAS is “what makes us different from other online schools?” The quick answer is simple - it's the people - our instructors, Personalized Education Coaches, Administrative team - that separates us from the rest. After all, it is the connections that students make during their school years that are most memorable - even for students at a distance based online school.

09 Sep

The Human-Centered Approach to Learning


As teenagers go through a stage in life of exploration, self discovery and dreaming of the future, they'll look to many different sources to find ideas, validation, and support. Especially when it comes to deciding on and pursuing a career, teens frequently look to their parents. In fact, according to a study by Ferris State University, 78% of high school students say parents are their biggest career influence.

01 Sep

Tips For Parents on Career Coaching Their Teens


For the majority of our online school students, it’s back to school season! New school years and courses are an excellent time to start fresh, build good routines, practice great disciplines, and reignite passions for learning. Here are five back to school tips we’ve curated specifically for our online school students.

25 Aug

5 Tips for Back to Online School Success


Our primary goal at CMASAS is to provide students with excellent online school courses that empower, inspire and prepare them to live remarkable lives. One of the ways we help set online high school students up for success is through career and technical education courses. These 27 different courses are cutting-edge, rigorous and extremely relevant to the landscape of today’s professional careers.

23 Aug

Career and Technical Education Courses - Empowering Tomorrow's Work Force


At CMASAS, we not only strive to give children the best online education possible but we also seek to fully empower and care for our students in every sphere of their lives. This doesn’t mean that we can ensure that our students eat healthy meals or have good relationships with their siblings, but we do structure our enrollment programs, courses, and class work in ways that empower and aid students under many different circumstances.

15 Aug

New Enrollment Option for Students With Medical Needs


This week's Food For Thought comes from online school co-founder and designer behind the Personalized Education Group, Tamra Excell. As co-founder of CMASAS, it’s important to me that all students feel empowered when they begin at our school. One question we often ask students to think about then is "How do we define ourselves?"

12 Aug

Food For Thought - How Should We Define Identity & Use Labels?


Much more than simply an alternative to traditional classroom education, online school empowers students to think differently, dream bigger, and pursue futures of innovation and excellence. In a world that is becoming increasingly mobile, technologically based, and information heavy, our goal at CMASAS is not simply to help students keep up, but to push them to pave the way. One of the methods that this next generation is able to design a new way of living is through entrepreneurship. Here are three ways that online school empowers students to become entrepreneurs.

09 Aug

Online School Teaches Students Entrepreneurship


This week's Food For Thought comes from online school co-founder and designer behind the Personalized Education Group, Tamra Excell. She is currently at the annual Supporting Emotional Needs for the Gifted Conference. Last week I wrote that “When talking with parents about their hopes and dreams for their children, it usually boils down to two things: happiness, and self-sufficiency. ” In reflecting on happiness I noted the importance of teaching young people to define, pursue and share happiness throughout their life time. Now how about self-sufficiency? As before, I’m sharing some ideas here and look forward to hearing yours.

05 Aug

Food For Thought - Educating Children to Have Personal Agency


Ask any third grader what their favorite ice cream flavor is and they will surely have a definite answer. Or ask a handful of sixth graders who their favorite athletes are and you’ll receive a whole myriad of responses. Children learn from a young age how to differentiate preferences and pick favorites. It’s part of the process of developing into a unique individual. Though it’s easy to pick a favorite ice cream, it can often be challenging for young people to determine other more important preferences and “best fits.” How do I learn best? What are the proper motivators I can use? How do I prefer to communicate with others? At what pace can I push myself to learn and complete tasks? These are questions that children and teens are never taught to ask themselves and rarely do educators give young people the tools they need to determine these important preferences.

25 Jul

How Online School Instructors Help Students Discover Their Learning Style


There is one fundamental fact that the majority of schools continually overlook, a fact that hinders these schools’ ability to succeed as wonderful educators. That fact is this: no one student is alike. Each young person has their own set of dreams, goals, interests and also challenges, inhibitions and restraints. Because of the limitations of traditional schools, most will be unable to properly serve each and every student. However, with personalized education systems that online school’s provide, no student is overlooked.

11 Jul

How Part Time Enrollment Empowers Students


Nearly every child has a desire within them to slow down time and never grow old. It’s the Peter Pan in every youth that shies away from adult ways of life. As educators, it’s important to allow children to act as children throughout their studies, while also empowering them with the principles and tools they need to become thriving adults. The transition from youth into adulthood is a bit challenging for everyone, yet student’s of online schools are prepared for college and careers in unique and immense ways. Online school students are taught practical lessons that are easily applicable in work places and careers, such as the ability to think globally, to stay organized, to work in a variety of settings, and to use technology well. Here are three of the most prominent ways in which online school prepares students for careers.

05 Jul

How Online School Prepares Students for Future Careers


Summer is in full swing, and at CMASAS, we know that our online high school students deserve a break from studying. We also know that our students are exceptional individuals on the path towards achieving excellence and that dreams and goals don't take a summer holiday. That's why we'll be sharing fun resources throughout the summer to help students keep their minds sharp and their hearts inspired. TED Talks are a fun, entertaining and easy way to learn new things and glean a different perspective from bright minds. Supplement Netflix marathons and binge-watching reruns with these hilarious, wise and witty talks. Neuroscientists, authors, comedians and models — these talented individuals can be your teachers this summer.

28 Jun

10 TED Talks to Watch This Summer


Unless you're a total bookworm, summer reading lists are probably not your absolute favorite. The lists are typically filled with a mix of classical literature, novels written in the previous century, and weighty volumes that teachers profess will be entertaining and applicable to your life but never truly are. But hopefully you've experienced the wonderful way in which one can get lost in the world of a book and how reading can be the very best tool for gaining knowledge. Eric Schmidt says, "I still believe that sitting down and reading a book is the very best way to really learn something."

20 Jun

10 Books to Read This Summer - That You Probably Wouldn't At A Traditional School


While searching for the best educational option for their child, many parents and guardians may become confused about the differences between homeschooling and online school. Though there are many similarities between the two options like the student learning from the home and formulating their own schedule, there are also many key differences and benefits to online school. CMASAS strives to blend the homeschool philosophy of education with a private online school program, thus creating a truly unique learning experience not found in homeschooling or other online school options. Here are four ways that CMASAS is different from homeschooling.

12 Jun

4 Ways That Online School Differs From Homeschool


School can be stressful, especially if the school’s curriculum, classes and programs do not match each student’s learning style, goals, interests, and personalized needs. At CMASAS, we strive to create stress-free, personalized education that empowers each student. Here are four reasons why online school can help minimize a student’s stress.

07 Jun

4 Ways Online School Can Help Stressed-Out Students