For all the advances in the landscape of LGBTQ rights, LGBTQ youth face particular challenges. According to the Trevor Project, LGBTQ youth are significantly more likely to have suicidal thoughts — or even attempted suicide — compared with their heterosexual, cisgender peers. Receiving family support goes a long way in improving a child’s health outcomes: Studies show that LGBTQ adults who face family rejection experience higher rates of substance abuse, mental illness and suicide attempts.
Fortunately, caregivers, parents and families of LGBTQ teens and children can make a huge difference in their child’s life — and health outcomes — by supporting them with an open mind, and advocating on their behalf as necessary.
When we see our kids struggle, sometimes we just want to leap into action.
Whether you’re trying to deal with teachers or family members who struggle (or refuse) to use the preferred pronouns of a non-binary or transgender child, want to provide a space to talk about gender identity or sexual orientation, or need to address in-school bullying, the most important thing is to find out how your child feels first. That kind of supportive foundation will be essential as your child’s identity evolves over their adolescence.
Find out what they need before taking action. Sometimes you might need to support them in strategizing how to handle a situation on their own; other times, you might need to serve as a liaison. (For additional support, see our list of national resources below.)
If your child is telling you that they don’t feel safe at school — a rather common experience, as we discuss — it’s worth starting by talking with teachers and administrators. But if the issue feels more systemic than solvable, you might consider looking for other schooling options that are better equipped to support LGBTQ youth.
When families bump up against the limits of local options, they might need to think out of the box to find a supportive environment. Homeschooling is an option whose pros and cons shift slightly when considering the needs of LGBTQ individuals.
In terms of advantages, home-based learning gives kids certain freedoms. Kids can choose to either be open about their gender identity, or not, in a way that is much harder to do in a physical environment. They can be more deliberate about their gender expression, choosing how much of their body to present on camera — and if they decide to transition, they have more control over how and when they share that information. By the same token, some of the more overt indicators of gender identity — like which bathroom to use — do not exist when attending class remotely.
Another advantage of home-based learning through an online school like Prisma is diversity: because they bring together kids from all different parts of the US, there's a larger pool of kids, making it easier for kids to find a community of like minded peers.
Finally, another benefit of a non-traditional school is the flexibility it affords for kids to pursue other interests. But even if your child is enrolled in traditional school, consider extracurriculars that allow them to interact with diverse kids and explore the many facets of their identity, whether its arts, nature or athletics.
But keep in mind: not all online schools are community-centered like Prisma. Sending a kid who’s feeling socially isolated to an online school where there's not a strong community, or homeschooling without a strong plan for socialization, might make them feel more isolated.
One of the best ways a parent can support a child’s mental health is by helping them create a diverse, resilient network that includes teachers, coaches, role models / mentors, and health care providers.
At Prisma, we use a one-on-one coaching model in order connect every learner with an adult who gets to know them, understand their needs and help build their confidence. That kind of individual attention builds trust, allowing kids to open up to the coach. And the knowledge that they have an adult who believes in them, hears and understands them, and is completely accepting of them builds self-esteem. Then, in the event of any crisis (or even slight misunderstanding), there’s a clear channel of communication open that allows the learner to feel safe in sharing.
For more on how to support your LGBTQ child, here are some of the top national resources for the LGBTQ community and their loved ones:
From national parks to beach vacations, design an in-the-field learning experience the whole family will enjoy
Online learning takes many forms. Decide why you want to go remote — and the rest will fall into place.
Here’s how parents of ADHD children can set themselves up for successful learning at home.
Online learning doesn’t have to be distracting. These tips can prime your child to thrive at home.
From early childhood through high school, homeschooling provides the ideal setting to facilitate a gifted child’s learning. Here’s how.
And how can you support them in the classroom?
From fostering a love of learning to developing problem-solving skills, child-initiated learning is a pillar of a successful homeschooling journey. Here’s how to get started.
Focus on number sense and you’ll help your child add math skills to their toolkit.
Combine fun with a pinch of self-discipline, and you’ll be well on your way to a wellness routine your child wants to follow.
Kids need to develop their own world as they mature. But the stereotype of the zip-lipped pre-teen doesn’t have to be your reality.
It’s not easy to juggle full-time work and homeschooling — but it is possible. Here’s what we’ve learned about how to thrive.
Learning languages opens doors, offers connections and inspires new ways of thinking. Here’s some advice about which one(s) to pick.
Critical thinking matters for academics, work and relationships. Here’s how to lay the foundations at home.
Read about the hands-on learning opportunities one Prisma high schooler tackled in the Secrets of the Biosphere theme
Creative thinking is the key to problem-solving. Here’s how to foster creativity at home.
Traditional four-year college is only one option. Here’s how to inform your decision.
The Montessori approach focuses on early childhood. Here’s how the popular pedagogical method can lend itself to home-based learning for all ages.
Here’s what parents need to know about the popular social media network.
Here’s what every parent should know about facilitating a routine that works for the whole family.
Hands-on learning benefits all students. Here’s how to incorporate it into your homeschooling.
There’s no evidence to confirm the validity of these popular labels. But here’s how auditory learning strategies can benefit everyone.
Although no studies link these popular labels to academic achievement, here’s how visual learning helps everyone.
Here’s what parents need to know about the free, popular chat app.
Incorporate these reading tips into your routine, and you’ll be on your way to fostering a love of reading in your child.
Ready to Deck the Halls? Here are projects to engage kids of all ages—and tackle your seasonal shopping with DIY keepsakes.
More than just asking questions in the classroom, the Socratic Method helps learners test their own ideas in a real-life context.
Here are some guidelines to help sift through the infinite options.
When students set the conditions of their learning experience, they show more creativity, passion and sticktuitiveness.
With built-in lesson plans, educational tools, and endless problem-solving opportunities, Minecraft: Education Edition can help motivate kids in coding, science, language arts, and more.
Get into the spirit of gratitude with these easy Thanksgiving crafts for kids.
Teach children gratitude and they’ll experience better mental health, well being and social connection.
8 tips to ensure learning disabilities don’t get in the way of building reading skills.
Why does your child dread Mondays? Once you know, take these steps to help them (re)discover their spark.
To stop bullying behavior, educate yourselves and your children.
Bullying is about a power dynamic between peers. To interrupt it, first understand why it happens.
Children’s Mental Health is in Crisis. Here’s How to Help Develop Your Child’s Self-Esteem.
To reach their high potential, twice-exceptional children benefit from a flexible learning environment.
The holiday season is the time to get your hands dirty with these Halloween craft ideas - candy corn optional.
Dyslexic kids often lose their love of learning. Here’s how parents can help them rediscover it.
From bullying to finding a safe bathroom, LGBTQ students navigate a tough landscape at school.
What we know about the relationship between ‘hard fun’ and learning. (Hint: It’s not about playing games in between worksheets.)
Here’s what we mean by ‘success’ at Prisma - and how we use it to help kids thrive.
What parents need to know about socialization in—and out of—the classroom to help your homeschooler thrive.
Child entrepreneurship is trending. Here are three steps to developing an innovative business that stands out from the crowd.
A hands-on approach to develop real-world skills, resiliency and a love of learning — here’s how we practice it at Prisma.
A Shared Name and Diverse Strengths Led Two Bens to Build an AI Writing Business.
When traditional public school isn’t the best option, consider these alternatives.
Five ways parents can help their kids see themselves as a work in progress.
Gifted kids face unique challenges when it comes to burnout. Here’s how parents can help.
For travel-hungry families dreaming of school vacation, there’s much to celebrate about shifts in the way we live, work and educate our children.
To create a customized education for your child takes more than a checklist. This three-stage framework can help you get started.
If you’re homeschool-curious, here’s what 100 families have to say about the biggest advantages and disadvantages of homeschooling.
With homeschooling, the sky’s the limit – and there’s a lot on your plate. Learn about how to make this growing trend work for your family.
Learning how to use the internet safely, smartly, and creatively is one of the most essential skills for success in our hyper-connected world. Prisma learners just wrapped up their Cyber Citizens learning
A live learning platform purpose-built for kids. It's a new, fun and engaging way for kids to learn and collaborate together virtually.
Technology has completely revolutionized how we shop, communicate, entertain ourselves, and even how we work, but no such revolution has happened in education.
We’ve officially wrapped up our first ever fall session at Prisma and are excited to share our learnings and observations with you.
Claire Cummings is one of our new Learning Coaches joining us for Winter Session starting in January 2021. Claire is based in Detroit, Michigan!
In our Meet the Team blog series, you’ll get to read more about the innovative thinkers behind Prisma.Next up is Leena Williams, the Founding Learning Coach for Prisma based in Tampa, Florida.
Starting today, families can apply to join Prisma from anywhere in the USA. Here’s how it will work. You can still apply to any of our five founding cohort hubs (Chicago, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, San Francisco, or Tampa) if you live nearby.
In our Meet the Team blog series, you’ll get to read more about the innovative thinkers behind Prisma. Next up is Emily Veno, one of two founding learning experience designers for Prisma.
Over the past week, as millions of parents have realized that traditional in-person schooling may not be safe or available come September, a new twist on an old phenomenon has emerged.
We're kicking off a "Meet the team" blog series. First up is Kristen Shroff, one of two Founding Learning Experience Designers at Prisma. As a Learning Experience Designer, Kristen has been working on dreaming up the Prisma calendar and schedule, developing the curriculum for Knowledge and Worldview Badges, and hiring our first group of learning coaches.
We're excited to announce the rollout of Prisma cohorts in 5 US cities: San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Tampa and Salt Lake City.
We’re Prisma, and today we’re announcing the world’s first Connected Learning Network, a whole new category in education. We’re not a school in the conventional sense; we’re a locally-rooted, globally connected at-home learning network that gives kids the tools to live their optimal life, starting today.
First-time Poet Wins “Games for Change Student Challenge” with “Poem of PvZ”.