Canyon Hills Branch Library, Anaheim Seminars – Fall 2015

Trying to Figure Out Your Highschooler?

Attend these two helpful seminars at Canyon Hills Branch Library, Anaheim for parents of teens and pre-teens, but also beneficial to educators and teens alike! Presented by Karyn Rashoff, author of the award-winning book “Parents in Highschooland: Helping Students Succeed in the Critical Years.”

Karyn Rashoff, author, high school guidance counselor, and an educator with 33 years of experience, will identify specific behaviors for school success. Ms. Rashoff will share tips, tricks, anecdotes and true stories of examples to help your child succeed in school.

Part 1: Help Your Highschooler Succeed
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
6:30 – 7:45 pm

Part 2: More Help: Share Your Successes
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
6:30 – 7:45 pm

Canyon Hills Branch Library, AnaheimCanyon Hills Branch Library
400 Scout Trail
Anaheim, CA 92807

Click here to read/print a flyer of the seminars.

Ms. Rashoff’s book will be available for sale after the program.

“This book should not only be required reading for parents with kids in high school, it should be required reading for every parent before their kids start school.” – San Francisco Book Review

Any person with a disability who requires an accommodation to participate in a program should direct such request to the Library, either in person or by telephone at 714.765.6444 at least 72 hours before the scheduled event.

Dr. Phil and Parents in Highschooland

Karyn Rashoff’s book “Parents in Highschooland” has been likened to Dr. Phil’s books.

Dr. PhilDr. Phil and parents McGraw, perhaps the most well-known mental health professional in the world, uses the power of television to tell compelling stories about real people with a wide range of emotional and behavioral problems, stripping away the shame and embarrassment that often keep people from seeking help.

Many viewers, for the first time in their lives, develop an understanding of problems experienced by their families and themselves and, in the comfort of their homes, experience the hope and possibility of change. His unique dedication to families and children is legend to the millions of people around the world who watch his show and read his books.

Dr. Phil and Parents:
If you like Parents in Highschooland, you might like some of Dr. Phil’s books –

  • Family First: Your Step-by-Step Plan for Creating a Phenomenal Family
  • Life Strategies: Doing What Works, Doing What Matters
  • Life Code: The New Rules for Winning in the Real World

Visit Dr. Phil’s website to learn more.

Study Skills Survey


Do you set aside a specific time for studying each course you are taking? ___ Yes     ___ No

Do you usually study in the same place every day? ___ Yes ___ No

When you study, do you take a break every 30 to 45 minutes? ___ Yes ___ No

Do you know your best time of day to study? ___ Yes ___ No

Do you turn class assignments in on time? ___ Yes ___ No

Do you organize all your materials before going to bed? ___ Yes ___ No

Do you keep a record of your grades? ___ Yes ___ No

Is your notebook organized by subject and kept neat? ___ Yes ___ No

If you are having academic problems, do you ask for help? ___ Yes ___ No

Do you take notes from your reading assignments using key words and phrases? (Hint: the words and phrases in BOLD in your text are important!) ___ Yes ___ No

Do you review class material on a regular basis? ___ Yes ___ No

Do you use more than one method while studying? ___ Yes ___ No

What would you like to see happen?


Have you helped your teen create a regular place to study that is free of distractions?
___ Yes ___ No

Do you keep an eye on your teen’s study schedule and daily planner? ___ Yes ___ No

Does your teen stay on task and use time efficiently? ___ Yes ___ No

Do you help your teen review for tests? ___ Yes ___ No

Do you check to see that all study and homework jobs are neat, complete and organized for school the next day?  ___ Yes     ___ No

Do you regularly discuss school progress with your teen without nagging? ___ Yes ___ No

Do you attend Back to School Nights and Open Houses to meet teachers and learn important information about class and homework? ___ Yes ___ No

Do you regularly check online grades and look at teachers’ websites? ___ Yes ___ No

Do you genuinely praise your teen when you see hard work or improvement? ___ Yes ___ No

Do you offer support or help in terms of getting a tutor? ___ Yes ___ No

What would you like to see happen?

Study Skills SurveyClick here to read, download and/or print a PDF file.

Article in OC Family Magazine by Kelly St. John Regier

Retired counselor and author has sage advice for parents of teens

By Kelly St. John Regier, OC Family Magazine, February 2015

[Click to read the digitized version, then go to February 2015 issue, page 56 OR read the full article below.]

OC Family Magazine

Feb. 2015 issue, pages 56 – 58.

Karyn Rashoff figures that she has held nearly 20,000 counseling sessions with high school students, parents, teachers and administrators during her 33 years as a guidance counselor.

After she retired in 2012 from her last post – 20 years as a counselor at El Toro High School – the Irvine resident decided to share what she has learned about navigating the homework wars, college admissions process and other power struggles that often flare up between teenagers and their parents.

The result is a book titled, Parents in Highschooland: Helping Students Succeed in the Critical Years (available as an e-book on Amazon for $4.95 and in paperback) which is filled with “real life” stories and concrete advice Rashoff collected from dozens of school officials, teachers, parents and teenagers.

It’s almost like having a group of experienced friends gathered in a living room to tell the reader what they wish they had known when they were navigating the tumultuous high school years.

“I think of it almost like a recipe box,” says Rashoff. “I tried to write is as a nuts and bolts approach, so parents can pick and choose what to use.”

The desire to write Parents in Highschooland came to Rashoff in part as a response to common themes she encountered during her decades in education.

“High school students are not just learning subject matter, but also life skills. I felt that some parents were at a loss about how to help their teen get ready for life after high school,” she says, noting that learning to be on time for class and turning in work on time will help them succeed in school and the ventures that follow.

“One trend I’ve seen is parents who are turning over the responsibility for raising their child over to the school,” she says. She described one conference for a freshman who wasn’t doing well in school. The parents’ response was akin to “He’s in high school now so he needs to handle it on his own.” That, she says, is a big mistake.

“Don’t back off,” she advises parents. Instead, monitor your kids, whether getting to know their friends or keeping an eye on their grades online. Also, try to stay tender and attentive, even when they try your patience.

“Tell your kids you love them all the time. Then when you correct them, it comes from a platform of love, not power,” she says.

As for talking with your teens about school, she suggests parents try to keep it business-like as a way to keep a teen’s often heated emotions in check.

Ask your child, “What is it you need me to do to help you with school?” she advises. Then, listen to the answer.

But that doesn’t mean to make excuses for them when they miss assignments or shirk responsibilities. “When you make excuses for your kid, you are turning your kid into a victim,” she says.

Rashoff, mother to a 25-year-old son who graduated from Woodbridge High School and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, does not hold back from sharing some of her own parenting regrets either.

“Here’s a tip I had to learn the hard way with my own son,” she writes in Highschooland. “When you’re in conflict with your child over school, take one deep breath and give yourself time to remember that we humans tend to do the opposite of what we’re told if it’s repeated enough times to annoy us.”

“I regret nagging him,” Rashoff says. A better approach to getting teens to handle challenges is to help them make a plan and support them as they work out their concerns or problems, she says.

Rashoff also urges parents to think twice about taking away an activity a child loves as a punishment for grades.

“Don’t put restrictions on something your child wants that benefits his education, such as his wanting to buy books, join clubs or participate in sports. This kind of interest is a signal to you that your child is excited about something, and every instance of excitement of this sort is a learning opportunity for both of you,” she writes.

After all, Rashoff says, the research shows that the more extracurricular school related activities teens do, the better their grades are. She thinks that is because they feel more invested in their school and education.

Rashoff hold firm beliefs about setting your child up for success with homework.

“One of my big pieces of advice is to take your kids’ cell phone while they’re doing homework,” she says. “Tell them, ‘I’ll protect you from yourself.’ They have so many more distractions than we did in our day.”

She suggests that instead of doing homework behind a closed bedroom door, have your teens do their homework in an open place like the dining room table. (But don’t hover over them, she insists.) If they struggle with time management, use a timer to break work down into manageable 20-minute chunk of time, with breaks in between.

When it comes to planning for college, Rashoff has other tips for parents. First is to help your child research and learn about colleges.

“Early on, even if your kids are younger, take them to a college campus so they can decide ‘This is cool. I want to be here.’” She says. The summer between freshman and sophomore years is often a good time to visit colleges, which offer free tours to families, she says.

If your student in interested in a particular school, you can fins the college freshman profile for that school, which give the make-up of the class, including average SAT scores and GPAs.

“Then your teen knows, ‘That’s what I have to shoot for,’” she says.

Students should take advantage of the free college-planning resources offered by their high school guidance counseling office before they consider pricey private counseling, Rashoff says.

That said, for families who can afford it, an SAT prep course is usually a good investment, she notes.

So what did Rashoff learn from the families who seemed to have mastered the parent-teen dynamic?

“The families who had it together had parents who held their children responsible and accountable, not in a mean way, but a businesslike way,” she says. “There’s so much parents can do to support their kids.”

Karyn Rashoff leads parenting workshops based on Highschooland, including one that will be held in March at Irvine Valley College. For more information, go online to

What PARENTS Need to Do for Math Success

TIP SHEET #9: What Parents Need to Do for Math Success

It’s a team effort: math homework is math practice.

  • Read the material from the teacher of each class your teen is in. At the start of each school year, a ton of information comes home in binders and backpacks. Say: “What did you bring home that I should read?” Read it carefully, even though your teen may not offer it to you.
  • Parents are instrumental for success in math – without even tackling the subject matter. Poor performance in a math class is usually not related to not understanding math. Not practicing with homework assignments or not correctly practicing for tests is more likely the problem.
  • Ask to see their work every night. If you make it policy in your house for the math book and work to come home every night, you get a good grip on the amount and quality of math work. You won’t have to deal with: “We don’t have any homework tonight,” or “I forgot my book.”
  • Don’t try to teach your teen the way you did it in school. Math teachers today are very picky about the process, the steps, and doing it their own way. Teens get frustrated and want to quit if you impose your old-school math learning on them.
  • Consider a grade book at home to keep track of grades and points. Let your teen be in charge of this, and don’t hover. Match your log with the online grades from the teacher. This is a visual tool you can both see, and a sense of accomplishment grows as grades come in.
  • If you have questions about how things are coming along, don’t hesitate to email the teacher. Phone calls are less effective, as the teacher is in front of students all day and can’t get to the phone. Email is much better.
  • Take time with your teen every evening at the beginning of the school year, and you’ll pave the way for better grades and self-confidence in the future.

Click here to read/print a PDF file version of this post.

What TEENS Need to Do for Math Success

TIP SHEET #8: What Teens Need to Do for Math Success

Classroom success begins long before you walk through the classroom door!

  • Ask the teacher questions in class or at tutorial. Ask as soon as you have one, and don’t wait until you get home.
  • Take your math book and homework home every day even if you’ve finished all of your homework. Here is why:
    1. to show your parents that you’ve completed the work and have them quickly check it
    2. to do a 5-minute review (practice) of the work you already did.
  •  If you have time at the end of class, start your math homework right away – don’t just shut the book to chat with friends and wait to start at home.
    Here is why:
    1. if you’re having trouble, you can ask the teacher right away
    2. starting work in class begins the important practice of making it stick.
  • Use the teacher’s format and show all of your work.
    Here is why: if you make a mistake in the process of steps, the teacher (and you) can see where you didn’t understand. Showing all of your work isn’t about cheating; it’s about discovering a mistake and correcting it in the process of steps.
  • Look in the book for help. Get in the habit of looking backward into the section just taught if you need help. Your mind is a wonderful resource if it knows how to use a book as a teaching tool.
  • Copy down the bold words and their definitions to make flash cards. Important words and concepts in the book are bold to help you learn.
    Here is why: this will impress your parents and make them happy!
  • Every night before bed, check your backpack to make sure you have paper, your books, homework and pencils. Put all of your school stuff in front of the door you’re going to walk out of in the morning. Check your printer to make sure there’s nothing left in it.

Click here to read/print a PDF file version of this post.

Help Your Teen Get Organized For School

TIP SHEET #7: Help Your Teen Get Organized For School

When parents reinforce organizational skills at home, they become habits that increase a teen’s effectiveness across the board. A home environment free of distractions and interruptions greatly boosts your teen’s efficiency. Parents play a critical role in creating this tone to help their teens.


  • Keep a neat notebook with school papers separated by class with notes, tests, handouts and homework.
  • Take paper, pens and pencils to school each day. (Use a zipper pocket.)
  • Write down homework assignments and their due dates in your planner.
  • Ask the teacher questions before leaving class.
  • Bring all books and materials home for study and homework.
  • Sit at a comfortable desk or table with good lighting, pens, pencils, paper, and other materials. (Don’t study on the bed or couch.)
  • Study with a partner, if appropriate, for languages or reviewing for tests and quizzes.
  • After studying, put all materials together to take to school the next morning.
  • Look online at grades from teachers every few days.
  • Before going to bed, put all school stuff by the door so you have to trip over it going out the door.


  • Toss papers randomly into books and notebooks.
  • Leave homework at school.
  • Try to study in a cluttered or noisy area.
  • Interrupt your study time with texts or phone calls.
  • Scribble homework on scratch paper or rely on your memory.
  • Listen to loud music or TV while studying.
  • Go to bed without organizing your school stuff for the next day.

Click here to read/print a PDF file version of this post.

What Seniors Say They Wish They Knew When They Started High School

TIP SHEET #6: What Seniors Say They Wish They Knew When They Started High School


  • Freshman classes and grades count for college admission.
  • “D” grades count for high school credit but NOT for college admission.
  • A’s and B’s are generally necessary for continuation in the college prep sequence throughout high school.
  • Your freshman year is critical for success in classes the next three years.


  • All “F” grades in required subjects must be made up in order to graduate.
  • Always complete and turn in all homework. Zeros on homework will pull down “A” and “B” grades on tests.
  • Study an average of half-hour for each class every night – whether you have homework or not.
  • Your number one job as a teen is to be a student.
  • Don’t miss class or fall behind on assignments.
  • Sit near the front of the class if you’re having trouble.
  • Students involved in some type of extra curricular activity – on campus or off campus – do better in school.
  • Keep an accurate record of assignments and deadlines in your planner.
  • It’s your responsibility to check with the teacher about missed assignments if you’ve been out sick.
  • A 2.0 GPA is required to be eligible for school extra-curricular activities.
  • Once you get behind, it’s very tough to catch up.
  • Teachers generally don’t allow students to take tests over, turn assignments in late for half credit, or do extra credit work.

Click here to read/print a PDF file version of this post.

Words from a Successful College Sophomore

TIP SHEET #5: Words from a Successful College Sophomore

1. My family’s expectations were clear. “There was never really any other option discussed. It was just completely normal to talk about going to college.”

2. Distractions at home were minimized. “My mom would organize our time, and we’d read a lot. We had a simple structure when we came home from school: grab a snack and do homework. A couple of chores, then we could do whatever we wanted for the night.”

3. We were treated, not rewarded.  “My parents would treat us to things for a good report card, but it wasn’t consistent. The rewards, if you called them that, were sporadic and not planned at all. It wasn’t for the grades but to help us meet their expectations.”

4. Get a peer tutor.   “I’d highly recommend getting a tutor if you need help; it’s nothing to be embarrassed about. I had one for science and math the all the way through my last three years, and that little extra study time and personal attention made it easier. My parents used bright students who were a year or two ahead of me, and they paid them.”

5. No emotion allowed. “My parents knew I’d need a Plan to figure out what I didn’t understand. My mom helped by giving me options and ideas, and we came up with a Plan for me to talk to my teachers, get a tutor and extend my home study time. It was very business-like. I’d have to write out my Plan each time there was a bump in the road. Annoying but helpful.”

6. Practice your balancing act. “I learned how to be organized in high school and how to manage my time, especially because I was in sports. I’m beginning now to see the more adult payoff of that program, The Plan. My younger sisters watched me endure and develop, so there’s even a payoff for them.”

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