“The Best Help You Can Give Your Child as They Return to School”

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I recently had an interesting conversation with a good friend while we sat on the beach trying to rest and recharge for the start of the school year.  She expressed feeling anxious about her daughter’s junior year class assignments and teachers along with her daughter’s academic engagement.  Earlier that same day, I had read a Wall Street Journal article titled Is Your Child Emotionally Ready for College?

Both the conversation and the article made me consider that all of the trips for school supplies, all of the tips on binders and backpacks, all of the worry about grades and the competition for top tier universities do not change the fact that many students will enter another school year without the roadmap for success or the confidence to try to develop one.

Academic success has multiple components which, I believe, fall into the general categories of academic knowledge and interest, executive function abilities, and emotional strength.  While many articles and studies suggest that more and more parents will buy or do anything to guarantee their child’s school success, the goal of education is that each student has learned how to succeed, fail, redirect, and accomplish the goals that they have set for them self.  They have mastered “learned independence.”

As parents, we all want our children to reach this level of self-awareness, self-advocacy, motivation, and follow through but are uncertain how to best help.  At The StudyPro, we teach that the first step to learned independence is helping students become responsible for their own calendar.  Parents have the ability to remain involved in the journey to learned independence by helping their child become responsible for their personal calendar which should include available after-school time, task priority and completion.

So, purchase your child’s necessary school supplies, answer their questions when they ask for help with academic tasks, but also set a time each Friday or Saturday to sit with them and help them build their calendar for the week.  Make them aware of all appointments that they have or social engagements that they have be asked to attend, ask them to add their schedule their sports, after-school lessons or school activities.  Help them identify the remaining free time and define it as homework time.  Discuss if the remaining time is enough to complete their work and determine what needs to change in the schedule if there isn’t enough time for homework.  Demonstrate that school is the most important task that they have by helping them determine when and how they will produce their best homework.  Help them see that time management is a, possibly the, major contributor to a roadmap to school success.

If you ask Arielle Adams why she wanted to join The StudyPro a year ago, she will tell you that she had seen too many bright students being labeled as lazy and wanted to understand how teachers could better help students learn how to successfully approach the process of school.  She believed that the “growth mindset” and “learning how to learn” philosophy of The StudyPro was something she needed to become a part of.

Now, The StudyPro’s Homework Center Director, Arielle is fine tuning our Homework Center model and enhancing the idea of a consistent, safe space where students can feel comfortable taking chances. Her team’s support allows students to step into the discomfort of “not yet” by practicing new strategies and approaches to their learning.  Arielle’s goals for the Homework Center are that “students understand that there are many different ways to approach learning, that they can use the strategies that work best for them, and if they practice those strategies, they will be successful independent  learners who are confident in their abilities, as well as comfortable asking for help when they need it.”  Arielle has spent the summer developing training for her coaches and acquiring supplies for the students to aid in meeting these goals.

Her lifelong love of learning and passion for helping others experience lightbulb moments in their schoolwork shows in all that she does.  She developed her passion for teaching by helping her sister with chemistry homework when they were teenagers and continues to find passion in helping students recognize their true potential.  We invite everyone to say hello to Arielle the next time that you are at the center and allow her to explain the resources and support that she and her team can offer your children on their journey to learned independence.

Ask Kathy:

We are going to have a spot in our monthly blog to answer your questions about EF.  We will choose the most commonly asked questions to highlight.  If you have questions that we can help with, please email us at [email protected].

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