Parents and teachers think that if only students would connect their short term decisions to long term goals, such as college and jobs, they would quit procrastinating and do their homework.
That’s why we’re always telling them about how important their future is.
Experience tells us that it’s not a reasonable connection. Kids won’t suddenly start doing their homework because they decided one day to be an astronaut or a sports agent. They do their homework because they think the homework is important unto itself. Or not.
Every Child Wants Success
Students of all levels have high-standards and long term goals for themselves. But just wanting to go to a good college doesn’t get the homework done.
With academic writing or other research projects, student improvement has a single source: drafting. Students will always score a better grade if they don’t hand in a “first draft” to the teacher.
Think of handing in an unrevised paper as “going in blind.” That means that no one else, including the author, has looked it over. A fully revised paper or project is one that has been looked over — and over again, hopefully also by a second pair of eyes – revised, sat upon, and revised again.
The great writer and critic, Evelyn Waugh, advised* : Continue reading
All students are aspirational: they want to do well in school and for their parents. But when they fall off from expectations, the excuses and resistance begin.
Managing a teen student is complicated enough! Now you have to deal with enforcing rules, upping the oversight, and staying on top of a resistant child. Communication breaks off, and things get, well, unhappy.
At the A+ Club, we help students do better in school by engaging them in reflection, problem solving and goal setting — and following up week to week, along with assignments and grades oversight and direct tutoring when needed.
Our system helps students identify what is possible and feel empowered to get there. When kids don’t know what to do or can’t see past the next step, it’s usually because their expectations aren’t aligned with their realities.
Do not “require a fig in winter”
When we adults say, “I want to lose weight” it’s as vague and meaningless — and counter-productive — as when a student starts a new quarter after low grades with, “I’m going to get straight A’s.”
Parents concerned about their teen’s middle and high school exam and test prep might consider that studying isn’t just a matter of reviewing notes and study guides. Successful testing requires ongoing learning.
Here are some strategies for parents to empower their student’s exam prep and overall academic success.
In our series on Successful Assessment: how to prepare for a test (or why doesn’t my child test well?), we are reviewing the essential parts of successful testing:
- No Surprises (identified teacher expectations)
- Student Prepared (successful learning)
- Student had time to finish (successful test execution)
This post regards student preparation. It’s one thing to know what will be on a test (see Part 1: Identifying Expectations) and also to understand it . But can you perform it yourself? Continue reading
One of the most effective strategies to defeat procrastination that we have used with students in our A+ Club academic program is what the procrastination experts call “just getting started.”
As posted in “Beating back procrastination pt 1,” the benefits of “getting started” include:
- Breaking down / overcoming barriers to work
- Identifying needs & concerns
- Identifying time required for task completion
- Makes getting started next time easier
“Getting started” can be so hard. We know that we should get to work on something, but our emotions get in the way because it can seem so big, and so far away, and, well, it’s easier — and makes us feel better for now — to put it off until later. Continue reading
Fight the need to finish now!
Getting started on studying, homework and large assignments means just that: start a little now — and don’t worry about finishing until later.
Cramming is a difficult habit to break. The best technique for breaking the cramming cycle is to “smooth out your workflow” by just “getting started,” whether or not you’ll finish it now.
Yet getting started on homework, studying and tests can be so hard, especially when we pressure ourselves to get it done all at once.
Students who have trouble starting an assignment or project often put it aside for later because they feel they need to finish it once they start. Knowing they can’t possibly finish, they don’t bother to start. Here’s the logic: Continue reading