Meet a student & her mom.
They both know that parenting a teen through middle and high school isn’t always easy. And being a teen isn’t always easy, either.
At the A+ Club, we provide academic coaching, mentoring & tutoring in order to help parents of middle & high school and college students track their work, get tutoring and homework help when needed, and engage in the positive processes of goal setting, problem solving, and academic self-advocacy. 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
Parents! If schools were meant for learning, why do we have grades?
In other words, if learning were the goal, wouldn’t every student have to get an A+ before moving on to the next level?
If, when a student gets a D, and it indicates the student met 64% of expectations, is there learning going on at that school? Wouldn’t a 100% grade represent true learning?
As long as there are grades less than an A, the point of schools, then, is not learning.
Worse, not all grades are equal. Does an A in PE represent learning as much as an A in math? They both count the same towards your GPA and both are required. Clearly, learning is not the only thing being measured here. Continue reading
Are you in the “zone”?
Do you thrive when you’re hyper-focused, all else be damned?
Ever gotten so deep into something you missed everything else?
For better or worse, I, too, am an all-in, overly-focused personality. Continue reading
Lots of advice out there, most of it good but not very practical.
Try these steps for simplifying and acting on your goals one bite at a time:
1. Lower your expectations
- Long-term, high goals are rarely acted on.
- In fact, like new year’s resolutions, the bigger the goal the more readily it is dropped or ignored.
- Why? Because when we set expectations that are too high, it becomes easier to accept failure than try something we know we can’t do.
- Avoid abstract goals like “get better grades” and
- Instead focus on the process of getting better grades rather than the grades themselves.
2. Focus on little steps, not big gains
- Create short-term, simple goals that are easier to reach and can be acted on daily.
- Focus on the little, day-to-day things, like
- list out realistically the things you can do today.
- check them off as you go along and you will feel good about them and see your progress.
- Give yourself a chance with little accomplishments rather than burdening yourself with huge expectations.
- Improvement is a process, not a high-jump contest
3. Be aware of why you procrastinate
- Procrastination is about avoiding a responsibility in order to relieve stress over it by saying you’ll do it later.
- Recognize your own tendencies to procrastinate.
- Seek practical solutions and strategies to overcome it.
- We have tons of articles, podcasts, and webinars on procrastination on this website.
- It’s crucial that you understand your own relationship with procrastination.
- Please see our links above and get started on getting started on ending your procrastination!
4. You don’t have to do it all at once: just get started!
- When you assume that you have to do it all at once, you are scaring yourself into not doing it until you have to do it — all at once at the last minute.
- The single most important step in accomplishment is starting.
- You can’t finish what you don’t start
- Don’t expect too much over yourself: instead, just get started.
- This will help you address your little, short-term goals rather than letting your long-term goals scare you away from it all.
5. Ask your teacher a question
- Just asking a question about your work defines it and makes it easier to figure out.
- With a question you are taking a huge first step towards identifying what you need and establishing realistic steps towards completing it.
- Teachers love to be asked questions:
- They will be on your side if you just ask them about it
- Besides, they’re the ones grading you and setting the expectations for you.
- If you can’t ask your teacher, ask a friend.
Notice how each of these five steps are about the same thing: focusing on the little parts of your bigger picture and just getting started on it.
It will all fall into place once you get going.
Good luck, and please let us know if we can help out.
Woulda, coulda, shoulda…
“Could you have done your homework” is a vastly different question than “Should you have done your homework?”
Anger is love?
Parents get angry with children because they are scared. Children get angry with parents because they don’t want to disappoint.
The cause of both is love.
When enforcing parent expectations, we need to remind ourselves of that, for we easily get lost in the emotions of the moment and forget that it’s our love that drives our emotions and not the events that are upsetting us. Continue reading
So if you don’t feel like it now, when will you?
Here’s the problem: your mood won’t match your work, and the less work you do, the less your mood will guide you towards doing your work. The only way you’ll get to it now is through Procrastinator’s Panic, which isn’t the best thing.
Research proves that last minute work is less effective, less thorough, and more stressful than work completed on time and with consistent effort. It comes down to control: if you rely on the “cram” or the last-minute surge, you’re letting the work control you, not the other way around. Continue reading
How to avoid procrastination: building self-awareness & specific steps to avoid procrastination.
You really can do something about procrastination.
If you think you “work best under pressure,” or if you think that “getting it done in the last minute” are good strategies, we beg you to think again. By definition, procrastination is any delay that causes harm. Last-minute work almost always could have been better with planning and earlier start.
These strategies will help: Continue reading
Is it urgent enough yet?
A student of ours mentioned that he couldn’t bring himself to getting some work done over the break, but the night before classes start again, he finally “got the urge” to finish it.
This got me thinking about that word, “urgent.” I never before associated it with an “urge,” which we normally think of as being a kind of desire, as opposed to something of necessity, or of immediate concern, you know, an “urgency.” Continue reading
You know the routine:
“Do you have any homework?” : “No.”
“Really? Nothing?” : “Already did it.”
“But you have a math test tomorrow?” : “Oh, yeah. The other kids weren’t ready, so the teacher put it off for next week.”
When the discussions over homework and grades become two-way traffic on a one-way street, the one complaining and badgering, the other deferring and dodging, it’s no longer a functional, working relationship. And all we’ve got left is anger. Continue reading