A Fresh Start – Welcome Back to School!
TIP OF THE MONTH
Time management is essential in all aspects of our lives. The clock is always running, so we must be aware of how long it takes us to accomplish everyday tasks. When it comes to school, students often underestimate the time it will take to adequately prepare for each class, which adds unnecessary stress and results in decreased focus and concentration. Thus, it is important to avoid the pitfall of not allowing enough time for essential tasks. A helpful exercise to grasp the required time for each class is to measure how much time school work takes in the first few weeks. For example, using the timer function on a cellphone, calculate the time it takes your student to read five pages of assigned reading in a textbook while taking notes. Then divide that time by five, and this will give you an estimate for how long each page should take to read and summarize. For classes with less reading and more calculations, time your student completing a sheet of homework, for instance. You can apply this technique to any subject and its associated assignments. Armed with this information, map out the weekly homework and reading assignments in a planner using the average time as a guide.
Additionally, you can motivate your student to get more work done at the beginning of the week so that by Thursday, there may be more time to do something fun outside of school work. It’s an excellent practice to re-evaluate time needed for weekly assignments at the beginning of each semester. No one enjoys feeling overwhelmed at the end of the week with a ton of work left to accomplish, so breaking up studying day by day makes finishing tasks more manageable.
WHAT’S HOT NOW
As students return to the classroom, everyone is hopeful that this school year will be better than the last. Turning those wishes into reality, though, is sometimes a difficult task. Goal-setting is a skill that converts our hopes into something more concrete, especially if we follow the guidelines for S.M.A.R.T. goals. S.M.A.R.T. stands for the following:
Specific – Know exactly what you want to accomplish, and make sure it is clearly defined.
Measurable – You must be able to quantify and precisely track your goal.
Attainable – Make sure the goal is challenging but possible.
Relevant – Ensure the goal is a good fit based on what you want to accomplish.
Timely – Give yourself plenty of time as well as a final deadline.
At the beginning of the school year, it is especially important to reach beyond our comfort zone by setting goals that push us to new heights but remain realistic. The key is to focus on incremental change and to instill a growth mindset in our students rather than a fixed mindset. Just like it sounds, students with a growth mindset believe that academic outcomes can be improved with dedication and hard work. Each challenge encountered is an opportunity to grow and strengthen skills, so students with a growth mindset continue to re-evaluate problems until they come up with a new solution. On the other hand, students who adopt a fixed mindset think that intelligence and academic success are predefined and unchangeable, so they are more likely to give up when a class gets too challenging. This switch in thinking puts control in the hands of the student, which is shown to improve motivation.
Students should set semester goals for each specific subject, not just one broad, generic goal. Each goal should be realistic, yet challenging. For example, setting a goal to “do well in math” is far too wide-ranging and not easily tracked. An appropriate S.M.A.R.T. goal for a Geometry student would be to raise the semester average from a B to a B+ in Geometry through attending a weekly tutorial session with the teacher, putting all homework in the weekly planner, and reworking any missed questions on assessments with a tutor.
Once a goal is in place, monitoring your student’s progress is critical to ensure success. The G.A.M.E. Plan can help students do this. An Academic Independence tutor can help input these goals for each class into G.A.M.E. Plan as well as assist in coming up with ways to track them within the system. Getting started on the right foot by establishing effective S.M.A.R.T. goals will set the tone for the entire school year. To learn more about goal-setting, RSVP to the parent Lunch and Learn here!
To read more about S.M.A.R.T. goals and growth mindset, check out the following links:
HOUSTON BRANCH NEWS
Looking for practical ways to get and stay organized throughout the school year? Academic Independence is offering a free Open House next Saturday, August 25th from 10 AM to 12 PM. Learn some great tips and meet the Academic Independence team! RSVP Here!
Academic Independence will be hosting complimentary quarterly seminars for parents, or as we like to call them Parent Lunch and Learns. We have established themes for each quarter according to the progression of the school year. Our Parent Lunch and Learns will provide further discussion on said themes, as well as tips on how to help our students succeed. Our first theme is A Fresh Start. The first Lunch and Learn will be on September 7th from 12 PM to 1 PM and will focus on how to help your student start the school year with a positive mindset and ready to be successful. Join us!
- In order to share with parents our favorite books related to innovative ideas in education, we are starting our very own Book Club. The first book we will read and discuss is The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. The first meeting will take place on September 21st from 10 AM to 11 AM. Register Here!
- As a way to further support our students during the school year, we are offering quarterly middle school and high school Student Workshops, following our quarterly themes. The first ones will focus on organization and time management skills. Middle School - September 11th (4:00-5:15 p.m.) High School - September 12th (4:30-5:45 p.m.) Sign up here!