Procrastinating causes stress and anxiety the night before a test. Cramming the information into one night is not an effective way for your teen to attain knowledge and perform well. Here are some strategies to help them curb procrastination:
1. Plan out your week using a calendar: Before your week begins, look at your availability, as well as your long-term assignments, and map out the small steps that can be accomplished to ease up the workload. For example, maybe you have an essay due in a month and you haven’t started. You could make it a goal to brainstorm ideas this week on a mind map then start your rough draft the next. Coming back to your assignment a few times with fresh eyes helps you see things you may miss when you do it all the night before it’s due.
2. Set aside ‘Homework Time’ each evening: Don’t set aside four hours every night because it’s too long and you’re likely to feel overwhelmed and skip it altogether. Instead, plan for an hour or two (depending on your courses and grade level) each night so you can review and plan rather than play ‘catch-up.’ Also, focus on one subject or task at a time. Swapping between assignments can make you feel stressed and it will take longer to finish.
3. Disconnect and address all distractions: Turn off your cell phone, social media accounts, and TV. Tell your friends and family when you’re going to be working so they don’t disrupt your concentration.
4. Create a realistic and manageable To Do list: Look at each individual task, break them down into small tasks and check them off as you go. Seeing your progress will prompt you to keep going!
5. Start with the most difficult task first: You will know that the hardest part is over and it will motivate you for the rest.
6. Reward yourself! Having something to look forward to at the end of a productive work session is a great motivator.
1) Get to know your child’s teacher(s)
Get to know your child’s teacher on an individual basis. Take the time to develop strong and respectful relationships with each of them. This will pay off down the road whether in resolving potential issues and/or establishing the trust necessary for a collaborative approach to your child’s success.
2) Clean slate
Do not judge your child for their indiscretions last term and give them the chance for a fresh start. Also, if you have more than one child in school, don’t show favouritism. Each child should feel they have an equal chance to learn, grow and shine at home.
3) Set learning goals with your child
Ask your child what they’d like to achieve this semester/school year and create some learning goals together. Make sure to consider all areas of their lives including their academic, social, physical and emotional. It could be anything from: ‘I want to get an A in Math’ to ‘I want to score 3 goals in one hockey game’ or ‘I want to have my first sleepover.’ It’s important to balance all areas of their life so they feel motivated inside and outside of class.
4) Provide structure
It’s important to provide your child with structure every evening. Let your child plan the evening – between when they will complete their chores, when they’ll have free time etc. Create this calendar together at the beginning of the school year and hang it up in the common area. Getting your child involved in planning the weeknight schedules helps them feel empowered. Not to mention, it’s easier to get them to work by reminding them that they created the schedule.
Remember to encourage your child to live a healthy, balanced life full of exercise, nutrition, sleep and friends. A great mental break from technology can really do wonders. Instead try a family board game night or partake in a mindfulness activity (yoga or meditation). Regardless of what you choose to do, remember that it’s important you lead by example and take care of yourself too!
Wishing you a fantastic start to the school year!
The warmer weather is on the horizon (finally!), and mid-term reports have been handed out, which mean that there are only a few more months of school. It’s important your child makes the most of the time they have left before June. Here are some tips to help:
1. Wake Up at the Same Time Each Day – This may a tough one for your teen but waking up at the same time each day can actually improve their quality of sleep and give them more energy through the day. That extra, however little, time in the morning can also be a great time to encourage them to try mindfulness, review the schedule for the day or have a complete breakfast.
2. Take Good Notes – This is a skills that is so incredibly helpful when reviewing and studying for tests. As a teacher for grades 6-8, I have found the Cornell Note-taking System very effective for students. Using columns, it makes it easier for students to record and absorb the information quickly. But, like all educational tools and strategies, one way is not fit for all. So, it’s important to try different note-taking strategies and find the one that works for your child. Have you found a note-taking strategy/tool that works for your child? If so, please share with us in the comments.
3. Do Not Procrastinate – Putting off studying for the test until the night before is never a good idea. Not only does it make for a stressful night the day before the test but it also hinders their ability to retain the material and have a restful night’s sleep. Instead try to encourage your child to review their notes after each class from the beginning of a unit. A quick review of the notes and daily homework completion will ensure they deepen their understanding of the material and feel more confident and prepared for each class.
4. Keep a Balance – School is important but it is only one piece of the puzzle in your child’s life. The best way to achieve success, in school and life, is to have balance. Make sure they don’t overexert themselves with hours upon hours of studying every night. They should also make time to enjoy with family, friends and other activities.
5. Know When to Ask for Help – Encourage your child that if they are struggling it’s okay to ask for help. They can confide in their teacher after class, ask you, or request tutoring. Tutors can help your child identify their learning needs and work with them every step of the way so they feel confident in their abilities as a learner. The first step to success is the belief in themselves that they can do it.
Julie Diamond, OCT
While learning how to manage money may not be a high priority for most teens, teaching this skill should be an essential part of parenting. It’s still not something that is taught in school yet but it will be soon. The province of Ontario is currently testing their pilot projects across 28 high schools which are aimed at changing the grade 10 Careers course to include financial literacy in the fall of 2018. Fortunately, there are also many ways you can teach your child at home. Here are some ideas:
Regardless how you approach this topic, it’s important to start the conversation and get your child comfortable talking about money.
President, Teachers to Go
Exams can be an overwhelming time for students especially if they’ve been struggling throughout the semester. You may not know where to start or how to prepare yourself for the BIG test so here are some tips to help you break things down one step at a time.
However you may prepare yourself for upcoming exams, just try to stay positive and do your best.
As seen on CanadianFamily.ca - http://www.canadianfamily.ca/kids/child/successful-school-year/
The end of summer—and the first few weeks of September—is a stressful time for parents and children. How do you prepare your child for this transition back to school?
Better yet, how do you prepare yourself? Rest assured you’re not alone.
Rebecca Eckler, a working mom of a teen and another child just entering Kindergarten, seems to have a good handle on preparing her children for a new school year. She tells her kids that it takes three weeks to get used to anything new. “I warn my children about that in advance, so they know that if the first couple of days, or couple of weeks, suck, that it takes time.”
However, if your child has anxiety or aversion to school, he/she may need more support with the transition. Toronto District School Board teacher, K.K.Y. Ebanks, who has 19 years of experience, noted that “students with anxiety do not like surprises so try to take the surprise out of what you can and, with what you can’t, try to provide them with coping strategies that will help them deal.” Ebanks suggests contacting your child’s school a week or two before it opens to ask about scheduling a visit so you can take pictures of where their classrooms are along with the washrooms, library, office, gym, etc.
Shane Brett, a parent in Toronto, has tried a number of ways to make sure the first day of school goes smoothly for his children. “At home, we would go through the daily schedule together in a light role play version, talking about where they’ll need to go and how to be prepared for each stage,” Brett says. “For my daughter, that included a trial walk to school in the weeks prior so she felt comfortable with the route and the amount of time she needed to get there.”
As teachers, we get to scope out the school and walk the routes before the first day to ease ourselves into the school year, so I think these are great ideas to help students too.
As for the academics, if your child is in middle or high school and has an Individual Education Plan (IEP), Ebanks suggests that he/she “should be made aware and be well-versed on the contents of their IEP so they are able to be their own advocate at school and remind the teachers what they need in order to be successful.” With class sizes of 30 plus students, and with as many as a quarter or more of them on IEPs, involving your child in their learning will help you, the teacher and your child create a positive learning experience. Being in control over their learning also gives your child more confidence.
However, this method may not work for all students with IEPs as some may be too shy to communicate his/her needs directly to the teacher. So, for parents and/or students who find juggling academics challenging, Eckler feels “getting a tutor for my daughter was one of the best parenting decisions I made.”
Whether it’s to keep your child organized, like Eckler’s daughter, or act as an advocate to ensure your child gets the accommodations he/she needs to be successful in class, a tutor may be the answer for your child to be happier at school and, as a result, both of you at home.
One of the most important steps to a successful school year, Tracy Amacher, the mother of two busy boys who is an educational assistant in Victoria, BC, suggests “having open communication with the school and your child’s educators will benefit everyone.”
It’s also very important that the conversations at home about school should always be positive. Ebanks suggests changing the typical yes/no questions like ‘How was your day at school?’ to more specific questions such as: What made you laugh today? How did you make a difference today? What will you do differently tomorrow that you learned from today? She believes that such specific questions will help your child think more deeply when answering which will also help them with their written and oral skills.
Another teacher in Toronto, Richard Oki, agrees that parents should be positive and confident about school with their children. He also reminds parents that “it’s important to emphasize to their kids that they try their best and not dwell on grades.” While some parents struggle with this different approach to education, many school systems have shifted from highlighting grades to teaching students important life skills such as self- motivation, collaboration, communication, and time management skills.
As for day-to- day management of school life, your child may need your help learning how to maintain a balance between work and play. Learning to appropriately apportion their time is essential. Brett gets his kids involved in creating the plan that achieves that.
“I’ll sit with my kids to review their homework, and ask them to propose the schedule for the night. I’ll help them consider chores, dinner time and other factors.” He thinks this gives them ownership of the schedule so when he tells them it’s homework time, he’s simply reminding them of the plan they created. “It’s harder to get frustrated at an idea you came up with!” Brett notes.
Remember that balance is important for you, too. Your job as a parent is the hardest job you’ll ever have. Your child relies and looks to you for everything, so it’s important that you take care of yourself. How do you prepare for the day? Jenna Srigley’s secret as a working mom of two in Niagara is that she “always wakes up about an hour before my kids to have a shower and get myself ready before waking them up.” She also prefers to prepare the lunches for school and have her kids pick out their clothes the night before.
“If I’m organized and have everything, including myself, ready by the time my kids get up it makes for an easier morning for all of us.” However you decide to prepare your child, and yourself, best of luck for the school year ahead.
Teachers to Go is a tutoring service that matches students with provincially certified teachers. Teachers to Go is now servicing the Greater Toronto Area, Ottawa, Calgary, Vancouver and Victoria. Check out their website www.TeachersToGo.ca or call for more information 1 800 428 8164.
Your child has been working hard all school year and, whether they’ve been making strides in their learning or struggling, it’s important to use the summer months wisely to alleviate the frustration and stress in September. Studies have shown that if children take a break from learning completely over the summer, they could lose months of learning, especially if they were unmotivated during the school year. That’s why it’s a good idea to consider getting a tutor, for as little as once a week, which can provide educational support to keep your child’s mind sharp.