Why is focusing on core skills essential to transforming how your kids “do” school?
Isn’t it better to target specific classes they’re struggling with?
Surely the most important thing in a global pandemic is that they simply “get the work done”?
A lot of teens think that their troubles with school are all about how good or bad they are in certain subjects:
– Struggle in English? “I’m just not a good writer”…
– All A’s in Math? “Math is easy”
– Barely passing Physics/Chemistry/Biology? “I don’t have a science brain”
…or specific things they have to do in school:
– Writing tests…
– Taking notes…
– In-class essays…
…and so on.
I’ve worked with plenty of teens who had these same beliefs, who went from struggling and stressing to just dominating their school work. And here’s the thing:
Every single one of them were able to do this by shifting focus AWAY from specific subjects and towards the core skills they need to succeed in EACH subject and on EVERY task (I’m talking from exam prep and test taking to essay writing and research and everything in between):
– Time management
– Critical thinking
There are other ingredients that accelerate their success, but those are the foundational three.
These are what your kids need to hit their academic goals and become confident, autonomous learners.
Why “learners” and not students? Because student is a role that ends; learner is an identity piece we want to develop in a big way while they’re IN their role as student.
For most students, it takes weeks and months to really start to “get” what time management, critical thinking and strong communication look like in practice. To shift their perspective of themselves from stressed-out student to motivated learner.
1) They wished they’d gotten their kids started on this sooner.
2) They wished they’d been able to do this when they were their kids’ age.
Skills do not magically develop. Not as kids, not as adults. Just because a skill is foundational does not mean it is organic; you have to build that foundation block by block and continue strengthening it as we pile increasingly heavy things on top (i.e more work, more complicated classes, more competing responsibilities etc.).
School, in whatever form it currently takes in your kids’ lives, remains a presence. Whether it’s simply “done” or done well is up to them. Taking this opportunity to tackle their school work using skills that will support them throughout their lives is time incredibly well spent
Whatever your status quo is right now will continue unless you take action. While early high school is the BEST time to set them up for success for the many years of school they have left, “better late than never.”
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