As the school year picks up its pace and many students begin to feel overwhelmed with homework, research papers, exams and for some SAT preparations, we as parents, teachers and coaches try to assist these young men and women in finding an equilibrium for their academic success.
Life for many young people is rather complicated and fragmented when it comes to juggling their academics, athletics, civic groups, social life and family time.
As adults we face these day-to-day struggles, but with many years of experience under our belts to guide us. However, we must take a brief moment to ask ourselves if we as parents are implementing solid-structured support systems for our children.
It is extremely evident that today's standards for academic success have been elevated to a new height.
College admissions - which involve grade-point averages, SAT and ACT scores - have placed an unprecedented stress on our students. Students commonly state that it is extremely difficult to complete homework, study for exams, play sports and have a social life that involves friends and family.
So how do we as parents intervene without making our sons and-or daughters feel coddled? It is important to realize that what works for one student may not work for another. There is no textbook answer and there is no perfect scenario.
The first thing we must do is to take a real hard look at just how busy our child is on a daily basis.
Determine what is necessary in relation to academics and sports, then calculate in free time and family time. It is crucial to physically write out a detailed daily schedule and look to see if there is too much unaccounted for time periods.
To your surprise, you will find that there will be an imbalance in scheduling for the most part. It is essential that you incorporate your son or daughter in this exercise. Decide on homework times, study times and free time. Issue your child a daily planner and periodically monitor it for completeness.
Prioritizing is a must! You should sit down with your son or daughter every day after school and have them report to you their daily assigned homework, and what they have completed thus far for the evening.
Try to avoid homework starting times after 8 p.m. and encourage the use of travel time to and from scholastic sporting events as an opportunity to complete schoolwork and studying.
I always recommend one evening or day during the week that is left "academically free." This may be a Friday night and Saturday.
Everyone needs a break from the rigor of their hectic schedules. There are many students who choose to work while in school. I don't recommend this unless the student is performing well in his or her classes and is working an appropriate amount of hours.
Working is a great way for our youth to gain confidence, develop communication skills and become more responsible, but the truth is that working does not fit into every student's life.
This essential and beginning step of planning-out your child's day-week is critical in the on-going process of academic success.
Remember to be patient and to give sufficient amounts of independence, but always be in the know, and ask key questions about their planning and daily events. This is a basis for all parents to start with.
Cordell is the owner of Excell Tutoring Services, 1020 Arthur Road, Montoursville. He may be reached at 506-9998 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The next article in this series will be published Nov. 28 and will focus on study skill techniques and schoolwork management.