Get Organized for Academic Success - Make it Easier to Complete School
Mar 10, 2011 Study Skills 1861 Views
You can help your child get organized for ease and success on long term school assignments. This will save both you and your child or teen a lot of stress and anxiety. Both in the short run and the long run this effort will be well worth your time.
The first thing to do is to make sure your child gets an early start on long term papers or projects. Here you are overcoming the student's inertia to beginning the project. Your child or teen may have had bad experiences in the past with projects like this one. Maybe she worked hard on the past project, did a spectacular job on it, but turned it in a day late only to lose a letter grade. An even worse possibility is to have the teacher refuse to accept it at all and just say, "Sorry, it's late. You get a zero."
You will need to offer encouragement and regular checking in and reminders so the available time for the project does not just slip away. Be sure there are regular bits of progress and that the whole project is not delayed until the last minute. There will be some real satisfaction of making a plan and then fulfilling on that intention. She will begin to feel success here as the small pieces add up to a completed project.
Past failures often cause some negative feelings about doing this type of project even when the actual project itself might actually be fun and appealing to the student. Her belief is that no matter how brilliant her work, there is sure to be some unexpected snag that will cause this project to be late despite her best efforts. This happens on all her long term projects and the net result is struggle and hassle no matter how much she may enjoy the topic she is working on.
Sure the grades are important but what is often overlooked is the child's emotional response to disappointing not only her teacher and parents, but most of all herself. After all, the last time she turned the paper in late she promised herself she would get started on the next one as soon as it was assigned. She planned to get the next project in on time so she could get the A or A+ she deserved, instead of doing A+ work and getting two lectures on late papers (one from the teacher and one from you.) And then she gets a B or a C on the paper just for being 2 days late!
What a let down after all that work. Every time she asks herself "Why does this keep happening to me?" this rut gets deeper. It is a groove in the mind that gets just a little bit deeper with every repetition.
When the child makes a plan and takes action she gets the experience of "getting it rolling." The initial momentum may be a bit shaky so it is important that she maintain that hard earned forward motion. If you allow the forward motion to slow down or stop with long gaps between activities on the project she will start to get a bad feeling because she will now be forced to repeat much of that hard work of "getting it rolling" all over again. This is tiring, frustrating and wasted effort. And all that work and effort just to get back up to where you were when you started!
Belief that "I will get paid" or "I will succeed" for my efforts not only drives future efforts, it is the mindset critical to motivate and sustain successful action. "I am getting better, I know this will work or I know I can do this," is a mindset that works much better than "I tried and tried and still failed so this probably won't work either." It is important to build early momentum and then to keep it going with regular bits of work which will add up to the final product. This will go far to promote operating in an intentional and organized manner for success in school and fulfillment in life.