We’ve all been there; it’s just before bedtime and your child remembers that they have a huge project due tomorrow. As you rush around trying to build a diorama or create a poster that outlines the lifecycle of a butterfly, it may be time to take a look at the bigger picture. Organization and study skills are not innate, they are learned and if you want to avoid homework emergencies, you need to impart the skills that will help your students throughout their academic career.
What are Executive Skills?
In order to be successful, each student must have a set of skills that include organization, time-management, prioritization, task-initiation and sustained attention. These skills are called executive skills and are invaluable for academics.
Most teachers don’t have time to teach executive skills and most tutors focus on what your child is missing out in their knowledge base or on concepts they have failed to grasp instead of teaching the requisite organizational and study skills.
Consequences of Poor Executive Skills
Without executive skills, homework emergencies will be just the tip of the iceberg. Poor time management will mean that your child doesn’t leave enough time for homework or studying and often forgets textbooks and assignments. As their workload increases with every passing grade, these issues will result in missed assignments, not studying for tests, procrastinating on projects, and the inability to develop good plans for accomplishing all of their goals.
How you can Help
Teaching executive skills is of paramount importance to Tutor Doctor Tutors who want students to become independent learners. They have created the Academic Game Plan to help students to study smarter, not harder. Here’s how they go about it:
Write it down: Students must have a way of recording upcoming tasks, assignments and exams. They must get into the habit of recording these in class when the teacher creates the assignment. Get a diary where your student can record these tasks and color code them to show which have greater priority.
Time management: Get your students to map out their days with time for extra mural activities, exercise, relaxation and family time. This will give them a better idea of when to start tasks so that they have plenty of time to complete them before they are due.
Develop techniques for estimating how much time is required to accomplish their tasks so that the student can be sure that they allocate enough time to each task. Use old assignments and study schedules as guidelines. Teach students to break up daunting tasks into more manageable sub-tasks to avoid procrastination.
Schedule it: Students must check their schedules daily to ensure that they are on track and are aware of all the upcoming events, tests and assignments. They need to say no to social engagements and screen time when they should be studying or doing homework. They should learn to do this independently so that you don’t become the homework police.
Be accountable: Students should be accountable for their time and work or they will leave it to you to implement their schedules. This may require you to revoke privileges or allow them to face the consequences at school of not handing in assignments on time.