There’s this predictable order to churning out good grades in the early part of school–memorize, practice, test. Fill out assignments; hand them in.
Problem is, college doesn’t work like that. LIFE doesn’t work like that. And, increasingly, high school doesn’t even work like that anymore.
There’s this certain something about students that tend to make it–and I’m talking about a well-rounded success. Students who actually find interest in their school years, grab it, and run with it. Who go on to find–or create!–a career path that’s worth it–mind, body, and wallet.
I know because I’ve worked with these students for seven years as I write this. And I’ve seen what it’s like for their counterparts who struggle along without finding that spark.
I also know because it took me until well into college to find it for myself.
It shouldn’t be like this for anyone–and it doesn’t have to be.
What your success-to-be REALLY needs to know
Aside from the nitpicky memorize, practice, and test routine you need to instill an inner power. In fact, I’d argue that this is more important than memorizing facts or any of the rest of it.
1. Find a better way (strategy, resourcefulness, process)
Getting the assignment done and graded will only get you so much. It gets you that one assignment. That’s it!
Unfortunately, the powers-that-be in the school rain down busy work on teachers that lands on our kids. And It leads to a lot of “get it done any way you can.” Ask your parents, check with your classmates, Google it.
Next time you get the “Mom how do I do this,” focus on:
- PROCESS: Where would you start on this problem? What’s the next step?
- RESOURCEFULNESS: What section in your book might cover this topic?
- STRATEGY: How would you set up this problem? How would you outline this writing?
Take out some sticky notes and write one question on each note. (I vote for the bright Post-Its!) Use these as a reminder to show your kid where to look instead of caving in with parts of the answer (no judgement, I still have to bite my tongue).
I could write a separate blog post on each of these pieces–and, you know what? I will! (Watch this space.)
2. Try harder
Sometimes we don’t need a special question. We don’t need to point out where to look next.
Sometimes it comes down to old fashioned hard work.
Make sure your kid appreciates how instances where hard work lead to awesome rewards. If she’s into video games, compare working through all those levels to working through all the levels of this math class. If he’s earned money mowing the lawn to go to the movies, compare getting yard work done to drafting an essay.
Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’ve already laid a strong foundation. And if you’re now buckling down on your kid–don’t be afraid to enlist the (kind) help of a relative you both trust or a Psychologist.
I can tell you that it’s worth it–it’s the difference between a kid who gets massive impact out of learning and a kid who falls behind.
3. Have more fun (find a way to get yourself into it)
This one is my favorite–this is the one thing you can do no matter how much work you’ve put into it before.
If you can get your kid on board with their learning–all the heavy lifting is done.
Take the time to know what they’re exited about.
Give it time, get to know their friends. Become part of their team.
This one is hard for me with my nephew. He’s nine-years-old and I’ve made it to his uncool list. One major breakthrough with him was to lend him my phone to make “YouTube videos.” Ahhh they take up so much space! I sat and listened to his inspired lectures about his favorite vlogs and what he himself wanted to record.
I found what I liked about it.
The more I heard, the more curious I got. Pretty soon we were discussing the technical aspects of vlogging. For another mom, it might have been costuming or engaging a future audience.
This is one of the little things that are huge to him. I did not have to buy him equipment or bribe him with working on his project. The trust came from listening and finding ways for us to both be excited about his work. It came from real relationship building. And it was uncomfortable at first but EASY.
He can trust me enough to listen when I say that math needs to get done so he can do the fun stuff. And because we have better communication, math goes lots better for us when he has to settle for his aunt instead of mom.
Which of these will you work on next?
Finding a better way? Trying harder? Having more fun?
I’m curious, comment below and tell me!