By: Ann Wilson, The Village Tutors
Even the most organized and focused students are beginning to struggle, despite some having hybrid schedules and others even attending school full-time. Anxiety is on the rise and grades seem to be dropping. Here are some tips to overcome these out-of-control feelings and wobbly grades:
But I’m so tired! After a day of Zoom learning, having to do homework feels like too much to handle. Before you start, get outside! This is a great time to go for a walk with the dog, run and errand, or go for a run. Clear your head and then come back and get started.
Here’s something to remember: every time you are distracted, it takes seven minutes to regain the focus you had before that interruption. Plan on doing your homework in 20-30-minute chunks, with planned breaks in between completed assignments to check your phone or chat with a friend.
Or better yet, work with a friend! This is a great way to use technology. Find a friend who is in some of your same classes, and do your homework together online or on Facetime. Take turns reading the textbook pages, discuss the answers to study guide questions, even do the math homework together. This is not cheating, this is collaborating, and a lot of people learn better if they can talk it through. Just make sure your homework buddy is someone who is as concerned about his/her grades as you are. The idea is to motivate each other, not take each other off task.
What if it’s too late? Is there a class that is just too far gone to rescue? Is the grade simply not going to be what you want it to be, no matter what you do? Accept it. Cut your losses and forgive yourself. This is a first-time situation for the whole world! Your future will not be ruined by one bad grade or even one bad semester. Do your best to improve your habits, and if you are moving in the right direction, be proud of yourself. Every day is new day, and you can always make the next day a better one than the day before You just have to choose to do it.
What should Mom and Dad do? Try and reduce expectations. If you are less alarmed at students’ little (or big) failures, they will be to. Accept setbacks and try and be positive. Ask, “what can I do to help you?” Maybe a favorite snack, a cup of tea in the morning, or a family walk at lunchtime would make this whole new reality easier to accept. On the weekend when there is less pressure, ask what might help make the next week a better one. Is there a better location in the house for learning? Is the light good, the chair comfortable, and the desk or table big enough?
For the expectations you do have, make them clear: no missed assignments is a great starting point. Kids need to know that the basic expectation is that they will do their work. If anything is missing at the end of the week, it should be completed before recreation is allowed. If kids are way way way behind already, then make a schedule for finishing the late work, check it off when it is done, and make sure nothing current gets added to that late list.
Are there rewards that could make the work week more tolerable? Like a special dinner on Friday night, the chance to see a friend, or extra time on video games? Even a trip to the store sometimes feels like a treat: “Woohoo it’s Friday!” is a feeling we can all relate to!
And finally, let’s enjoy the holidays and take comfort in the fact that the semester is nearly over. 😊