As the holiday season comes to a close students began to make the trek back to school. This is a daunting task for many to undertake, as many students realize that the second-half of the school year lies right before them. As educators it becomes a difficult task to "reel" the student body back into the academic groove. The parent population also faces struggles getting their children off to school without some form of struggle from time-to-time.
The second-half of the school year brings mid-terms, finals, athletics, musicals, SAT's, PSSA's and Keystone exams, not to mention to the standard homework assignments and tests. Many students are also involved in athletics and other extracurricular school/civic functions as well. So how does the student manage all of these tasks and activities? As adults we have difficulties managing busy schedules, therefore we must try to see the struggles that are children face on a daily basis.
To try and pinpoint where the problem may lie within these hectic and over-stimulated schedules would be an enormous undertaking to say the least. We can only try to adapt and overcome by better time management skills. The art of prioritizing comes into play as well. Most young people are not that skilled in prioritizing and rightfully so.
An excellent place to begin is initiating a student planner that is only used for school related functions. Too many times there is overlap with school activities and social activities. The student planner must become the Holy Grail. All of the other extracurricular activities must depend on the satisfactory completion of the academic duties. This is easier said than done. It can become a very slippery slope for many.
I am a lover of athletics just as much as the next person, but as parents and educators we must be realistic with our children/students that the almighty textbook will pay larger dividends in the future. All other extracurricular activities that surround academics must be in second place. We live in a very tough and competitive society and economy that requires intelligent and well -rounded individuals to succeed. It is our duty to guide our future generation down the correct path.
Along with the use of the student planner the student must look to their parents or teachers for solid advice that helps them prioritize. Most individuals learn from their peers. Be honest and realistic with them (students). Another item that can be implemented is a homework/study log. This is an excellent exercise to perform to examine just how much academic time is being utilized during the course of the week.
I have also had students and myself list everything that needs to be accomplished in one week. This is a difficult exercise because you have to prioritize and make everything fit into its place. You may be surprised that it won't fit and you may wonder how you have been getting through each week like with such confusion. This exercise can be compared to a personal budget. An exercise like this should be performed with a parent's guidance for clarity and realism.
As you can see the task of time management can be stressful and overwhelming. It may take a couple of weeks to refine the "time budget." Don't become frustrated with the process. Just like anything it will take tweaking and adjustment. The most important task at hand is knowing that you are getting onto the correct path. In the next article I am going to focus on the safety of your child at their academic institution and how we as parents and educators can give them the tools they need to face real life situations.