Difficult Topics, Elementary School, Great for All Ages, High School, Middle School, Motivating the Unmotivated, School Advice, The Happy Student Podcast

#51: Turning Around a Tough Year (Updated!)

Sometimes the start of the school year just doesn’t go your way. You missed some things the teacher said; you weren’t organized; you misbehaved; whatever. There are lots of reasons the school year might have started out poorly. The good news is that it doesn’t have to stay that way. The New Year is a great opportunity to turn around a challenging school year! To ease us back into the year, Fireborn’s got a quick four tips to make the rest of the year brighter at school.

CHECK OUT THE EPISODE BELOW: 

[smart_podcast_player]

IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT…

Four tips to make the rest of the year brighter at school:

Find that motivation

The first step is to make sure they are motivated to turn the school year around.

There are three components of motivation:

  • Autonomy: We want to be in control.
  • Mastery: We want to be good and get better at something.
  • Purpose: We want to do things that matter.

To help your kids find that internal motivation, help them set goals that matter to them academically. Let them choose what their goal is (autonomy). Set up a plan for success so that they get some small wins quickly (mastery). Ask your child why they chose this goal and talk about its importance (purpose).

Finding that motivation can be really tough, especially when it may seem like everything at school is just going terribly – at least, that’s how your kid feels. Trying to find a goal may be tough because they may simply just be too beat down by the system right now. If you are worried this is happening to your kid, well – the first thing to do is to think if they are truly depressed or need some professional help.

Another thing to think about is getting them excited about something at school. There are lots of potential goals that can help motivate your kids. Maybe an academic goal shouldn’t be the first priority because if your kid is having trouble socially and doesn’t want to go to school in the first place, going from a C to a B in English probably won’t help that. Maybe it should be finding an extracurricular activity that excites your kid. Having something to look forward to at the end of the day can help them get through school more happily (and maybe help them focus in class).

Get your child’s friends and family (maybe even his teacher!) on board.

Change is hard. Having a strong support system will help. Therefore, encourage your children to talk to their friends about their new goal and maybe even their teacher. Saying the goal aloud increases accountability because friends will ask how it’s going, plus they are there to help if they fall off track.

Find a tutor.

No matter what is causing the difficult year, find someone who can dedicate their time to helping your kids succeed in that area.

Work on developing your child’s grit and growth mindset!

Adjusting their mindset to think this way will help them feel comfortable asking for help and trying harder. Dr. Caren Baruch-Feldman wrote an excellent workbook for teens, The Grit Guide for Teens, to help them adjust their mindset, build their grit, and achieve their goals. Working through the activities in this book will also help develop that motivation (tip #1) to turn the year around!

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this episode! Comment below or send us an email!

HERE’S HOW TO SUBSCRIBE & REVIEW

Want to be the first to know when a new episode is released? Click here to subscribe to The Happy Student on iTunes!

Podcast reviews are important to iTunes and the more reviews we can receive, the more likely we will be able to get our podcast and important messages in front of more parents! I would greatly appreciate if you clicked here and left a review letting me know your thoughts on this episode!

School Advice, Study Tips, The Happy Student Podcast

#93: Study that Vocab!

Vocabulary studying is the worst. Learn Fireborn’s technique for making vocabulary studying more interesting and effective!

CHECK OUT THE EPISODE BELOW: 

[smart_podcast_player]

IN THIS EPISODE, YOU’LL HEAR ABOUT…

Here’s a more interesting way to help your kid study for those vocab tests:

Start with a blank PowerPoint presentation.

  • The first time you do this with your kid, you can make the PowerPoint to show them how it’s done. Then next time, they can make it with your help. And then hopefully by the next time or maybe the time after that, they are doing it on their own.

At the top of the first slide in the “Title” section, write the first vocabulary word.

  • If your kid knows the meaning already, then you actually don’t need this slide at all.

Look up the meaning online.

  • Don’t type the definition of the word yet!

Do a safe Google Image search of the vocabulary word.

  • Pick a picture that represents the word. The funnier the picture the better.

Copy and paste that image into the presentation on a new slide.

  • Be sure to cover up the sentence that has the vocabulary word, if it appears in the picture.

Write a sentence using the vocabulary word on a different slide.

  • The funnier the sentence the better because humor makes the information easier to remember.

At the bottom of a new slide, write the definition of the word.

Then you want to add animation to the slide so that when the slide opens, it’s just the vocabulary word.

  • Then when you click once it shows you the photo. When you click again, it shows you the silly sentence. When you click again, it shows you the definition.
  • This way when your kid goes through the slides they have a few opportunities to guess the meaning of the word. Maybe they know it immediately just seeing the word and then they can click through to the next slide. Or maybe they need a little help, so they look at the picture to see if that jogs their memory. If not, then they get a little more help with the sentence. And if not, then they get the definition again to remind them.

Make as many slides as vocabulary words.

Go through it together once to practice.

  • See how much information your child has already retained.

Then take a break!

  • That was a lot of work already and your kid’s brain needs time to rest and reflect on all of that hard work.

After a little break and maybe doing some other work, your child can go back and go through the slides over and over until they know all of the words by heart. Of course, they should take breaks if they get overwhelmed and tired and need a break.

This strategy gives your child a lot of time to engage with and really understand the word even before they start testing themselves. They have to understand the word enough to find a photo and to write a sentence. These give their brains extra connections to use to remember the definition later, which helps in really retaining the information quickly and for even longer than just the next day of the test. The more you engage with the information, the more you really understand it and can use it later, which is what we really want for our kids.

WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS?

I would love to hear your thoughts on this episode! Comment below or send us an email!

HERE’S HOW TO SUBSCRIBE & REVIEW

Want to be the first to know when a new episode is released? Click here to subscribe to The Happy Student on iTunes!

Podcast reviews are important to iTunes and the more reviews we can receive, the more likely we will be able to get our podcast and important messages in front of more parents! I would greatly appreciate if you clicked here and left a review letting me know your thoughts on this episode!