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Study Skills

How to Survive Remote Learning

The 2020-2021 school year has officially kicked off for many students.  Here in Texas several schools began school this week, with just about all of them offering a remote-only option.  My school is one of them, and we had a very successful first day. As other schools begin the reopening process, it is apparent that remote learning will be with us in some capacity for the foreseeable future.  As discussed in my previous post, remote learning offers students safety measures during this pandemic; however, it also presents some challenges even for the most conscientious student. I wanted to share with [...]

Test Taking Tips for Final Exams

Only 2 weeks of school to go!  But before we dismiss for the winter break, many students must endure and conquer fall final exams.  While final exams are essentially non-existent for elementary students, many middle-school and almost all high-school students must prepare for these major exams.  But preparing is only half the battle.  How can a student effectively take the exam once the preparation is over?  Here are my top test taking tips for final exams. Make sure you have the correct exam. This may seem obvious, but I’ve seen students discover they have been taking the wrong final exam [...]

The Best Subject to Review This Summer is…

  With record high temperatures for this time of year in Austin already occurring, it’s clear that summer is just around the corner.  Final exams are underway, and pretty soon students will be free for the summer.  While it’s important for students to take a mental break after a grueling 9-month academic tour de force, it’s also beneficial for students to continue developing their academic skills over the summer. The balance between doing too much and doing nothing over the summer can be tricky.  Trying to fit academic activities in along with summer camps, vacations, community service, and just plain-old [...]

End of School Year Checklist

The calendar just turned to May, and that means school is in the homestretch.  However, before we start planning long days by the pool or days spent at fun summer camps, there is still a lot of work to do. Many of us still have quite a bit of school work and assignments left.  With final exams coming up for many students, there are still many points left out there to boost your grades.  So as we count down the days to that very last one, here is a checklist to keep you on the right track for academic success. [...]

Do Private Schools Offer 504 Programs?

  I meet with countless families who are looking for guidance on which schools offer the best support for their students with diagnosed learning differences or ADHD. At public schools, students with diagnosed learning differences qualify for either 504 or Special Education, depending on their needs. Private schools, however, are not beholden to the same regulations and are therefore allowed to do whatever they want. I am fortunate to work at a private school that provides, in my opinion, the best support program in Austin. One of my colleagues and good friends Renee Blanchard has run it for the past [...]

Back to School Tips for Parents

Wow, how is it already the end of July?! Summer sure does fly by fast. Hopefully your child has kept busy with some good summer activities that let him enjoy some time off but also keep his mind and body sharp. For those of us living in Texas, the school year seems to start much earlier than other places. Usually by mid-August students are preparing for their first day back. Today I want to talk to you, parents, about what you can do now to help ensure a smooth first day back for your student and set him up for [...]

Why You Should Take AP Classes Next Year

Advanced Placement, or “AP”, courses have been around for many years. Originally introduced in the 1950s to offer high school students a chance to earn college credit, College Board, which runs the AP exams, now offers 35 courses at the AP level, with a few more in development for the coming years. AP courses are intended to prepare student to take the AP exam at the end of the year. These courses hold students to the same academic standards they would find in courses at colleges and universities. In fact, College Board has published their own research indicating that students [...]

Academic Resolutions

Academic Resolutions Goodbye 2015, and Hello 2016! I’m not usually one to make New Year’s resolutions, but for students I think it’s a good time to think about some academic resolutions you can implement for the next 12 months. Don’t stress about trying to make too many changes; just pick a couple and see how they work for you. 1.  Read a book every month I know students get plenty of reading assigned to them throughout the school year, but I want them to find a book they truly want to read outside of school. My list of spring break [...]

10 Steps To Ace Final Exams

How to Ace Final Exams  For most students final exams are right around the corner. While most of us think of finals as the most stressful part of the school year, I like to think of it as the best opportunity of the school year. Typically final exams represent anywhere from 15-25% of your total grade for the semester. That means you can significantly increase your final grade with a strong performance on your final exam. So how can you ensure success on these test? Let’s look at some strategies to help you ace your finals. 1.  Keep it in [...]

How to Motivate a Reluctant Student

Motivating a Reluctant Student One of the biggest challenges we face is motivating students who are not necessarily motivated to begin with. There are numerous theories on motivation in the educational psychology realm. One of my favorites that I think helps explain the difficulty with motivation is intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation. Understanding these two types of motivation can give good insight into your student’s troubles. Intrinsic Motivation Intrinsic motivation is the motivation that drives us to do things simply because we want to do them or enjoy the process. Taking a walk on a gorgeous Sunday morning, playing basketball with [...]

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