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Making College Affordable: 5 Tips for Securing Scholarships

College planning can be both exciting and stressful. While students and parents ...

The Best Strategy for Building Strong Student-Teacher Relationships

When I had to move when I was in college, I did what most people do: I asked my ...

Freshman Social Jitters? 5 Tips to Making Friends in College

As August nears its end and a new school year waits around the corner, a certain...

The Best Strategy for Building Strong Student-Teacher Relationships

When I had to move when I was in college, I did what most people do: I asked my friends for help. And, despite the busy lives they lead, they did. (Or, at least, many of them did. That’s right, I’m calling you out, Genevieve...) Now, I didn’t offer to pay my friends, but they helped me anyway. (I mean, I did bribe them with plenty of pizza, but no one volunteers to help you to move just for a few ...

Freshman Social Jitters? 5 Tips to Making Friends in College

As August nears its end and a new school year waits around the corner, a certain segment of students who recently graduated high school are coming to the same realization that I did three years ago: starting college is scary!  Moving to a new place without parents for the first time where you know few people (if any) is understandably intimidating. Add on a host of new responsibilities, like stayi...

Back to Campus: Insights for Parents' Top 5 College Transition Worries

Transitioning to college is always difficult, but for the semester ahead, students and parents alike are more anxious than ever about the upcoming fall. During a year filled with upheaval and uncertainty, college life shifted dramatically, eliminating the traditional college experience many students had anticipated. But this fall, students are likely looking at a more “normal” semester of in-perso...

Helping Your Child Find Fun in Summer Reading

Though summer hopefully has been a time for rest, relaxation, and reset, it’s also perhaps had some required summer reading for your student (whether they’ve started it yet or not...) This type of homework can feel like the antithesis of fun, especially during summer vacation, and your student may feel like putting it off until the last minute. This is often the moment at which summer reading sudd...

Build Your Student’s Self-Worth: 3 Tips to Conquer Imposter Syndrome

If we were to eavesdrop on the inner thoughts of some students, we might hear something like this: "There is no way I belong in this honors-level class with all these geniuses!" "I got into jazz band on a lucky break. Once they hear me play, they'll know I don’t deserve to be here." "Why did I take AP Art? This class is for real artists, not me." Whether it’s in a specific subject area or with one...

Awkward Adolescence: 4 Tips to Help Your Student Master Self-Care

For most of us, simply thinking about our early teen years can quickly produce cringe-worthy memories of awkward social interactions, questionable fashion choices, and hormonal chaos  - all of which feel best left in the corners of our middle school locker. But what can often be equally uncomfortable is the tough landscape of actually parenting adolescent kids. According to our team of Client Serv...

Blank Page Panic? 4 Simple Steps to Write an Essay that Impresses

Does your child start to panic when they get an essay assignment? As coaches, we see this frequently. Writing can be hard for students, especially when they have challenges in Executive Function areas like organization, planning, and task initiation. Here's a useful guide to help your student overcome that hesitation and write a paper they (and their teachers) can feel proud of. Let's dive right i...

Transitioning to College: What I Wish I Knew in High School

Editor's note: This week, we invited Sara Sullivan, a rising senior at Brown University, to share her experience transitioning to college, and the advice that she wished she had known in high school. 

When Perfectionism Paralyzes: 4 Steps to (Actually) Get Writing Done

Put yourself in your student's shoes: You’ve got an essay due in a week, and perhaps you’re not particularly looking forward to it. You set up your study space, turn on your computer, open a blank document, curl your fingers over your keyboard, and…nothing. You’ve got nothing. 

Support for Adults: New Ebook from an Executive Function Expert

I was cruising down the Massachusetts Turnpike, breeze in my hair, with just enough time to arrive a little early for my meeting, when I realized that I was supposed to be heading east, not west. My arrival would not be five minutes early; it would be ten minutes late due to this nasty thing called physics. How did this happen to me, an Executive Function coach? (And, heck, the owner of a company ...

Beyond Rhymes: How Poetry Can Teach Executive Function Skills

If the spoken-word poetry of youth poet Amanda Gorman at Joe Biden’s inauguration made you think, “Hmm, poetry seems a bit more interesting that I thought,” you’re in luck. April is National Poetry Month, and the fact is that not only can poetry be a fun thing to read, write, or hear, it’s also great at promoting Executive Function (EF) skills. In this week's piece, we'll be taking a look at which...

Why You Should Stop Rescuing Your Partner (and what to do instead)

“If I don’t wash the towels, then make up the lunches, then go get ice for the cooler, and pack the car up tonight, we’ll never get out the door and to the beach tomorrow.” This is just the sort of thing my friend Dylan would say as he prepares for Cape Cod traffic in the summer. Usually, I reply with something like: “Could Geoff help you with some of that?” Dylan laughs and rolls his eyes as he r...

Answers to Parents' 5 Biggest Questions (From Student Success Experts)

One benefit of having over 400 coaches at Beyond BookSmart is the ability to gather insights from such a wide field of Executive Function experts. And given how chaotic this past academic year has been, our coaches have become accustomed to answering some of the most pressing concerns that parents have about their kids’ learning. In this week’s article, two of our coaches, Diana Horan and Sarah Va...

Inside a Master's Mind: How Chess Builds Executive Function Skills

2020 was a year filled with discovering (or rediscovering) new activities to keep us occupied in a COVID world: the joy of baking banana bread, learning a new instrument, decluttering long-neglected areas of our homes - and, more recently, the mental workout of playing chess. Thanks to the popular Netflix series “The Queen’s Gambit,” chess has enjoyed a resurgence in popularity. And unlike the ext...

The Best 15-Minute Strategy for Overwhelmed Parents

Ah, the pandemic... Overnight, many of us parents became a nurse, a short-order cook, a guidance counselor, a teacher, and - most of all - a multitasking pro. From worried, sleepless nights to tired workdays, life as a parent in 2020 has been a challenge with seemingly no end in sight. How can we as parents possibly help our children when we are feeling totally overwhelmed?

Executive Functioning Isn’t Just Kid Stuff: A New Resource for Adults

Mia, a curious 6th grader who was into dinosaurs and art class more than anything else, had been working with me for about two months when she finally settled on her organizational system: Triceratops stickers on her math folder, Ankylosaurus stickers on the English folder, and Velociraptor stickers for the social studies folder. Science and art -- her favorite subjects -- were already well-decora...

2 Executive Function Skills to Help Parents Beat Back to School Stress

There are many things people never tell you about parenting. For instance, how many fingernails you’ll clip, or that you may have to tell your son to stop chasing his sister with moldy bread (okay that second one may be a “me” thing)...  However, the one quirk that we all were definitely not told about is that we’d have to parent through a pandemic. As many of us have discovered, there’s no handbo...

Activating Teens with a Summer Project to Build Executive Functioning

This turbulent school year has finally reached its end! But now that summer is here, many of you may be shifting into this new season with some concerns: What will my teen do if they’re not returning to camp? Will my teen be screen-bound for hours on end? Will my teen sleep all day and stay up all night, messing with their circadian rhythm? All of this upcoming downtime provides a host of new chal...

Adulting in 2020: 5 Key Tips for Resilience from a Recent College Grad

We’ve finally reached the halfway point of 2020, and I think I speak for just about everyone in saying that these past 6 months have felt more like 6 years. A global pandemic, widespread economic uncertainty, mass unemployment, and now, historic protests against police brutality and racial injustice in every major US city - all of which have already cemented 2020 as an infamous year in the history...

The Anxious College Student: An Executive Function Connection

College students have plenty of fuel for anxiety. They’re in a social and academic environment that’s significantly different than any that they’re used to. They’re often trying to balance course work with a job - in addition to social and family obligations. And they’re doing all this while also trying to chart out a plan for their entire future (and trying not to think too hard about all the stu...

5 Ways to Bring Peace and Positivity to Homework Battles

Editor’s note: This week, we feature guest blogger Joanna Robin, Ph.D., of Bright Parenting. Please read more about Joanna below.  When kids struggle to do their homework, it can stir up so many emotions in parents. Maybe you were the type of student who got your homework done right away and you didn’t have anxiety about homework—until now, when you see your own child struggling. Or maybe you’re p...

Why You Should Stop Motivating Your Child (and what to do instead)

As parents, we often have high expectations for our kids. We are well aware of the hard work and self-starting attitudes they need that are the cornerstones of success in today’s world.   So, what if you’re not seeing these behaviors and attitudes reflected in your kids? It’s only natural to feel concerned. If your child has trouble staying motivated, organized, and on top of things, they just nee...

A Day in the Life: Parenting a Child with Executive Function Challenges

No matter what the age or disposition of your child, parenting is a tough job. Add Executive Function challenges to the mix and life can go from joy to confusion in a matter of minutes.  If your child has Executive Function challenges, your entire day is a potential minefield of frustrating scenarios — but hold on, your friendly neighborhood Executive Function coach has some solutions for you to r...

4 Tips for Coping With Slow Processing Speed in Children

Editor's note: This week, we feature guest blogger Dr. Ellen Braaten, associate director of The Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds at Massachusetts General Hospital. This is part two of her series on slow processing speed. Read her full bio below.

How Students Can Build Good Habits and Executive Function Skills

Building good habits involves repetition. Lots of it. There’s no easy shortcut, much as we may want a quick fix to anything we are trying to improve: healthful eating, fewer Netflix binges, clutter-free countertops. The same applies to our students. They may want to procrastinate less, get to class on time, or keep their desks organized, but the uncomfortable truth is that making those changes is,...

Academic Coaching Tip: Reflect on Academic Performance

The school bus door closes on another academic year and your child’s report card and teachers’ comments are in hand. Before they get swept aside under bills and junk mail (or before they are neatly filed away), now is the perfect time to carve out some quiet 1:1 time with your child to reflect on his or her academic performance in the past 9+ months of school. In academic coaching, reflection is p...

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