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Homework Battles End Here: 4-Steps to Beat Homework Refusal For Good

Let’s be honest… No student loves homework - and for good reason. When we consid...

Is Online Executive Function Coaching Effective?

If you had asked me in 2006, when Beyond BookSmart was in its infancy as a compa...

4 Coping Skills Teens Need to Build Lifelong Resilience

By the time the semester hits mid-October, college and high-school students are ...

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School Essentials: What You Should Know About Executive Function

New sneakers, fresh binders, and the latest model backpack. Typical must-haves for the first day of school, right? As exciting as it is for the return of “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and all the external trappings that entails, the real key to a great school year lies in the attitudes and habits your student cultivates. In other words, while new Nikes are nice, new skills are better - way...

What Should You Treat First: ADHD or Mental Health Challenges?

Over the last few years, you may have noticed that there are more conversations happening around mental health, and for good reason. Whether it's primarily due to pandemic shifts, the prevalence of technology, or a combination of factors, more people than ever are feeling anxious and depressed. Although the suffering caused by these challenges is difficult to adequately capture (especially for tho...

3 Strategies to Cope with Failure on the Path to Self-Improvement

As Executive Function coaches, we find that many of the people we work with feel disheartened or stressed when they fail to reach their self-improvement goals. After all, when you work to change your habits, you're putting yourself in a vulnerable position where you're trusting that you are capable of making a change. This is why it's often so upsetting, particularly for those with Executive Funct...

A Day in the Life of a College Student with Executive Dysfunction

Picture this: You go from a 6:30am wake-ups 5 days a week to 10:00am ones. You go from six intense hours of learning to a 50-minute class followed by a three hour break. You go from abiding by a curfew to being able to stay up as late as you want. These are the kinds of transitions that college freshman eagerly look forward to (and make all of us wish we were still in college!) But the awesomeness...

Overwhelmed by College? Here's How to Regain Control

The college environment presents greater demands for self-management than most young adults have ever experienced. Add in the fallout from pandemic disruptions and we really do have a perfect storm of circumstances that have left many college students anxious, depressed, and overwhelmed. Why are college students struggling? Consider a few of these scenarios to give you a sense of how different cha...

A Day in the Life of an Elementary Schooler with Executive Function Challenges

Editor's Note: We are bringing back and updating our popular “Day in the Life” series that has been shared and read by thousands since they were published in 2017. We start with a glimpse into the challenges of a late elementary student and see how empathy is a useful starting point to help support them. As an adult, you may think that being a fourth-grader is the easiest life around — no bills to...

When Getting Started is Impossible: 5 Procrastination Hacks that Work

Of all the Executive Function-related challenges we experience, procrastination is most pervasive. Even the most successful students and adults can struggle to initiate a difficult or less-than-exciting task. So what can they do about it?  Plenty, it turns out. This week, we’ll be sharing the 5 best strategies to conquer procrastination, all of which have been tested by our coaches and proven effe...

What College Students Struggle with Most (and what you can do to help)

When you’re struggling with self-management, every day can feel like an uphill battle. Not knowing how to manage time, effort, or emotions - or to organize and plan in order to meet demands, is an exhausting way to live. And although it can feel isolating for those who are struggling, these problems are far more common than most of us might think. 

A Survival Kit for the New Year: Our 21 Best Tips from 2021

Somehow, we’ve reached the final chapter of 2021. It's safe to say that this year was one giant learning experience as we all have tried to adapt to a world that was unrecognizable just two years ago. We've been lucky to have so many brilliant individuals share their wisdom with our community and contribute to this year of learning. Between the dozens of teachers, therapists, professors, coaches, ...

What You Don't Know About 504 Plans

If you’ve worked hard to get your child approved for a 504 plan for their ADHD, there can be a “phew!” moment after all those documents are signed. And while it’s a good move forward in leveling the playing field for your child, it’s really just the first step in a more comprehensive process of supporting your child’s academic performance.  Wait - what? (In case you’re new to the world of 504 plan...

Student Stress: Untangling the Anxiety & Executive Function Connection

Have you noticed that almost everyone seems to be talking about anxiety lately? It may be because mental health, in general, is becoming less stigmatized, but it’s also clear that anxiety is simply becoming more prevalent in our world. This is especially true for students. According to the National Institute of Health, nearly 1 in 3 adolescents aged 13-18 will experience an anxiety disorder - and ...

Why Your Executive Function Challenges May Be Rooted in Perfectionism

Editor's Note: In this week's blog, we invited clinical psychologist, Dr. Eva Benmeleh, to share her unique perspective & expertise on perfectionism - an area that her practice focuses on treating.  --- As a psychologist who specializes in perfectionism, parents often ask me whether or not their children could have ADHD. It may be because their room is a total disaster, or they seem to routine...

Exhausted by the School Year (already)? How to Get Back on Track

The school year that seemed brand new just one month ago is now entering the “routine” phase that tends to make the weeks and months fly by. But before we’re transported to the June finish line, our kids have a lot of school to get through - and now that we’re past the cautious optimism of the first few weeks, you may have noticed that your student’s bright-eyed optimism about the year ahead has a...

Fall Blues? Why 80% of Parents Are Worried (and what to do about it)

Each school year, students begin a new chapter in their educational journey. And historically, this time has been a mixed bag of emotions - some excitement, some sadness (students in particular), and maybe even some mild nerves. But these last two back-to-school seasons have been different.  Starting as early as June, our team began noticing that many parents were expressing heightened worries aro...

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...

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...

4 Tips for The High School to College Transition

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. 

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...

Your Child’s School is Reopening: a RoadMAP for Student Readiness

We can feel the buzz in the air and vibrance in everyone’s step. I’m not talking about spring fever, I’m referring to our hope and excitement as we begin to imagine living in a post-pandemic world. As vaccinations become more widespread, so does everyone’s anticipation for a life resembling what we once had prior to COVID-19.  But will your child be ready?  We will never forget the fear as the pan...

Treating Student Anxiety: 7 Expert Support Tips for Parents

This month, we gathered an expert panel of behavioral science and education professionals to discuss the complex process of treating anxiety in students. Although many of the insights they shared were directed toward practitioners who work with students, we couldn’t help but notice how relevant some of their advice was for parents, too. In this week’s article, we’ll be exploring a few of the best ...

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...

How to Keep Your Kids On Track (Without Being a Helicopter Parent)

Picture this - you just finished your second Zoom meeting of the day. Your daughter is in the kitchen attending school remotely. She is a bright kid, but tends to be get distracted and off track during her remote classes. You walk into the kitchen to refill your coffee, but really your objective is to check in on her. As you walk in, she frantically closes a couple tabs on her computer.

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

The ongoing pandemic has provided infinite opportunities for 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 ...

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

It’s 7:45 on a Thursday night and your son finally gives his eyes a break from the TV just long enough to remember that he has a major essay due for English tomorrow. He might not admit it, but the frantic pacing and backpack digging already reveal everything you need to know - it’s not the first time he’s had a last-minute cramming crisis. Without asking details, you sigh and abandon your own pla...

What High School Juniors Can Do Now to Make Senior Year Less Stressful

Editor’s note: This week, we feature guest blogger Emily Toffelmire, Senior Manager of Educational Counseling for Bright Horizons College Coach. Please read more about Emily below. Senior year of high school can be one of the most memorable and fun times in a young person’s life. But for students who put off all things college-app related until then, that first semester can be a stressful and slee...

When Your Technology Fails: 6 Tips for Calm Solutions

Imagine this - it’s the day of your World History exam. You’ve studied all week and are feeling confident. Your workspace is cleared and ready to go. Five minutes before the start time you attempt to log on to the main classroom page. A screen that says “no internet connection” is staring back at you. No, this can’t be happening! There are only four minutes left until everyone else will be startin...

Did You Ask the Teacher? Supporting Students When They Won't Seek Help

Opportunities for learning are everywhere — both inside and outside of the classroom. As parents, coaches, and teachers, we want our students to be able to take advantage of these opportunities. Part of that objective is to support them to be effective advocates for their own learning. My three-year old son is pretty good at this. If he needs help, he will take my hand and lead me somewhere (to th...

5 Key Components to Successful Online Learning

Online courses can be a wonderful way to learn almost anything—from accounting to zoology. It can help to fill skill gaps, earn credits toward a degree, and contribute to personal enrichment. Many options are low-cost or even free and there is no commute! So, everyone should sign up for online classes, right? Hold on - first consider some of the possible pitfalls before you click to enroll.

Why Does My Child Struggle with Writing? 6 Skills Your Child Needs

Do you have a child who can talk at length on a topic but struggles to get all those great ideas down on paper? Because writing draws upon Executive Function skills such as planning, organizing, time management, attention, working memory, and metacognition — it’s no wonder we Executive Function coaches see many of our students struggle in this area. In fact, writing can feel so difficult that just...

When Anxiety Hurts Academic Performance at College: How Parents Can Help

Editor's note: This week, we feature guest blogger Marcia Morris, M.D., a psychiatrist with 20 years of experience working with college students. Please see her full bio below. If your child is not doing well at college, there could be many reasons why – poor organization, too much partying, challenges with time management – to mention just a few. But did you know that one of the most common cause...

Selecting the Right Support: Tutoring vs. Executive Function Coaching

You’ve reached one of those moments in parenting that you’ve dreaded: For the second quarter in a row, your son Ethan has come home with poor math grades on his report card. You want to get him the help he needs, so you hire a highly recommended tutor named Zak to help him out. Problem solved, right?

The Honeymoon is Over: Help Your Child Get Back On Track in School

It’s the first week in October. We’re ankle-deep into the school year. The new backpacks, so carefully selected in August, already have a fine patina of crud and some crumpled worksheets or permission slips in more than one compartment. The bright eyed optimism of the back-to-school transition begins to morph to a bleary resignation of another tough day of school ahead. Let’s face it. In October, ...

Why Freshman Year Was a Strikeout: Poor Executive Function Skills

In my first year of college I attended a small, private school in southern New Hampshire. My 18-year-old self was thrilled at the prospect of starting this new adventure. This would be my first experience living away from home, fending for myself, and being completely self-reliant. I could not have been more excited! And, as it turns out, I could not have been more ill-prepared...

Why College Students Struggle (Even if High School Was a Breeze)

Millions of college students are on summer break: scooping ice cream to earn a few bucks, sweating out a coveted internship, or just catching up with hometown buddies. And many, many of these students are also having some tough conversations with their parents about their grades. “How can it be,” parents say, “that you were an honor roll student in high school yet you are barely scraping by at col...

Psychological Testing for Your Child: Who Benefits and Why?

It’s not easy having a child who struggles in school. Finding help for your child can be difficult, especially when you aren’t sure what is available in school or exactly what type of help is needed. In Part One of this series, the special education* process was introduced, including who can make a referral (parents, school staff, outside service providers, administrators), what types of difficult...

How to Succeed in School by Partnering With Video Games

Like many other parents during the holiday season, I recently found myself in a store purchasing a video game that I did not wholeheartedly want to buy, but that someone on my list so desperately wanted. The sales counter in this particular store provides a glimpse into the range of emotions this popular pastime generates. There were the eager eyes just high enough to see the exchange of money ove...

Working Memory: Take Note of Your Child’s Challenges

What do these activities have in common? Participating in a lively conversation with one or more people Mentally comparing prices for 2 different brands and sizes of breakfast cereal Taking notes during a lecture If you noticed the spoiler title of this post, you probably said “They all involve using working memory.” But what makes working memory an important factor in executive functioning? As Ex...

Does Your Child Need a Special Education Evaluation?

Special education and the process of school evaluations can be a tricky and confusing experience for parents. It seems like a whole different language- with a ton of new acronyms, frequently discussed legislation, and those stories on the news about the rising incidences of various childhood health problems, it can be hard to understand the process, even while going through it. Whether your child ...

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