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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...

4 Life Skills For Teens That Help Them Do Anything

We’ll start this essential topic with a little pop quiz. How would you complete this statement? When my kid starts living on their own, I worry that they won’t be able to ____________. Chances are, your answers were pretty similar to what we hear from the thousands of parents we talk to every year. Perhaps you listed numerous concerns like making their own medical appointments, remembering to do t...

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...

A Day in the Life of a High Schooler with Executive Dysfunction

Living with executive dysfunction makes life infinitely more difficult - especially for high schoolers. For the first time in their lives, struggling to manage time, stay organized, resist procrastination, and study effectively all begin to have meaningful consequences. Even so, it's also the perfect time to build these skills before their demands ramp up in college and the working world. Today, w...

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...

Making College Affordable: 5 Tips for Securing Scholarships

College planning can be both exciting and stressful. While students and parents celebrate this new stage and its milestones, for many, one question looms large: “Can we get help paying for this?” The answer to this question is, most often, yes. There are many sources of funding available other than student loans. The five tips below can help simplify your search by offering strategies for planning...

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...

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...

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...

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...

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 ...

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...

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...

How Establishing Routines Helps Students Cope with the Pandemic

Predictability. Just the word itself provokes a sense of calm. Unfortunately, the world we live in at the moment is probably going to be the most unpredictable we have and will ever experience and none of it is in our control. We have a choice to allow this fact to overwhelm us or we can focus on what we can control. What can we do to make our personal worlds more calm, stable, and enjoyable?  

Gaining Calm by Organizing: How to Clear Your Space & Mind

We are living in an unprecedented time. As easy as it is to become overwhelmed amidst the chaos, there are things we can do to take control of the world around us in order to bring about a sense of security and calm. One of the most effective steps we can take to do this is by first getting a grip on our organizational skills. With so many of us being stuck at home, this may present the perfect op...

5 Survival Tips for Working From Home With Kids

Being a working parent is a difficult job - especially when you have a 4th grade son with ADHD and a 4-year old daughter with more stamina than the Energizer Bunny. Now with COVID-19 forcing many parents to work from home, the fragile balance between our career responsibilities and duties as parents has been destabilized, transforming one difficult job into two seemingly impossible ones.

The Anxious, Stressed High School Student: An Executive Function Link

Adults don’t always think of high school as the “real world,” but for students navigating that stage of life, the stress is entirely real. The academic obligations start to get more challenging and the social expectations feel more intense — just when students are beginning to add college and career decisions into the mix that will affect the rest of their lives. While that is a lot to handle, som...

Why Smart Kids Can Struggle in School

The first part of the school year is almost in the record books, and already you see the writing on the wall. Your bright, funny, curious child brought home a backpack crammed with crumpled worksheets, last week’s hummus snack, and teacher comments that were less than stellar. You know she can do better. Her teachers know she can do better. Your child wants to do well - but is at a loss as to how....

The Life-Changing Magic of Going Analog in a Digital World

Everything these days seems to be going digital. Apps for this, websites for that, Google Home or Alexa taking up residence in our living rooms. It can be helpful for planning and keeping track of our busy lives, but can also a bit overwhelming and distracting. For those of us who prefer paper and pen as opposed to a digital calendar, using a day planner can be one of the keys to success. While pr...

How to Feel Less Overwhelmed During Final Exams

Recently, a college freshman (who happens to be our founder’s daughter, Jenna) shared with us her detailed plan to get through the first finals period of her college career. What do you notice as you look at this plan? To start, if you’re a parent, maybe you’re whispering a fervent “Thank goodness I’m done with school!” as you look at the work ahead of this student. Maybe as you look closer, you n...

Help Your Child Organize Those Papers: Genius Scan to the Rescue!

Is your child’s backpack and locker a mysterious black hole, from which no permission slip or study guide ever resurfaces? Does your child risk keeling over from the weight of all of the papers they lug around daily? If you’re like many parents I know, you’d welcome a solution to managing the avalanche of paper that overwhelms many students by this time in the school year. Well, here’s my holiday ...

How to Help Your Child Get Organized

At this point in the school year, students and parents have often (mostly) overcome the initial back to school transition glitches. The class schedule is starting to feel more automatic, you know the teachers’ names, and thoughts turn more readily to fall and winter holidays than the wistful memories of sunny beach outings. Yet, as soon as you think things have settled down, life gets chaotic all ...

How to Organize an Essay: 3 Graphic Organizers for Young Writers

Have you ever listened to your child lament, “I just can’t think of what to write”? Perhaps you have heard your child utter, in the mode of a 19th century Romantic poet, “I’m waiting for inspiration.”   As a parent, you may find yourself thinking, “My child is smart and articulate, so why are writing assignments so stressful?”

Helping Forgetful Kids: The Case of the Mislaid Novel

  “Mom, where’s my backpack?” “Mom, I can’t find my favorite shirt!” “Mom, can you help me re-attach my head? It fell off again.” Chances are, you’ve heard variations on the first two statements, and have probably imagined the third at some point. (Of course, if you’ve actually heard #3 above, you may be reading the wrong blog. Just sayin’...) Our adult lives are hectic. There are always places to...

Getting Organized: Minimizing Clutter In 4 Easy Steps

Clutter, now that school is underway, has had a chance to take hold and start growing at a rapid rate. I’ve been a diligent clutter buster for years. In fact, my husband once bought me a magnet that reads “Organized People Are Too Lazy to Look for Things”, in a playfully teasing nod to my tidy ways. (Maybe you can guess why I need to continue my diligence on the home front.)  Whether at home or wi...

Planning and Prioritizing: A Moving Story from an Executive Function Coach

On August 17th I walked away from the closing table with a single key in my hand that had “41” written in marker on the keychain.  This item would let me into my new home, my FIRST home ever.  And with that realization, I began to panic. I spend the majority of my career working with students on their Executive Functioning as it relates to academic success. I often share with students the ways in ...

Academic Coaching in Action: Transforming Disorganized Students

As academic coaches, our goal is to teach students how to study and to provide them with tools, strategies and Executive Function support. This particular story is not necessarily one that happens with every student, but it demonstrates the power of coaching combined with a student who is open and willing to learning new ways to manage to their academic demands. As the old proverb goes..."Give a m...

Executive Functions 101: Organizing a Messy Desk

Katie is an exuberant 4th grader with enormous creativity, boundless energy, and a school desk that gives chaos a bad name. You may have witnessed your child's messy school desk firsthand. When you show up at school on Parent Night, you know immediately where your child’s desk is without looking at the construction paper name tags scotch-taped on carefully by the teacher. The bulging folders, the ...

Executive Functions Make the Grade

Projects and essays and tests, oh my! Previously we looked at 5 red flag statements that could signal difficulties with your child's Executive Functions, or self-management skills. Maybe they sounded familiar to you. Having coached hundreds of students with Executive Functioning challenges, we've heard a wide variety of statements that set off our coaching alarms. Some of the most commonly heard s...

An Executive Function Coaching Success Story

"If you're trying to achieve, there will be roadblocks. I've had them; everybody has had them. But obstacles don't have to stop you. If you run into a wall, don't turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it." - Michael Jordan

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