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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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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 consider the full school day, extracurriculars, and various social components that are all part of a typical school week, it’s no wonder why students want to relax and recharge when they finally get home. However, part of growing up is learning to roll up our sleeves and do those essential things we might not want to do - an...

Failure to Launch: How to Nudge Your Young Adult Toward Independence

Although parents have many responsibilities, the greatest one of all is to equip our kids with the skills they need to grow into successful, independent, and happy adults. However, when we find that our kids’ transition into adulthood isn’t happening the way we hoped, that responsibility can suddenly become a terrible burden. Whether it’s around the end of high school, during college, or some time...

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 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...

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, ...

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...

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. 

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...

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...

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...

Distance Learning for Fall: Helping Students with Learning Differences

It seems like just yesterday parents across the country breathed a huge sigh of relief that the challenges of remote learning were over and summer was finally here. Now, summer is winding down, the new school year peeks around the corner, and uncertainty seems like the only sure thing. Schools are preparing for a variety of scenarios as the fall semester is rapidly approaching and many are opting ...

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?  

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...

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 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...

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....

Time Management Tip: The Unschedule

Whenever I am working with someone on creating a schedule, I always get asked the same question, “Should I add activities that are not related to school or work?” My answer is always a resounding, “Absolutely!”

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...

A Day in the Life of a 10th Grader with Executive Function Challenges

Morning Mad Dash: 6:57 AM - Scrambling Out the Door Olivia has to catch the bus at 7:30, and she likes to sleep in until 6:45 … and maybe hit the snooze button one or two times after that. That leaves her about half an hour to madly dash about the house eating breakfast, choosing an outfit, brushing her teeth, packing her lunch, changing after reconsidering her outfit, texting her friends, returni...

How to Manage a Busy Schedule: The Planning Power of Shared Calendars

My sister is going to visit my parents this weekend; maybe I should plan to do the same. My dog has a vet appointment next week at the same time that my fiancé has a meeting; I guess I’ll be on my own with doggy duty. There’s a Red Sox home game at the same time as my field hockey game near Fenway on Monday; I’ll need to leave pretty early to get there. Am I blessed with clairvoyance? Well, almost...

How Can Students Learn Better Time Management Skills?

It takes me three minutes to fill my car with gas. I can empty the dishwasher in six. Mowing the lawn, on the other hand, takes an hour and ten minutes. Each of these facts may seem overly specific and insignificant, but knowing exactly how long these tasks, and others like them, will take helps me plan and manage my time. This leads to well-planned, low-stress days and optimal emotional regulatio...

Planning for Test Prep Success: SAT, ACT, AP, Oh My!

Editor's note: This week, we welcome guest blogger Ben Sexton, founder of Sexton Test Prep and Tutoring, located in Wellesley, MA. Please read his complete bio below.

5 Strategies to Conquer the Pitfalls of Procrastination

  Procrastination is an age-old struggle, dating to well before the clichéd advice of Benjamin Franklin: “Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today.” And while none of us can refute that Ben was a pretty smart guy, I, myself, have always found it easier to identify with Gone With the Wind heroine Scarlett O’Hara, as she laments “I can’t think about that right now. If I do, I’ll go crazy. ...

Can Executive Function Coaching Improve Relationships?

Over the winter break a friend of mine tells me about one of his coworkers, and his story sounds something like this: “I had an important work meeting last month that was scheduled to begin at 9am, sharp. At 9:03 I start pacing a bit because Jackson, my colleague who’s supposed to be presenting with me, hasn’t shown up yet. He texts me at 9:06 saying “running late. start w/o me.” So, I just dive r...

Homework Help: Plan Your Study Breaks

We’ve all been there. A mountain of homework sits in front of your child. He’s feeling overwhelmed. You’re feeling anxious. It seems like he’s barely into the first row of problems on that math worksheet when he asserts his urgent desire to take a break. Before you know it, homework time stretches into dinner time and family time and bedtime. And nobody is having a good time. You're looking for ho...

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...

Mommy Brain: From Good Executive Functioning To Goo

According to the urban dictionary, “mommy brain” is “the phenomenon known to mothers where their brains become useless piles of goo after being around their children for too long.” In my world, the useless pile of goo is what remains of my once perfect ability to plan and prioritize, manage my time, sustain attention, and regulate my emotions. In short, my children have devoured my Executive Funct...

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