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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...

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...

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. 

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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