My child’s school has a few different homework platforms and systems.

How do we handle the different platforms and systems that my child has to monitor?

The answer depends on your child’s brain. To give you a few ideas: If your child has solid executive functioning, then your child can routinize checking all of the homework platforms and systems each day before they begin to work.

  • You can assist them by recording the names of each system on a visible notecard.

  • Then, bookmark each portal and the digital calendar they will use on their computer.

  • Finally, set up ONE calendar for your child to use (not multiple calendars) – this is where all to dos and deadlines are recorded. This should ideally sync to their phones. Reminders and alarms can be set to alert.

If your child has weak executive functioning, the goal is to give them tools and approaches to check homework portals, monitor various systems, and make plans.

  • However, the student will need to learn these using strengths in cognition (verbal, visual, with an understanding of concrete vs. abstract reasoning abilities).

  • They will also benefit from seeing a model of how the process works, hand holding them to do it with assistance and then providing accountability to use the system independently. (I do, we do, you do)

My child is in high school and is taking FOREVER to do his work. It is a source of stress for us all because he is up late, not sleeping enough, and overworked. He is not able to join us for family meals, and he quit sports this term due to the amount of work. How can we help him?

Overworking is a real issue facing our teenagers today. Each course they take: English, history, science, math, languages, arts, technology, have learning work in the classroom as well as once the students leave and go home.

When students are in a rigorous environment, or one that is above their learning threshold*, students find themselves constantly in a burning learn cycle*. This causes them to experience pain as they complete homework and studying tasks. The habits become ingrained without a skill reset*.

Often, the cause of over working has to do with three root causes:

  1. The “independent tasks” are not independent. The content may need reteaching, further research or more active learning experience BEFORE the student can complete it.

  2. Executive functioning is weak. Students who struggle with getting started (initiation), planning and organization, focused attention, working memory, and flexible thinking will struggle to get work done.

  3. Motivation or connection to the work. Adults who are in best-fit careers  often forget what it is like to spend hours on learning concepts and skills that are dis-connective to a human’s interests or desires. It requires goal setting, creative thinking and partnership with teachers and students to overcome a boring class.

What can YOU do to help your child?

Partner with an Evolved Education Tutor who can assess the root cause of your child’s challenge with overworking. Have them teach skills to help the student to do less work. These skills could be any of the following (depending on the root cause).

  1. Previewing content (can help to make complex tasks easier by providing more time for students to learn them).

  2. Re-teaching content (can provide a different way to access the learning – if the teacher is lecturing and the tutor can offer hands on learning, this can help).

  3. Build initiation and “jump in” – just get ONE task done before looking at the full scope of work to be done. Accomplish ONE task with intense focus. Often this needs coaching and doing with someone to hold hands and then provide accountability until the skill is strong.

  4. Use ONE calendar (could be you child’s school homework portal) for planning. Place to dos on the calendar – avoid having a separate list like to do.

  5. Strengthen focused attention using the Pomodoro Technique.

  6. Build working memory by holding work in hand and then using it – or support working memory by writing post-its to hold key processes and concepts. Use mapping (graphic organizing) to study content.

  7. Use flexible thinking to adjust your approach and change what you are doing to meet the expectations of each teacher and course. Use mapping (graphic organizing) to SEE possible outcomes.

  8. Have students create a “motivation” visual. Be sure they understand their overall “school fuel” and give them plenty of time to be in situations that inspire them and where they can demonstrate natural development and human connection.

*words are created by me and are defined as follows: 

Learning Threshold – the area of your learning where you are still acquiring new concepts and skills, but they are not overwhelming in newness or volume. It is the point where the learning is JUST RIGHT – not too frustrating, but not too independent. Teachers would call this a students “instructional level.”

Burning Learning Cycle – just picture a burning wheel. This is the image that comes to mind when students are stuck in a process that harms them. They might be procrastinating and not getting to work. They might be staying up late and doing all work by using cortisol and other stress hormones and energy. They might be studying and learning in a way that does not match their brain. Over time, the scar tissue forms and it is hard to release from the experience. A better approach is for students to learn about their brains early on and develop healthy work habits early on. Students who are in the burning learning cycle often need help to get out of it. Sometimes, they need a lot of hand holding to see a new potential.

Skill Reset – this is a process we use within academic coaching to allow unhealthy or ill-matched skills to die and new, better fit skills to emerge. We re-teach ways to study, notetake, absorb classroom content, write papers, understand math, actively read, organize papers, etc. When new skills are taught they benefit from the release of old ones. This process is what we call a “skill reset”.