The tipping point: turning good students into great students

February has arrived, and parents are breathing a huge sigh of relief, exams are over, for now. Children are registered and the 2016 academic year has begun.. Routine has established itself, with early rising; treasure hunts for clean school-shirts and finger waving exercises in the morning traffic to ensure the kids are in the school gate before the school bell screams your failure at not making the cut off time.

Now is the time to settle the household. Balancing life, work and extra- murals is no easy task. Yes, the development of our social and soft skills we gain from team work in our sports codes and extra curricula activities does play a vital role in our development as fully rounded, well adjusted, productive and caring contributors to our world,  but we Must prioritise academics.

There is so much value in teaching our children about how to cope with the demands of school, authority, routine, and exams. Isn’t that what we deal with on a daily basis at work? We have to arrive on time; we have projects to complete and deadlines to meet.

How do you cope? Well, you’ve employed life skills and coping strategies which you have learnt through a mentor, if you were lucky enough or through trial and error, invariably the hard way, through life’s knocks and bumps.

Life lessons start in the home. So why not instil some strategies that will help your children  to  manage the demands on their time and reduce daily  stress in their lives and yours!  To get you started, here are a few well tried/worn suggestions; we will only mention a few due to editorial space constraints but will certainly share more in the future.
#1: Breakfast of champions: the most important meal of the day. If you are fortunate enough to be able to provide a solid breakfast before your child goes to school please do so. It will help with concentration and energy levels throughout the day.

#2: Time management and planning: Get Organized. Between homework, tests and extracurricular activities, it is all too easy for things to slip through the cracks. A planner can help your child keep everything organized.  Students should write down assignments, appointments and to-do lists. Ask him or her to review items in the planner at both the beginning and end of the day to stay on track. Learning to allocate and manage time effectively is one of the best recipes for anyone’s success.

#3: Designate a Study Area. Studying in front of the TV won’t be the best use of your son or daughter’s time. Help your child by providing a quiet, well-lit, low-traffic space for study time. Take it one step further and institute a “communications blackout” policy with no cell phones or instant messaging allowed until schoolwork is done.

#4: App tip of the month: Embrace and make technology work for you:
Any.do helps organise your tasks and keeps your academic life together in one place. Students can use the app to capture ideas and to–do lists and to collaborate with fellow classmates. Moms can use it to keep the family projects on track.

This column was contributed by False Bay TVET College. Look out for more study success strategies in People’s Post in the last week of every month or go to www.falsebaycollege.co.za to find out more.