Spring Fever: Overcoming Low Motivation and Missed Assignments

Overcoming Low Motivation and Missed Assignments

Spring is in the air. Flowers are blooming, birds are chirping…and students are losing all motivation at the end of a long school year! If your child is losing track of assignments or forgetting to do them in the first place, you’re not alone. In fact, we’re having parents left and right ask us how they can get their kids over the finish line.

In this blog, we’re going to look at why spring fever is at an all-time high this year. (Of course, it’s not a surprise after the year we’ve had, but the last reason might really surprise you.) Then we’re going to share a simple solution you can use to get your child back on track without causing any more tension in your relationship. 

5 Reasons Spring Fever Is at an All-Time High

Every year, we see students struggle to stay organized and on track as the weather warms and summer vacation comes into view. And whether or not a child has good grades typically has very little to do with it. That’s because missed assignments and low motivation are more often rooted in executive functioning challenges than academic struggles. 

Let’s look at five reasons spring fever is at an all-time high this year:

  1. Virtual Learning Burnout – Kids (and their parents) are just plain “zoomed” out. After more than a year of virtual learning and little to no in-person contact with teachers, many students feel unmotivated.
  2. Isolation and Grief – We’ve lost a lot this year. Some students have lost loved ones to COVID-19. All students have been grieving their previously normal social lives. It’s a lot to manage as a young child.
  3. Mental Health Challenges – Depression and anxiety are at an all-time high in young people. This can make it hard for even the best and brightest students to stay motivated and complete assignments.
  4. Distractions at Home – Whether it’s siblings on their own Zoom calls or the draw of their favorite video game, there are a lot of distractions at home that don’t exist in the traditional classroom. This puts kids’ executive functioning skills to the test in a very challenging way.
  5. Executive Functioning Weaknesses – Executive functioning refers to the soft skills required to manage time, organize assignments, track progress, and so on. These skills don’t come naturally to most students, but they can be taught and learned. No matter how strong of a student your child may be, executive functioning becomes more important with each passing year (and into adulthood!) as the demands of school increase.

We don’t want to gloss over how overwhelming and difficult this list feels. Parenting is never easy, but parenting isolated kids in a pandemic is an especially heavy burden. If your child is struggling with mental health or isolation, we don’t want to over-simplify the solution. He or she may need extra help from a caring professional.

But if your child mostly is doing well but simply can’t seem to stay organized and keeps forgetting assignments – strengthening their executive functioning skills can go a long way. That’s where our simple “one thing” solution can come in handy.

The “One Thing” Solution

As an adult, when you have a lot on your mind, you probably create a to-do list. Whether you have a favorite app or simply scribble notes-to-self on a napkin, to-do lists are the go-to solution for many adults. They’re not, however, the best option for a student with spring fever. When kids are facing the challenges outlined above, a to-do list can feel more overwhelming than helpful.

That’s why we recommend the “one thing” solution instead. We simply ask kids, “What’s the one subject that’s most important to you right now?” Then we can say, “Ok, looking at that one subject, what’s the one assignment that, if you completed it, your grade would improve and you’d feel a whole lot better?”

For most kids, taking this “one thing” approach feels far more doable than a laundry list of items to check off. And it can be applied to many different responsibilities. For example, many students find the college application process to be intimidating. You can break it down by asking, “Looking at the common app, what’s the one thing that, if we got this done, you’d feel very accomplished this week?”

Identifying and completing one valuable task can give students a feeling of accomplishment and build a sense of momentum that carries them through other tasks, too. For kids who feel tired and overwhelmed, this “one thing” approach gives a sense of control and relief while still helping them tackle some tasks.

Make Strides This Summer

Have you ever had your car battery die in a parking lot? Oftentimes, you get someone to kickstart your car so you can get to your next destination, but you still may need a new battery to keep your car running into the future. The “one thing” solution is kind of like a kickstart. It can help you get your child across the finish line of this long year, but they may need more support to strengthen their executive functioning skills.

Right now, many schools and teachers are more lax about kids completing assignments because they understand how trying this year has been. In the fall, however, we expect standards to raise once more and kids who struggle with executive functioning may find the transition difficult—unless they prepare over the summer.

No matter how strong your child’s grades are, they need to master executive functioning. If they struggle with organization, time management, and self-motivation, this summer is the ideal time to improve without all the pressure of normal schoolwork. Better executive functioning skills will not only serve them well next year but for the rest of their lives.

We offer executive functioning coaching all summer for all ages. As always, we’ll cater each one-on-one tutoring session to your child. If they have summer assignments, we can use those as a framework for practicing important skills. If not, we’ll create fun science projects with them as a no-stress way to learn those skills. Either way, we make it fun and easy for your child to make strides this summer. 

To learn more about how our summer programs can help your family, click here or schedule a free consultation with us here. We’re here for you!

Is Your Child Ready for Next Year?

Summer Learning Solutions at Educational Connections

It’s a difficult time to be a parent of a K-12 student. From virtual learning to online tests and even virtual college campus tours, you’ve been there through it all and it’s almost the time you have been waiting for: summer. However, it’s hard to ignore the feeling that your kids may not be ready for the next school year.

On one hand, kids have just walked through a highly and extremely challenging year with little or no face-to-face time with teachers. Many are falling behind where they need to be and will affect the rest of their educational journey.

On the other hand, kids (and parents!) are just plain burned out. You’ve done all the homeschool hacks, the Zoom classes, the virtual events, and you desperately want a break from it all. We get that too and we hear you. This past school year has not been easy for anyone.

Learn About Summer Learning Solutions

We feel the tension, too, so we’re taking a very intentional approach to our summer tutoring programs. Each program will be fun and engaging for “zoomed-out” kids, low-key and stress-free for overworked parents, and completely personalized to meet your child right where they are.

Read more to discover three ways we’re here to serve your family this summer, or click below to get started with a free consultation.

Schedule a Free Consultation

 #1: We Can Assess Where Your Child Is

It is almost impossible to know with complete confidence where your child stands academically at this point. Maybe they had no one-on-one time with a teacher all year or couldn’t focus during zoom classes. Maybe their school relaxed the grading system and you’re not exactly sure what they’ve mastered.

Whatever the case, we’re offering assessments to help you know with full confidence how ready your child is for next year. Once we measure where your child stands, a tutor can work one-on-one with them to fill any gaps in their learning and boost their confidence in challenging subjects. It’s a simple, stress-free way to identify where your child is and get them where they need to be.

#2: We Can Handle the “Review and Preview”

After a long year of making sure they were on every video call and completing every virtual assignment, take a few months to simply enjoy your child again. Let us handle the necessary work of reviewing last year’s standards and previewing next year’s material. 

For younger students, we offer subject tutors to help them catch up and regain confidence. For older students, we have writing coaches, AP tutors, and college application coaches to help your high schooler conquer the big “next steps” between here and college.

#3: We Can Boost Their Executive Functioning Skills

Executive functioning refers to the softer skills kids need to learn in order to succeed in school and life. Think organization, time management, and task prioritization. Summer is the perfect time to practice those skills, and we make sure kids have fun doing it!

If your child has summer assignments, we can build their executive functioning toolkit around completing those. (Giving you one less thing to worry about!) If not, we can help your child dream up some creative science projects to practice breaking down big tasks, tracking their progress, and meeting deadlines—all while discovering that learning really can be fun!

Support for Every Student

This is not the summer for one-size-fits-all tutoring packages. We’re offering a wide range of options to help your child get the exact support they need to prepare for the next school year. These will include:

No matter where your child stands today, we’re here to ensure this summer provides both the personalized review and refreshing break they need most while being ready for next year.

Start the Conversation Today!

In over 20 years of business, we’ve never seen kids more in need of one-on-one attention over the summer. (And after the year we’ve had, who could blame them?)

We’re here to make it easy for you to form a plan and ensure everyone in your family starts next year rested, prepared, and confident. Just click here to get started with a free consultation. We’re here for you!

Learning Apps Perfect for Summer Road Trips

Here’s the truth about summer vacations as a family: Exploring a new place can be fun and exciting, but getting there? Well, that’s an entirely different story.

Driving (or flying!) cross-country for hours on end with bored children is not for the faint of heart. You may find yourself doing whatever it takes to keep the entire family entertained, quiet, and content. That just might mean you set aside normal screen time limits for the sake of your sanity.

And that’s okay!

In fact, screen time on the road can even be a good thing, especially if you can find some apps that keep kids entertained while teaching them something in the process. They get to stay academically engaged, and you get to enjoy the peace and quiet completely guilt-free. Win-win!

Before your next family vacation, make sure you download these three apps that make summer learning FUN (and long road trips just a bit more bearable!)

#1 DuoLingo

Available for free in both the App Store and Google Play, DuoLingo makes it fun to learn a new language. (And the app has over 30 languages to choose from!) Kids enjoy the bite-sized lessons, fun games, and progress tracker, and parents love that their child’s screen time is actually productive. Once you reach your destination, put away the screens and see how many new foods, animals, and objects your child can name in their new language!

#2 Prodigy Math Game

Move over, boring old flashcards. Today’s kids are loving Prodigy Math Game, the free fantasy game where players go on quests and duel characters. It looks and feels like today’s popular video games, but players must solve skill-building math questions to progress and win. This app is available in the App Store and Google Play and on web browsers. An added bonus we love: Parents can sign up for a free account to monitor their child’s progress, set goals, and give rewards to encourage more play!

#3 SkyView Lite

Once you arrive for vacation, let the learning and fun continue with the SkyView Lite app, free in the App Store. Simply point your iPhone, iPad, or iPod to the sky, and the app will help you identify stars, constellations, satellites, and more! This is a great app to revisit as a family every time you travel for an all-new stargazing experience in each place.

Learning apps are a great way to keep kids academically engaged (and quiet!) during long road trips. Once you’re back home, book some review + preview tutoring sessions to give your child the confidence they need to conquer a new grade. Request a tutor now for a stress-free start to a successful school year!

 

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The Summer Anxiety Parents Face

When I first started EC Tutoring 20 years ago, homework was normal, expected, and commonplace. Today, after years of pushback and debate, very few elementary schools assign much homework throughout the year.

Things have certainly changed. But is that change good?

On the plus side, parents are free to let their kids participate in extracurriculars or simply play outside without worrying about a late-night homework battle.

But without homework as a benchmark, it can be hard to know whether your child is up to speed academically. This can put more pressure on parents to figure out how to keep kids focused and motivated without being the bad guy.

That pressure can even carry over into the summer. In fact, it’s now common for parents to experience a new type of summer anxiety over questions like…

  • How can I help my child retain what they learned last year?
  • What should I be doing to help my child prepare for next year?
  • Does my child deserve a total break or should I keep them academically engaged? If so, how?
  • How much summer practice is enough? How much is too much?

 

If you’re feeling anxious over keeping your kid on track this summer, you are not alone.

This has become a common stressor for parents in the “post-homework” age. But you don’t have to carry the weight of your child’s academic progress on your shoulders alone.

We’re here to help!

Our summer tutors have years of experience in keeping elementary school kids academically engaged over the summer with special activities and games that make review and learning fun.

When your child is matched with a summer tutor, you can relax and enjoy your summer, knowing your child will enter next year confident and prepared.

Contact Us

To get started, simply contact us to discuss whether summer tutoring is right for your child—and for your own mental health!

Don’t let anxiety over your child’s academic progress ruin your summer. We’re here to help, and we look forward to hearing from you soon!

 

And don’t miss out on this special discount on summer tutoring: Buy 12 sessions and get 15% off! Just contact us online or call 703-934-8282 to claim this offer.

 

Stress-free Ways to Keep Your Child on Track This Summer

Summer is underway, and your child has all sorts of plans for the months ahead. They’ll play at the beach! Swim in the pool! Build a spaceship out of Legos! Have a sleepover with friends!

As a parent, you want your child to enjoy a magical summer and make memories they’ll treasure well into adulthood.

But you also feel a sense of responsibility. 

You want your child to retain all the academic skills they learned last year.

You want your child to spend less time with screens and more time with books.

You want your child to arrive to school next year refreshed but prepared.

And you don’t want to be the bad guy to make all that happen!

 

Enter the EC Summer Tutoring Program.

The EC Summer Tutoring Program is your stress-free way to ensure your child stays on track all summer long without spoiling any of the magic of a childhood summer.

In fact, our tutors plan special activities and games to make learning fun, and many children actually look forward to these summer tutoring sessions!

“Our tutor was absolutely terrific! She always came prepared with great material for our daughter, and did a wonderful job with keeping her engaged throughout every session. Our daughter would look forward to each visit and was visibly excited before and after each of her sessions.”

-Mark Watson

To learn more and take advantage of this offer, just call 703-934-8282 now or click here to contact us online.

We can’t wait to make summer learning fun for your child… so you don’t have to!

 

PS: Don’t wait! Summer sessions must be used by September 2, so call 703-934-8282 now to take advantage of this special offer and keep your child on track this summer! 

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Catch Ann Dolin on WTOP!

Did you know Ann Dolin has a monthly radio segment on WTOP? This month, she shared practical advice on helping students maintain momentum over the summer and avoid the summer learning slide. Click below to hear her advice.

Hear Ann's Advice

Fun Summer Activities to Keep Kids Academically Engaged

School is out, and summer is officially here!

Kids are happily embracing their newfound freedoms, entertaining themselves for hours on end, and never, ever complaining of boredom… right? Ok, maybe not.

If you’re looking for a way to beat the boredom and keep your kids academically engaged this summer, we’re here to help.

Our summer tutors are always coming up with fun, engaging ways to help students review what they learned last year, preview what they’ll learn next year, and keep executive function skills (like time management and project planning) sharp all summer long.

In this newsletter, we’re going to share a few of the most popular activities kids love doing with our tutors year after year.

Pick an activity to do with your child over the next few months, or contact us to have a tutor do the work for you. (Hey, you deserve some downtime this summer, too!)

 

For Elementary School Students: Cook the Perfect Pizza

This first activity not only keeps your kids entertained and academically engaged, but also takes care of the dreaded question: What’s for dinner?

Elementary school-aged kids love embarking on a mission to cook the perfect pizza. First, practice project planning as you work together to create a list of elements you’ll test on each pizza, like different types of pizza dough, cheeses, or toppings.

Then, strengthen money counting skills as you shop for ingredients together and track what you spend. Back at home, let your child practice measurements as you whip up different pizza creations.

Finally, review the basics of the scientific method as you track and report which combinations led to the best pizza of all time!

 

For Middle School Students: Launch a Rocket

Middle schoolers are at the perfect age to fall in love with the wonders of science—especially when you give them permission to set off an explosion! That’s why we recommend building, launching, and testing rockets with your middle school student to keep them academically engaged this summer.

First, review the scientific method and practice project planning skills to map out your summer-long science project, step-by-step.

 

For High School Students: Explore Adulthood

Many parents are surprised to find that the summer activities our high school tutoring students love the most revolve around real-life adulthood—like creating a budget or participating in a practice interview for their summer job.

High school kids are itching for independence, and the opportunity to learn practical life skills makes them feel like you’re taking them seriously.

This summer, help your high schooler create a budget to explore what it would cost to live on their own. Show them how to research the cost of apartments and groceries, explore how much their dream job will pay, and compile it all in a budgeting app.

Remember: The key here is to present this as a fun activity to prepare for adulthood—not a punishment or lecture sparked by a moment of frustration!

 

If you do try any of these activities, let us know how it goes! Share with us your ideas on our Facebook Page! We love hearing from you.

And if you like the idea of keeping your child engaged with fun summer activities but don’t have the time to tackle these projects yourself, click below to contact us. Our summer tutors are always happy to help!

Contact Us

 

Summer Screen Time Struggles

Are you looking for a fun way to keep your kids active, engaged, and off their screens this summer? We can help! Click here to schedule a free consult and learn more about our special summer tutoring experience.

Summer sure has changed since you were a kid, hasn’t it? Where your parents had to beg you to come back inside for dinner, you may find yourself begging your child to put down the screens and head outside or read a book.

Screen time can be a point of tension year round, but without the distraction of school and homework, you may find the tech battle getting worse. We’re here to help! Check out these tips to stop the fight before it starts and keep your child academically engaged all summer long.

  • Tip #1: Communicate expectations now. Don’t wait until you’re angry to talk about screen time with your kids. Instead, sit down early in the summer to discuss how much screen time is appropriate and how your family will spend the summer days.
  • Tip #2: Discuss priorities, not just restrictions. Putting strict limits on screen time can just invite an argument. Try discussing the activities your kids must prioritize each day before they can play on their screens, like chores, summer reading, or outdoor play time.
  • Tip #3: Model healthy screen time. As much as we’d love for kids to do what we say, they almost always do what we do. Be conscious of how much time you’re spending on your own screen in front of your kids to keep pushback to a minimum.
  • Tip #4: Present your child with a fun alternative. Too much screen time is both an indicator and cause of boredom. Give your child a fun alternative to keep them mentally engaged over the break, like our summer tutoring experience.

Our tutors plan special games and hands-on activities to help your child beat boredom, stay academically engaged, prepare for the year ahead… and have fun!

Here’s what EC Tutoring parent Mark Watson had to say about his child’s summer tutoring experience:

Our tutor was absolutely terrific! She always came prepared with great material for our daughter, and did a wonderful job with keeping her engaged throughout every session. Our daughter would look forward to each visit and was visibly excited before and after each of her sessions.

Summer tutoring shouldn’t be a punishment or a drudgery. It’s actually a fun way to keep your kids academically and mentally engaged, and to minimize your screen time battles! Here’s how it works:

Step 1

 

Request a free consult to learn more about our summer tutoring experience.

Step 2

 

Meet your match, the tutor handpicked for your child’s needs and personality.

Step 3

 

Say goodbye to screen time battles and hello to a fun, academically engaging summer!

 

Still not sure the summer tutoring experience is right for your child? A free consult is a great, no-pressure opportunity for you to connect with our staff, discuss your goals for the summer, and see if we can help. Just click here to schedule a call. We look forward to talking with you!

Our Summer Tutoring Message for 2019

In 1978, I could not do long division.

And believe me, I tried.

There were just way too many steps.

It was confusing, frustrating, and I could never get it right.

Well, that summer (the summer between fourth and fifth grade) my mom got me a tutor, Mrs. Lewis.

I rode my bike to her house every week.

And you know what?

By the end of the summer, I could do long division!

I had mastered the steps and I felt great about myself.

So when I went to fifth grade, it was really the first time in my life I actually felt confident about math.

Now, I’m sure you’re not actually all that interested in my fifth grade math performance (and neither am I for that matter).

But it’s illustrative of what I want to share with you today…

Our take on summer tutoring for 2019: a time where grades, schedules, and distractions dominate during the year, often leaving an inadequate amount of time and focus available for learning to happen how we’d like it to.

Summer tutoring isn’t just for kids that are a little bit behind and need to get caught up because they can’t afford to lose any ground.

In fact, we frequently see kids that are doing just fine in school, do nothing over the summer, and subsequently fall behind the following year.

And that means more effort in the fall to catch back up during the most hectic, difficult, and distraction-filled time of the school year.

So this year, we’re making it simple.

Work with a tutor now through summer and save 15%.

You’ll get:

  • 12 sessions you can use anytime between now and September 2nd, 2019 before the school year starts back up.
  • Time dedicated to moving your child’s understanding and confidence forward using the review/preview method.
  • Your choice of a hand-selected tutor who is just right for your child, who can incorporate both accountability and fun to keep sessions productive and engaging over the summer.

Most of all, it’s an opportunity for your child to finally get ahead of the game and feel great going into next year.

If you’re interested, click the link below to fill out a short questionnaire, and we’ll be in contact shortly to discuss.

Find the right tutor for your child this summer

“Things are going very well, thank you. Jaimee is really helping to make concepts less abstract for Kesha and working with her specifically on how to apply them in her work.” ~ Carol, EC Tutoring Parent

“Ivey has worked with Patrick several weeks now, and it is going well. We have found Patrick to be thoughtful, earnest, engaging, and patient. Ivey says the sessions are helpful, and our family is experiencing less stress and conflict around homework since Patrick and Ivey began working together.” Kennedy, EC Tutoring Parent