If you’ve ever seen your teen seem like they’re hanging on for dear life in their study, just to stay afloat and thinking, 'just get to the holidays', then this episode is for you.
Join me to discover how to make term time less stressful, so that holidays can be enjoyed, not just 'needed' for recovery.
And be sure to grab a seat at my 'Get Your Teen Ahead Over Summer' free parent webinar (available for a limited time) to get the insider info and proven steps to make this happen. Register for free at: https://www.gradetransformation.com/summer
You’re listening to the Parents of Hardworking Teens Podcast, episode 25 – and if you’ve ever seen your teen seem like they’re hanging on for dear life in their study, just to stay afloat and thinking, just get to the holidays, then this episode is for you.
Hey VIPs! How are you doing? I hope you’re doing well and NOT in a state of hanging on by the fingernails until you can collapse over the finish line of the term - and for us here in Australia, the school year.
But if things ARE feeling a bit like that, then I want to start off by telling you I know exactly how that feels. Not right now, thankfully. But definitely back at the start of my teaching career, and a couple of times a few years ago as I was getting Rock Solid Study going and basically had way too many events and way too many tasks on my calendar.
The difference being then, that I did have some choice and control, but I was in the mode of wanting to do everything and make the most of every opportunity that came my way. But, in my first few teaching years and for your teen – the things that get thrown at us are not something we get much choice or control over. We have to get to work, get things done and meet deadlines.
And what I want to talk about today in relation to the upcoming summer holidays here and the winter Christmas holidays for those of you listening in the northern hemisphere. That feeling of working SO hard, having so much to do that it feels like we’ll never get through it, and that light at the end of the tunnel of promised rest and recuperation being the only thing that keeps us going.
So I’ll tell you a quick story that is always a little bit embarrassing to admit.
In probably around my third year of teaching, I went on holiday with my now husband to Egypt. Egypt - so rich in history and culture and amazing sights - And I didn’t DO or SEE anything cultural or historical or amazing. It wasn’t because I got sick. Nothing bad happened. In fact it all went exactly as it was supposed to. And being a Geography teacher at the time is what makes that pretty embarrassing.
I didn’t visit a single pyramid. I didn’t see Tutan Kahmun’s tomb, or go to a museum. I didn’t go diving, or dip a toe in the Nile. I didn’t even see one camel. Because I had only two criteria for that holiday when we booked it. It had to have pretty much guaranteed sun at Easter – I was still living in the UK back then – so seeing the sun as we came out of winter was a thing – and all I wanted to do was just lie on a beach and do NOTHING.
So, the guaranteed sun thing really required long haul at that time of year, but that was totally out of reach budget-wise for us. You can tell I’m a sun-worshipper, right. No surprise that I’ve ended up on the Sunshine Coast of Australia - and never leaving - hey.
But back then, in desperate need of sun, we found a good deal for an all-inclusive beach holiday in Egypt.
We’d never done all-inclusive before – we usually prefer strolling around finding nice little cafes or cooking up something cheap and cheerful on holidays – but like I said, I didn’t want to do ANYTHING and this was what ticked the sunshine and the budget boxes.
And it was exactly that. There was a beach. There was sun. And there was Okay food. But it is pretty close to the bottom of my fave holidays taken.
Not that I’m not grateful to have been able to go overseas and go to somewhere that is as amazing as Egypt probably is. It was exactly what I needed. And that was the issue.
I didn’t want to DO anything amazing.
I wanted to do nothing.
And if your teen is the same, just holding on and you’re BOTH dreaming of the time when they can just do nothing and have no pressing items on the schedules, then I just want to say that while of course there’s nothing wrong with taking a break and relaxing, that’s not the point I’m trying to make, what this is about, is about making the crazy hectic times less crazy, and have strategies and skills so that there is less of the Himalaya-shaped work and rest levels, and more of the rolling hills.
What if there was a way to be able to make term time more efficient and effective so that everything still gets done, and to a high standard, but in a manageable way, so that the holidays are can truly be enjoyed and not just recovery time until the next round.
There is a way to make that happen.
And I’ll share it with you here.
BUT - I’m not here to persuade you that your teen SHOULD be doing any sort of study or skill training over the summer. If you are just like, we’re good and we want to keep the hols totally free of study, that’s all good.
BUT if the holidays are kept free because everyone is drained and collapsing over the finish line and needs to just recover, then I do want you to listen. Because I want this term right now, to be the last and final TIME that happens.
Because the truth is that small hinges can swing big doors.
And a few small actions taken over the summer, in fact, even just one, can make a HUGE difference to how your teen tackles tasks and performs in exams and assessments. And I’m not talking about organising their desk space or filling out a new planner with term dates. I’m not talking about practical physical actions. I’m talking about taking action to get one or two critical skills, strategies or techniques on board.
Now, I’m going to share a couple of ideas of what these are and how to do them right here, but if you’d like to get detailed explanations, examples and bonus skills and proven steps, then join me at my ‘Get Your Teen Ahead Over Summer free parent webinar which is kicking off today as this podcast goes out. Just go to www.gradetransformation.com/summer to see the available sessions that I’m running for one week, and save your seat. It’s free to attend, BUT spaces are limited at each showing, so get in quick to get a time that works best for you.
Because, I get that this is a bit of a Catch 22 situation.
If your teen is someone who is flat out and doesn’t have time to get these sorts of skills learned during term time, then they are maybe the student who just wants to be like me on holiday and do nothing in their time off.
BUT, it also means that this opportunity might be the best way to get them off that treadmill.
I know that because of so many students in this situation that I’ve worked with and who’ve completed the 10 Week program.
Students like Tara, who competes in state level sport as well as being disappointed if she gets less than an A in an assessment.
And Jess, who is in every musical or artistic production, but wanted better than the B’s and C’s she was previously getting. For students like them, the holidays was the best time for them to do the full training.
Now, as always, I’ll tell you the full truth of things - neither of them was super-ecstatic about doing it. They weren’t all like, yeah, I totally want to spend an hour per week on learning how to study more strategically and getting trained in exam technique.
But, these skills made a huge difference to them and their results and their life-balance - and their parents’ concern levels and everyone’s happiness levels too!
I know I’m doing a lot of people stories here on this episode - me and students - but I as much as I love having steps and tips and actions – in fact those are the things I love most – I know I also get a ton of benefit from hearing about other people in a similar position to me, who have achieved things I want to achieve, so I’m thinking that might be the case for you too. I’m hoping it is.
And I remember Tara getting to Year 12 – she’d done the 10WGT when she was in Year 9, back when her dad told me that she was already working so hard and her schedule was already so jam-packed, that he dreaded to think what Y11 and 12 would be like. And Tara was telling me, when I did a little series of videos with students in the senior years – about how all her friends would be saying things like, ‘oh I had a total meltdown last night’, and things like that and Tara said – and I remember her words exactly ‘ she said, “touch wood, that hasn’t happened for me”.
Now of course, just the 10WGT isn’t the only factor going in her favour.
She’s an organised and committed student and has a family who are aware of keeping her and her younger sister - who has also now done the 10WGT too - on a good life balance. But, she also had those other things when she was doing a total re-write of a 1500 word English assignment because she’d gone off on the wrong track.
I’ll share Jess and Tara’s videos – and yes, some from the boys too – at the webinar, so if you want to see more from students in these sorts of situations who HAVE found a way to get the skills and training on board and can tell you everything in their own words, then be sure to come to that.
So here are a couple of ways you can help your teen:
- Google Bloom’s Taxonomy.
Find out about the different level of commands and have your teen use that along with a download of your exam board’s list of task words, directives or whatever name they’ve given to them - all different exam boards have different names for what I call command words - and start to figure out which command words go at which level.
Develop an understanding of what they really mean and how to respond at those levels. This is something I provide and lay out in detail for your teen in the 10WGT,
so if you’d rather have that all done for you, then you can, but doing some Googling for yourself is a great start if not.
OR another thing you can do is:
- Download some chief examiner reports or retrospectives.
These are where the exam boards go into detail for every exam paper, where the students in that cohort did well and where they didn’t and why.
There is so much gold in these – but most people don’t know they exist or make the time to read them. I certainly didn’t even know about them until I became an external exam marker. But they are available publicly in the same place on exam board websites as where past papers are stored – and bonus tip – if your teen has the original paper and mark scheme alongside the report, they’ll really be able to see how the feedback relates to specific commands and marking criteria which will really enhance anything they choose to do on command words.
- of course, you can use this podcast.
Just take one thing that you’ve heard me talk about on this podcast that you think will help your teen, re-listen to it, and action any advice or steps or tips I share.
Because here is the coolest part that I really want to get across on this episode.
Sometimes we think things come at the expense of another.
We think that great academic results mean we have to work longer and harder and give up other things in life. And totally understandably so. It’s likely how we worked when we were students - or saw other successful students doing it that way.
Now, I’m never saying that work and effort are not required. I’m just saying that that work and effort needs to be the right work and effort.
We want to spend time and energy on the things that are going to translate into results and not start off on the wrong track and have to go back and re-do,
or be doing things that aren’t going to pay off in the best way.
And that when the critical skills required for this ‘optimised study’ are missing, we have no other option but to compensate by working harder.
You might’ve heard me use the metaphor before of pedaling harder and harder on a bike to get to our destination, versus learning to drive and getting in the car.
If we don’t have the skills and training to drive a car, then we have to rely on pedaling longer and harder to get to where we want.
In the car, we have to learn to drive and pass our test, but we only have to do this once. THEN we not only get to wherever we wanted more easily AND faster AND more efficiently, we can also get to places way beyond where we had access to before, where we thought we could go. I can’t tell you how many students I see, who consider themselves as C-to- B grade students, but who end up achieving As and like Jess, do it faster and more smoothly, than when they were getting the Cs and B’s!
Or students like Tara who’s dad wanted the same marks with less work, but she ended up getting even better results, with less work.
Students achieve results beyond what they thought possible for them because they’re no longer just pedaling harder on the bike. They’re now in a car.
Now, if you’d like to just have these things explained and handed over on a plate then I’ll be going into detail on 3 of the critical skills and sharing 3 bonus tips on the webinar.
And I’ll also be sharing a special opportunity to get your teen in on the 10 Week Grade Transformation Program over the summer if you’d love for your teen to have the complete training with everything they need to take control over their study and give them the tools to massively boost their confidence and their results.
And yes, I know they don’t actually get 10 weeks off for summer, so yes, they can get started NOW as things wind down, and YES, with the all access pass that is included, they can do more than one module per week. Or because they also get LIFETIME access, they can spread it out however they choose.
Now, like I said, I am not someone who thinks that all students should be doing study over the holidays, But if your teen could really benefit from having the skills and strategies that’ll get them off that treadmill of always feeling overwhelmed or like they’re paddling so hard just to stay afloat during term time, then this might be the solution for them. 10 hours put in now, for a lifetime of rewards.
Because, just like learning to drive, it does require the willingness to get the training, learn and hone the skills and actions and steps required to drive the car - or - hone their exam technique, note-taking, or essay-writing, and all of the different ways that these skills show through.
These are the skills and trainings that they can never un-know.
That won’t just get messy again like their desk.
That will make everything in term time smoother, more efficient, feel more in control AND have them produce work at a HIGHER quality. This isn’t about sacrificing grades or quality for more free time. This is about one key unlocking the doors to BOTH.
So, the Get Ahead Over Summer event is on right now.
You can save your seat at a webinar time that works for you and just that hour will be a great way for you and your teen to get ahead.
I say that because it IS a parent webinar – I will be speaking to you as the parent, BUT you are really welcome to have your teen attend.
Honestly, they will get SO much out of it.
I had one student attend with her mum the last time I ran a webinar like this and they emailed me a couple of days later to tell me that the exam she sat the day before the webinar she failed. I think she said she got something like 44%, and the exam she sat the day after the webinar, just because she better understood how the questions were worded and how they’d be marked, she got 70-something percent. I think it might’ve been 76 or 77% but I’d have to check.
So go check it out – www.gradetransformation.com/summer - be sure to register if you see spots available as I’m limiting each session to 100 registrants and the most popular times will fill up fast.
Remember, term time vs holidays does not have to be the Himalayas.
Holidays can be a lot more fun, I can tell you, when they are not just for recovery or catching up on everything that fell off along the way.
And I can happily tell you that the holidays and travel my husband and I do now are a lot more exciting and we have a lot more amazing experiences than back when it was ‘I just want to do nothing’. I still can’t believe we went to Egypt and didn’t see a single thing apart from sand, but it’s a good reminder to keep the hills rolling at least.
I’ll see you back here for another episode of the Parents of Hardworking Teens Podcast next week, and I hope to see you at a webinar showing in between.
Have a brilliant week, take care, bye!