(So I can choose my battles on what I freak out about).

…It’s overwhelming isn’t it?

Here’s what I’m hearing as a student/parent Coach:

Even for parents of elementary-aged students, kids in the sweet, tender years we might consider “far” from preparing to leave the nest, the barrage of information, standards, and variety of grading systems can feel overwhelming. Parents, you just want to know if you’re doing a good job. And sometimes it’s hard to tell!

When my kids were younger, every little mistake seemed (to me) like a big deal. I poured over the report card trying to interpret checks and check-pluses wondering if these symbols meant my kids were going to grow up to be “good people.”

My constant worry sapped mental and emotional bandwidth. As an ADHDer myself, it was hard for me to juggle classroom, sports, and club schedules.

In these later years, I have experienced that the information-load continues to increase. Now I sometimes feel like spend less time talking with my children and more time reading about them or watching them!

So when coaching parents and students, one of the first steps we take is to put on some healthy blinders when it comes to the information overload. Maybe not blinders – is “filters” a better image? Use whichever you need!

What do these blinders (or filters) do? They help you decide what’s most important to focus on for your family, to quiet the rest of the noise.

Your kids can pick up on your emotions, so the calmer and more secure you feel, the better you’ll be able to guide your family in focusing on what you decide what’s most important.

How do you decide what’s most important for your kid to know?

  1. Many families have spiritual, religious, or cultural values that come first; this may be the place where you start. Have a conversation with your family members about how these values “live, breathe, and act” both in your home and outside your home.
  2. Are there any personal values you share among family members? You can try the core values exercise together over pizza and a movie!
  3. When it comes to school, you may feel at a loss for what to value other than “GOOD GRADES.” Here are some suggestions that will give you concrete skills to practice now, with an eye on the future.

What’s important for college and career success?

Global businesses report the top things they look for: ‘Soft’ skills like resilience, problem-solving, critical thinking and resourcefulness set apart certain applicants from other applicants.

These are the skills that reveal the difference between individual-contributors and other-contributors and good leaders from great leaders!

In the list of twelve 21st Century Skills, business have placed greatest value upon:

  • Critical Thinking/Reasoning
  • Creativity/Creative Thinking
  • Problem Solving
  • Metacognition
  • Collaboration
  • Communication
  • Global Citizenship

21st Century Skills are a great place to start! Think of ways to support your student in these skills by finding out what is important to them, asking questions that have multiple answers, and fostering problem solving.

The other AWESOME news? You’re not alone. These are among the skills that Yellow Parachute coaches teach when we work with your students on ACT Prep, math, reading, science, and especially in our Quantum Jump coaching!

We call them Executive Functions at Yellow Parachute, and we believe they are truly your student’s toolbox (I’m modernizing it with the term capsule) for SUCCESS.

Here’s how you can start developing academic goals OTHER than grades:

  1. Take your own Executive Function Survey.
  2. Have your student take their Executive Function Survey. Use this link to rate them, to compare!
  3. With your student, spouse, family, class: Choose your 3 top executive functions as strengths to notice and choose 3 executive functions as weaknesses to notice. Then choose ONE executive function to improve in the month of February and focus on that skill. It’s OK if each person has a different skill. If you’re REALLY serious, use this SMART Goals setting Sheet. You can help support one another with accountability and cheers to celebrate wins!

And you’re off to an awesome start. If you’re not sure where to go from here, we’re happy to jump in with you. And please connect to let us know what you’re working on – whether by connecting with Jenny Mckeand or telling your Learning Coach!

Yours in the Journey,