So, Mom and Dad, how did this school year go for you? Did your student soar through school assignments with ease? Was he or she a constant source of joy for the family? Or was your daily experience a living nightmare as you tried to help your son or daughter through one grueling hour of homework after another?
If that was more your experience I have good news for you – summer break is almost here, giving you a much needed reprieve from the nightly grind. Unfortunately, summer only lasts three months. Unless something fundamentally changes, you will probably have the same grueling nightly homework experience next year. The really good news, though, is that targeted skills training can fundamentally change things.
Some Students Just Need the Right Help
A few years ago I was a targeted skills trainer and had the distinct pleasure of meeting a new student named Amy. She was a nice 5th grade girl, very sociable, participated in extracurricular activities, and often had a smile – at least when I saw her. For Grandma, however, Amy was an entirely different story.
Grandma had the distinctly difficult circumstance of being the supervising adult during homework time. Every day was a knock-down, drag-out fight with Amy to get the homework done. Every fight lasted hours. And there was no winner – Amy’s and Grandma’s relationship was growing ever more trained; Amy continued to struggle in school, and though her homework was satisfactorily completed, her test scores reflected that she was not learning the material. Beyond the daily stress of dealing with Amy and her increasingly bad attitude toward school, Grandma was very concerned about what would happen as Amy went on to junior and senior high.
In addition to Grandma’s daily help, Amy received tutoring through her school and spent much of her day in the special-ed setting. But nothing was helping and, understandably, Grandma was concerned.
Training Isn’t all Fun and Games – but fun does happen
I worked with Amy four nights a week for 24 weeks. Each session was an hour an twenty minutes long. We did nothing related to school – instead we played games. A favorite was 3D Tic Tac Toe. Imagine, if you will a standard Tic Tac Toe board with each space sequentially numbered from 1 through 9. Now stack two more identical board on top and number the additional spaces from 10 through 27. Each person takes a turn simply by calling out a space’s number until one player gets 3 spaces in a row in any direction.
Sound difficult? It is! This game is played entirely by memory without any game board or pieces. And there are techniques to make it even more challenging for the trainee. But while the game is difficult, a good personal trainer also makes it fun for the trainee to rise to the challenge. And by doing so the individual’s targeted skills are exercised and strengthened – just like your muscles are strengthened by properly lifting weights at the gym.
Wow – What Happened?
At the end of 24 weeks, Amy met all her training goals. At Amy’s last session Grandma came to me and asked what I did to her granddaughter. “Homework time is now our happiest time of the day – and she’s always looking for more to learn! She’s not the same girl she was six months ago. Thank you – you changed her life and mine!” Now THAT’S the kind of fundamental change you want for your student this summer!
While Amy was a profoundly successful trainee – no doubt due to her willingness to work hard in our sessions – her story is not unique. I’ve seen hundreds of students go from Ds and Fs to As and Bs on their report cards – and their attitudes matched their newfound success. That’s what personal targeted skills training can do: transform lives in specific and positive ways.
So what will you do for your struggling student? Summer is the perfect time to strengthen his or her cognitive skills. Think of it as an investment in your student’s future and your mental well-being. Both you ad your student will be glad you did!!