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Academic Coaching
Helping Students Achieve in School with Less Stress
Making A Difference

Academic coaching has helped reduced the stress in our home.  My daughter is already doing so much better in school.  She now regularly uses a planner and rarely if ever forgets an assignment.  She also uses timers to keep herself on task, and studies ahead for exams.

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10th Grade Parent

I think most of the kids in my classes would do better in school if they knew the things you teach me.

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8th Grade Student

My ten-year-old daughter was in a difficult place with her violin practices, something she had once enjoyed. Asking her to practice resulted in crying and screaming, which resulted in growing tension during her lessons. Using DIY Homework took some of the stress out of our relationship. She received her instructions on her tablet and was responsible for reporting back on the tablet. After a week of practicing this way, she had shed her bad habit of screaming and crying about violin practice, and we were able to get back into an easier routine

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5th Grade Parent

Recent Blog Posts

How do you know you are done studying?

Do you know when you are ready to take a test? When I ask my students this question most of them look at me like I am crazy. This is a complex question because it requires us to think about our own thinking. This type of thinking is called “metacognition” and it is an important skill.  Individuals who can assess their own thinking have a strategic advantage in school and life. Watch the video to see how being able to…

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Filling your Basket of Knowledge and Skills

Have you ever studied for a test and then there was more information on the test? It is very frustrating when we study for exams, but we do not study the right information. Knowing what is on your test by collecting all your resources is the foundational step in the learning cycle. It is often overshadowed by the explanation of getting information in and out of our brains. Watch this short video about filling your basket of knowledge and skills. Like…

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Writing: Instruction Trajectory

Writing can feel very frustrating for students once they reach high school.  Even students who have traditionally been good writers may start to feel some stress.  I have come to understand that a lot of this frustration comes from how we teach writing in school.   Watch the video below to see how we the trajectory of writing instruction can impact our essay writing stress levels.   Like 0

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Study Stepping Stones: The Frustration of Busy Work

Class structure and homework types can create different types of gaps in knowledge and these gaps can impact test scores.  For more information check out my previous post. When I was discussing this idea with students we identified another important type of work to understand busy work.  Watch the video below to see why busy work can feel so frustrating.   Like 0

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Avoid the Word “Study”

When making a study plan do not use the word “study” or “studying” because these words are so general.  It is very easy to stick “study Spanish” into our planners.  But what will we actually do to learn Spanish better?  Watch the video to learn how using descriptive words can help you study faster with less stress.   Like 0

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Transitioning to College: Basic Life Skills

When I work with college students I notice that a lot of the stuff getting in the way is the small life stuff. These tasks have very little to do with direct school achievement, but they dramatically reduce their ability to be productive.  Here is a video explaining the small skills that every college freshman should know before they leave home.   Like 0

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Writing Tips: Editing with Text to Speech Apps

Writing well can be very time-consuming. Part of the writing process is learning how to edit our own text. Editing our own work can be difficult what we are trying to say does not get communicated to the reader. One of the most effective ways to edit our writing is to have another person read it out loud, but this is not always possible.  Watch the video to find out about a fast technological solution that will help you edit…

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Pre-crastination: Optimizing Breaks

While most of us lean towards procrastination there is a subset of the population who are pre-crastinators. These individuals  feel a deep desire to finish their work as quickly as possible.  For more background information please see this video on the differences between pre-crastination and procrastination. Because pre-crastinators need to finish their work they are willing to start immediately but often rush through their work they need a different type of work routine.  Watch the video below to see a cleaver way pre-crastinators can use…

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Writing Tips: Starting Your Introduction

Introductions can be the hardest part of an essay to write. A lot of this difficulty is the result of how we teach academic writing.  Writing instruction generally peaks in about 5th or 6th grade when students are still writing creatively.  The goals of creative writing and academic are similar but also differ in important ways. Watch the video below to learn how to get unstuck when writing your next essay.     Like 0

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Increasing Your Test Scores: Finding Material Gaps

Do you ever feel like you are studying for tests and doing all of your homework but not getting the scores that you want? This is an incredibly frustrating situation and often the advice is to “study harder” or to “study longer” but these approaches do not always work.  Watch the video below to explore why some classes are harder to study for and what you can do about it.   Like 0

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Homework Help: Math and Science

Do you ever get stuck on a math or science problem? Do you want to get it done quickly and accurately? In these situations, it can be so frustrating to know how to get help. One of the best resources I have found is Harvey Mudd College’s Free Homework Hotline. This hotline is free and helps students in 4th -12th grades. Watch the video to find out how the homework hotlines can help you get your work done faster with less…

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Study Strategies: Power of Self-Testing

Do you ever study for a test and you do not score well? We often focus on how to get information into our brains, rarely talk about how getting information out of our brains. Getting information out of our brains is important because what tests measure is how well we can get information out of our brains.  This gap is puzzling because we have over 200 years or research that demonstrates the positive impact of self-testing. This study method can…

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Make it Stick – Chapter 8

3 Most Effective Learning Tips for Students Practice Retrieval It is the most powerful way to study. We have to practice getting information out of our brains. It often feels clunky and slow, but it will increase how long and how much of the information you can learn. Space out Retrieval Forgetting is part of the learning process. Your brain needs time to forget a little between study sessions. The length of these gaps depends on the material and how…

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Reducing Stress: Recovering From Mistakes

There has been a considerable spike in teen anxiety over the last few years (NYT). Anxiety and stress are complex, with a lot of interconnected events and processes. I have noticed that a lot of the stress and anxiety I see in students stems from their fear of making mistakes and no longer being perfect. I have found that parents also feel these stresses. Teens need to know that they can recover and learn from a variety of mistakes. They…

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Make it Stick – Chapters 6 and 7

Be Active See learning as a lifelong quest. Use tests and assessments to gauge your travels but do not give up on the journey because you got a lower grade than expected. Use it to help you rethink your strategies and tools. Use strategies like retrieval practice, spacing, and interleaving as much as possible. Ideally start early in the semester. Don’t rely on what feels best, quiz yourself to make sure you know what you know. Step out of Your…

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Studying for the SATs: Khan Academy and College Board

Do you feel overwhelmed studying for the SAT? There is a lot of contradictory advice floating around. Paying for books or tutoring can also get expensive, and there is often no evidence they can fill exact gaps or increase scores. With all that students need to do in high school, they need to know that the time they are using to study is effective. I suggest that students use Khan Academy’s FREE SAT platform to study for their exams. Using…

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Make it Stick- Chapter 5

Metacognition Metacognition is the technology that means thinking about our thinking. Thinking about our thinking is very important because our brains no matter how smart are prone leading us astray by letting us feel we know more than we do. Two Systems Metaphor In Daniel Kahneman’s book Thinking, Fast and Slow he outlines a model of how we can think about decision making in our brains. System 1 – automatic and fast and is more susceptible to the illusion System…

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Analyzing Literature: Using Harry Potter

Do you feel stuck when you write in English class? Academic writing is centered around finding and analyzing themes. Themes help us talk about literature in conjunction with other literature because we can connect ideas and concepts. However, learning to do this can be very hard because it is abstract. Students can learn to do this type of analysis with something they know very well. Watch this video to see how you can use Harry Potter to improve your writing.  …

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