• Academics
  • Parent Support
The Gift of Structure

Provide consistent structures at home to proactively meet your student where they are.

  • Academics
  • Homework
  • Parent Support
By Shannon Salverda, Director of Integrated Learning

“To do is to be.” –Nietzsche

“To be is to do.” –Kant

“do be do be do…” –Sinatra

The quest for “being” in the “doing” is not solely an adult pursuit. UPrep students strive to become the next version of themselves while studying, playing sports, performing, and participating in family life. They care for pets and siblings, work, and serve their community. There is a lot to “do” when one is a student. A gift we can offer as adults is to provide structure at home so our young adults can focus on the business of becoming.

Consistent structures at home can relieve some of the cognitive burden of planning, decision making, and negotiating at every turn. Consider providing these structures at home to lighten your student’s mental load:

Family Calendar: Ensure that your student is aware of the plans for the week for the family. Create a family Google calendar or create a white board or chalkboard that shows the plans for the week. Students may assume they have time to study and find out too late that a guest is joining you for dinner. Wallies.com sells well-designed, peel and stick chalkboard calendars. Chalkboard paint is an inexpensive material for designing a DYI wall calendar. If your student can anticipate a busy night for the family, he can better plan his study time in advance.

Study Space: Establish a study space for your student that is not in their bedroom, fairly public without being distracting, and free of clutter. Sleep research shows that we should not work where we sleep. Our brain needs to associate our bed with rest. Sitting at a desk for study time tells the brain that it is work time. If the space is naturally accessible, it is easier to walk by, answer questions, and monitor the level of focused activity.

Multi-tasking: As much as we would like to believe that we can do this, our brains disagree! Help your student single task and optimize the efficiency and efficacy of the time they dedicate to studying. Plug in the phone away from the study space. Students can check their phone as a break after 20 minutes of focused study. If a student insists that listening to music helps them focus, help them find music without words. Our brain cannot store the language we read as efficiently when it is processing other language coming in through the headphones. Students who want to cut down their study time will master the art of single tasking.

Not all students can manage time and organize materials independently. Provide consistent structures at home to proactively meet your student where they are. Support your student’s ability to do what they need to do efficiently and effectively. With home structures in place, they will find they have more time to be and enjoy the becoming.


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