Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Teen Help Wanted! You are needed!

You are needed!

You likely have been aware of times when your parents appear to be overwhelmed and exhausted. During such periods, they may be less tolerant and more irritable. The stresses of a job, finances, errands, and keeping things going all add up. And then, your mom and/or dad must face daily family needs and obligations, which add to their daily efforts. You no doubt have been overwhelmed yourself on occasion and pressured to get everything done by the end of the day and, therefore, understand the feeling.

Here's a serious recommendation: Help your family out by reducing their stress. And you can do this in several ways, many of which are simple and easy to do.

http://hightouchlearning.com/index.htmlFirst, develop the right attitude. Consider the demands your parents have at home and elsewhere. And think about the times you and your siblings have needs that result in added demands. This may have been for a variety of basics; for example, transportation, food, clothes, money, tech stuff, sports stuff, and so on. Reflect on what it takes for them to provide for the family’s needs: for example, money, skill, energy, and sacrificing their own time. That's standard for most parents trying to raise a family, but nonetheless, overwhelming. The above ideas are not to generate guilt, but rather to boost appreciation and respect for what it takes for a family to function.

So here is an important choice to consider: Do you want to be a giver or a taker? That is, do you want to help your parents reduce family stress, or do you want to add to it. Think about it. There are wonderful opportunities that are available to you.

If you are wondering if you are really needed by your parents, here are a few easy ways to check that out. Simply ask your mom or dad if it would be helpful if you did the dishes tonight, or cleaned the table or kitchen, or helped with the younger kids or did the wash. My hunch is that you will get a grateful, positive reaction from them. I also anticipate that you will feel good about your efforts.

Second, be aware of your skills and your ability to help. As a maturing individual, you are competent to do a variety of tasks related to the family’s needs. The examples are simple and numerous. Pick any category of daily activities: clothes, cleaning, washing, organizing, putting things up, putting things out, or helping siblings. Choose areas that directly reduce stress on your parents; for example, setting up for meals, cleaning up after meals, emptying the trash, washing and laying out your clothes. And do not forget to help them keep up with how to operate high-tech items.

Third, be an example to your siblings and enlist their help. If you have siblings, sell them on the need to work as a team to help the family. You will find that younger brothers and sisters will likely follow your lead. Fellowship with them as they help out and praise their efforts. Help them complete tasks that may be difficult: "Let me help you carry that trash out."

Fourth, be willing to donate your time when needed: "You go ahead mom, I'll be here and will watch the kids." If you are driving, you will find that simple trips to the grocery store will help, as well as transporting younger siblings. At times, you may want to free a parent from obligations: "Dad, I know you are tired, don't worry about missing the game tonight."

Finally, ask for your parent's feedback: "How can I make your day easier?" "What can I do to help out in the house?" “Can I help with their homework?" A positive response from your parents is guaranteed.

For further ideas, blogs, and tactics, check the information available at our website: hightouchlearning.com.


Monday, June 29, 2015

Teen Help Wanted! Give part of your time to your family.

Give part of your time to your family.

Even though you may feel stressed to meet your daily obligations from school, activities, and friends, consider setting aside a part of your time to help your family. You will be surprised at how easy this can be, and how great a help it is to your family. And as you are getting older, you are likely becoming more aware of how important it is to manage your time and energy and use it wisely.

Here is an idea to explore: Establish a helpful routine that benefits your family. Examples abound.
http://hightouchlearning.com/books.html#!/Time-Management-Strategies-to-Boost-Success-in-School-and-Life/p/51455941/category=0Allow yourself to be realistic as you read through this.

If you are even halfway organized, here are a few simple tasks that require very little time.
  1. You can straighten your room in just a few minutes. It is ridiculously simple.
  2. Emptying the trash is a no-brainer.
  3. Picking up clothes and throwing away junk is too simple to discuss.
  4. Cleaning and putting items in their place in the kitchen is helpful while setting the table takes about a minute of your time.
  5. Feeding the dog can be handled by your little brother (with help).
  6. Quickly putting things in the dishwasher, or putting them up, is a cakewalk.
And you are better able to carry this theme on and on because you know your family's daily needs better than anyone. In short, you can jump-in anywhere and help and it will be appreciated.

Consider a helpful routine that you create on your own.

For example, dedicate 15 minutes of your time to helping your family in ways that are needed. Enlist the help of your siblings. Your younger brothers and sisters will likely follow your lead. Help them get started and remind them to keep going.

And here’s a neat gift for your parents: Ask them how you might help with the family tasks at home?

You can be sure your family will benefit from any such helpful efforts, and your parents will be grateful.

A final note: Practice getting both effective and efficient. Effective means you chose the right job to do. Efficient means that you do the job right. Better planning of your time and finishing your priorities quicker is a good way to start this. Getting your stuff better organized is another valuable tactic to help you improve your management efforts and performance.

For further ideas, blogs, and tactics, check the information available at our website: hightouchlearning.com.


Sunday, June 28, 2015

Teen Help Wanted! Save part of your energy for your family.

Your energy is a resource similar to your time. It is limited and needs to be used wisely. Do not overlook the importance of expending your energy on a few things that benefit your family. Here’s an important point: Being younger, you are likely to have more energy to spare than your parents. And quite likely, you can do many things quicker and easier than your parents. And you may even be stronger in some cases.

Here’s the main point. Your help is needed. That includes your time, your energy, and your expertise about certain things; i.e., tech items, computers, etc. And providing these resources to your family when needed would likely be greatly appreciated.

Here is a tip to help you become skilled at utilizing your energy: Practice getting more efficient at completing certain tasks. Take cleaning and straightening your room as an example. First, organize your stuff in a manner that you can quickly return things to their proper place. Then, as part of your daily routine, practice tidying up your space in five minutes or less. It can be done without sacrificing neatness. It’s that simple. Within a few minutes, you can hustle and have your space looking great.  And you do not have to sacrifice much time or energy to do it well. (Obviously, it does not help if your race to clean your room leaves a new mess behind).

Learning to be effective is another important tactic that deserves your attention. It is critical to be both effective and efficient. Here’s the key difference. You are effective when you choose to do your most important tasks first, before less important ones. In simple terms, effective means you are doing the right job; whereas efficient means you are doing the job right. For example, if studying for a test is a high priority, but instead you play a game on your computer, you would not be tackling your most important task first. That would be considered an ineffective use of your energy and your time. Note that even if you could finish the game faster than before (more efficiently), you would still not be effective in the sense of completing the right job.  Successful people are usually good at being both effective and efficient.  That is, they choose to do the most important jobs first and get better at completing the work to be done.

There are times when it may be better to delay an important task until after a less strenuous one. For example, you may be able to focus better on schoolwork after supper rather than right after school. In that case, it might be helpful to complete tasks requiring less strain before supper to allow you to better focus after you eat.

Use common sense and be aware of your energy level and how it affects your performance. The goal is to make sure to save enough energy to meet the demands of important tasks. If you have to study for a test, do not spend all of your energy on a less essential activity. Try to adjust your timing to match your priorities and the effort that will be required to successfully complete them. Think of a professional athlete. Spending all of their energy before a basketball game would likely lead to a poor performance. The same applies to your daily priorities.

For further ideas, blogs, and tactics, check the information available at our website: hightouchlearning.com.


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Teen Help Wanted! Get organized.

Get your stuff together, and then keep your stuff neat.

Getting your stuff organized and keeping your space neat is an ongoing argument in many households. Try to think about this away from the complaints of your parents.
Here’s a quick reality check, and there’s little doubt about it.

It is very simple to get your stuff organized and easy keep your space neat.
In fact, it may be easier to be organized than it is to be disorganized.

You may ask, why all the fuss about getting organized?

Answer: Because it simply makes your life so much easier. You know where things are and you can get things done quicker. For example, you know where your clean shirts are hanging and can grab them at any time. Forget about parental fussing for a moment, it will make your life easier.

It is a guarantee that you will find that most responsible work settings will insist that you be an organized person.

Here's another question you may ask: Why am I disorganized?

Answer: Get serious, the answer is because you are too lazy to get organized. If laziness isn’t the answer, try this second response: It’s because you are not serious, motivated, or wise enough to get organized.

Even though it sounds foolish, once you invest in getting organized, you will be happy with the results. You will be more effective and you will have more time for the activities that you enjoy. Your household will benefit too.

Here are some simple tips that you already have heard from a parent.
  • Have a logical place for items that are used frequently.
  • As part of a daily routine, clean your room and put things back in place.
  • Set your clothes up in a manner that makes sense. For example, arrange clothes for school, daily use, fun, etc.
  • Wash your own stuff; dry the stuff; fold the stuff; put your stuff in the right place. 
  • Ask your parents to teach you to iron items when you’re able to do so.
  • Make a habit of throwing away used up stuff, as in empty cans and bottles.
  • Giveaway or donate clothing that you no longer wear. Same with toys, games, and other items you outgrew and have no reason to keep.
  • Add your own ideas in here.
Make sure you include time management tactics in your efforts to get and stay organized. For example, having a daily time to get organized is a helpful tactic.

Read about individuals and students who have organized themselves in successful ways. Copy and add their helpful tips into your routine.

For further ideas, blogs, and tactics, check the information available at our website: hightouchlearning.com.


Friday, June 26, 2015

Teen Help Wanted! Get your siblings to help.

Get your siblings to help with household tasks.

If you have brothers or sisters, get them to help out. This is especially true for your younger siblings who will often want to join in the activities that your are doing. This is a tremendous way for the family to prosper as even the youngest feel like they are part of the team. And it’s fun to do this. For example, pick out a very simple task and let them follow along with you. If you’re folding the clothes, let them fold simple items. By doing these easy things, you are providing an example and sharing your know-how.
Here are five helpful tips:

1.  Demonstrate the behavior that you want your siblings to imitate. When doing helpful acts, let them visually observe the behavior. This makes the learning steps easier and imitation often follows.

2.  Coach the behavior in a supportive way. For example: “Let me show you a quicker way to do that.”

3.  Compliment your siblings and their efforts as you go. Like all of us, they will welcome positive words, approval, and pats on the back. Such words help create a positive atmosphere and increase the chances of a behavior being repeated.

4.  Consider forming a family team and naming it. For example, the Cleanup Crew is needed. As corny as this may sound, younger siblings will embrace being a member of a team and joining in.

5. Fellowship with your siblings as you work together. This includes talking and sharing thoughts, teasing in friendly ways, and other positive communications. No harmful criticisms or hurtful topics are allowed, just friendliness. The goal is to enjoy yourselves in the midst of working together which will make completing tasks more agreeable.

For further ideas, blogs, and tactics, check the information available at our website: hightouchlearning.com.


Thursday, June 25, 2015

Teen Help Wanted! Just do it!

Be a doer. Jump in and help out.

http://hightouchlearning.com/index.htmlYou likely have seen the famous Nike ad that conveys the theme: Just Do It! The ad is almost 25 years old and still is used to send a message about action instead of idleness. While aimed at fitness, the message can be applied to an activity of any type: Get started, jump in, be a doer and not just a talker are all part of this general theme.

All of the ideas about helping your family are simply concepts that are highlighted in a blog. For them to become a reality, they need to be activated. You are the one who chooses whether to initiate the behaviors or to let them remain an inactive set of words on a screen or a piece of paper. You have to decide whether or not to use these tactics to build patterns of behavior to which you dedicate yourself.

Hopefully, you are already involved with family teamwork and helping with running the household. If that’s the case, thank you and congratulations for choosing to be a giver. If you are not helping out, identify what is blocking you from choosing to participate in your family’s growth. It may be helpful to give yourself an honest appraisal about your contributions to your parents or parent, their needs, and whether you want to help your family grow in positive ways.

Sharing your time, energy, and skills with your family will make you a giver rather than a taker and your efforts will be a welcomed gift to all.

For further ideas, blogs, and tactics, check the information available at our website: hightouchlearning.com.


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Teen Help Wanted! Give gratitude a try.

Your parents will welcome your expressions of gratitude.

All of us welcome positive feedback from time to time. And your parents and other family members are no exceptions. In short, words and gestures that express your positive feelings towards others boost the spirits of the people receiving them. Expressing gratitude and showing respect are two great ways to help create a healthy atmosphere in your household. The words thank-you are very comforting and reassuring to your parents.

Here are a few important personal questions to consider.
  • How often do you express appreciation to your parents and other family members?
  • How often do you show respect for them and their efforts?
  • Are you someone who expresses positive feelings and thanks towards your family; or, are you someone who takes others for granted?
Think about what you want your parents to know about your feelings about what they do for you? Then choose how you want to come across to them on a daily basis. In short, choose what type of person you want to be and how to best express your feelings towards your parents.

Reflect for a moment on what the meaning of respect is to you.

Respect refers to the positive thoughts and feelings one has about someone or something of value. It includes an understanding of why they are important and relevant and why they should be treated with appreciation. Respect often involves treating a person or situation with consideration, thankfulness, and care. And as you will gather from the above ideas, showing appreciation is a great way to show respect.

Taking care of your family, yourself, and your possessions
 are great ways to show respect for all.

For further ideas, blogs, and tactics, check the information available at our website: hightouchlearning.com.


Saturday, June 20, 2015

Student Tips: Become a more successful student.

This blog is designed to provide helpful tips to improve your performance in school. Whether you are already a good student, or someone who is striving to improve your grades, these blogs will provide useful tactics to boost your efforts. You are already taking the first step by investigating new ideas and tactics that have been helpful to others.

The journey to becoming a better student begins with developing a healthy attitude about your education and your goals. Understanding the benefits of getting an education and what that means to you is part of the process. For example, studying with a goal in mind will add to your incentive to do better. Take a few moments to examine your reasons for studying.

Maintaining a healthy attitude involves keeping your thoughts positive about school and studying. Likewise, negative and sarcastic thinking can lead to a negative attitude and poor performance. Here are a few common examples of positive thoughts about studying.
  •  Studying is necessary for me to get ahead.
  •  Studying will help me reach my goals.
  •  Learning to study more consistently will improve my   chances of getting into college.
  • Doing well in school will give me a better chance of getting a job in health care.
  • I feel less anxious about tests when I am studying with a purpose.
There are a number of strategies and tools to help you improve your performance academically. For example, it is important to learn how to participate in class and how to benefit from the teacher’s instructions. Taking clear notes and reviewing them is part of this process. And keeping up with important concepts from your textbook will help you keep pace with your teacher.

Becoming serious about improving study habits involves time management. Setting up a specific time to study will benefit you immediately. Organizing your study space is also helpful. For example, a quite environment with easy access to your school supplies enhances concentration and attention.

The methods for boosting your performance are numerous and most are simple, common sense tactics. Activate them and you are on your way to becoming a better student. The blogs that follow will examine many of these ideas and tactics.

For further ideas, blogs, and tactics, check the information available at our website: hightouchlearning.com.


Friday, June 19, 2015

Student Tips: Make the classroom work for you.

It is a common notion among teachers that more study time is wasted in the classroom than in any other place. That’s a shame because the classroom is really the starting point of effective studying. In this setting, you are able to receive information as well as directions from your teacher if you are willing to be attentive and participate.

Here’s an important consideration:

Your teachers want you to succeed, but you have to be willing to participate in the learning process.

Your instructors want you to learn what they are teaching and benefit from the information. In most cases, they have spent years preparing for their jobs, and they can make a difference by contributing to your education. But you are an essential part of this process. How you prepare for and participate in class helps determine whether your teacher can be effective.

Let’s begin with the obvious.  

http://hightouchlearning.com/First, you have to be there. If you don’t attend class, you lose the opportunity to learn the material for that day; and, even worse, you’ll start falling behind for the entire semester.

Second, when you get to class, pick out a good seat that’s close enough to see and hear what the teacher is saying. Make sure your seat is far enough from distractions like talkative friends.

Third, be an active listener in the classroom. Work on developing strong listening skills. Your goal is to coordinate your listening and thinking with what the teacher is saying. Remember, much of the material that shows up on tests is usually presented during class. Listen closely for clues that the teacher provides regarding important information: for example, “This is important” or “Don’t forget this.”

Fourth, communicate with your teacher and ask questions when necessary. Try to see your teacher as a partner in the learning process. Be assertive enough to ask your teacher to clarify points that your don’t understand. This builds your relationship with the teacher and opens up communication. You can be sure that other students have similar questions and need to get more involved in classroom discussions.

Fifth, learn to take good notes that highlight key points and potential test questions. You can do this by indenting, underlining, or any other type of formatting that stands out. Later, you can go over this information with a highlight pen. If your notes are messy and difficult to read, redo them after class while your memory is fresh. Include friends when needed to make sure you have covered the essential points made by the teacher.

Finally, make sure you keep your thoughts about class positive. Avoid negative messages such as “Class is a waste of my time.” And avoid negative conversations with others that criticize teachers and their efforts.

For further ideas, blogs, and tactics, check the information available at our website: hightouchlearning.com.


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Student Tips: Make study time a daily priority.

Make study time a daily priority.

We discussed the importance of practicing time management in previous blogs. Establishing priorities and better planning your time are the essential components of that process. Making study time a top priority and setting up a daily routine to help manage this is a helpful tactic. Here’s a critical strategy to keep in mind when setting up a study routine.

It’s more effective to begin studying for an exam a few days in advance rather than trying to learn the material the night before the test.

To make study periods effective, establish a few simple rules.
  • First, study time requires a quiet place and a helpful atmosphere.
  • Second, distractions of all types should be removed.
  • Third, needed supplies and aids should be readily available.
  • Fourth, there should be a minimum amount of time set aside for this priority. For example, if no homework is due, consider using the time to study ahead for a test, read the next chapter, or study a topic related to your coursework.
The goal is to establish an effective level of studying for a given period of time.

It would be helpful to ask your parents to involve all members of the family in
the study time routine. Even young siblings should try to stay quietly occupied and focus on age-related books, puzzles, and games. And when needed, ask a parent or peer to help out with a specific task; for example, calling out spelling words or asking questions

More study tips and tactics are to follow. Check out our book entitled Studying Your Way to Success  for additional successful strategies to improve your academic success.

For further ideas, blogs, and tactics, check the information available at our website: hightouchlearning.com.


Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Student Tips: Design an effective study space

Make your study space work for you.

We discussed the importance of establishing a time and a place for studying. In order to concentrate and work effectively, most students require a study space that is free of distractions. By doing this, your concentration improves and learning and retaining material is easier. You already are aware of the specific distractions you must avoid. Use that insight to remove them from the vicinity of your study area.

You already know the keys to a proper study environment. They include common sense ideas and tools. But you need to activate these ideas to get started.

  • If possible, make your study table large enough to lay out your books, papers, and study tools.
  • You also will need good light in order to read and write. Your study tools should be close by.
  • Study aids range from computers to pens and paper for taking notes. A dictionary and calculator should also be available if not included on your computer software. This keeps you from getting up and searching the house for a dictionary every time your need to find the meaning of a word.
  • Some individuals prefer to keep all of their study tools in a pack or kit that can be used at school, home, and elsewhere. Such kits might include the usual: pens, pencils, and highlighters; paper and notebooks; a stapler, paper clips, ruler; dictionary and calculator; and, if available, a laptop, electronic tablet, or other helpful tech tool.
  • Add your specific study aids and devices to the above where needed. There are multiple study tools such as unique software to help you. Many are free and very helpful. Examples include spell checkers, grammar checkers, and practice tests available online. 
With your study space ready and your tools nearby, you are better able to stay on task. And by removing distractions, your mind and your senses are fully available for learning. But staying focused takes a disciplined effort, especially if the material is dry and not interesting.  

Having a routine time and a well-ordered space to study 
will help boost your performance if used consistently.

Remember to implement the time management tactics discussed in previous blogs, including setting up and maintaining a daily study time.  
There are multiple other tactics available to help with study issues, including test-taking tools and time management tactics. Make sure to exchange ideas with successful students to add to your pool of tactics to enhance your efforts.

For further ideas, blogs, and tactics, check the information available at our website: hightouchlearning.com.


Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Student Tips: Take a systematic approach to studying.

Take a systematic approach to studying.

Study strategies involve more than simply reading or looking at notes. They also include methods of organizing and reviewing material. You will find that most of the information in your textbooks is already organized in a manner that will help you link new material with the information you previously learned. For example, the information in chapter 3 is associated with the data in chapters 1 and 2. This is to help you connect the information as you read it and better understand and remember. In many courses, using new information depends on know-how learned in previous chapters. Math is a primary example of this.

Successful students often take a proven approach to their study efforts. They have learned from their experiences how to best organize, review, and retain the material they are required to learn. Most strategies involve three key parts: making a preliminary survey, reading and studying the material, and reviewing the information to improve understanding and recall. Here are a few more details of this approach to consider when creating your own strategy.

Previewing the material is an important first step. Before reading through the information, survey the material to pick out key topics. This may include looking over the following areas of text:
  • chapter and section headings
  • subheadings and text in bold print
  • highlighted items and text boxes
  • review questions and chapter summaries
  • notes from your teacher on key areas of study, and
  • any other important cues that guide your studying
Doing such a preview gives you a mental blueprint for organizing and classifying information. It short, it helps you better organize it for later use.

A second step in a systematic approach is to actively read and understand the material. Before trying to memorize information, try to understand what you are reading. Ask yourself questions as your go—for example, “What is the author’s focus?” Understanding the material adds meaning to it and helps improve your recall and ability to use the information. Make sure to identify and label important points as you study. If you cannot mark in your book, take notes or outline the main points.

The third step is to review relevant information. This review process involves more than just rereading the material. The goal of an effective review is to comprehend and learn the information for later use. Make notes of information that you want to review once again, as well as questions that you need to ask your teacher or a study partner. Here are a few helpful tips:
  • Reread important concepts and information from your reading and notes.
  • Ask yourself questions about what you have read.
  • Repeat the information by saying it aloud, writing it down, or pretending you are answering questions in class.
  • Answer the questions listed at the end of the chapters.
  • Summarize information when it fits the type of material you are learning.
  • Test and retest yourself to strengthen recall.
For further ideas, blogs, and tactics, check the information available at our website: hightouchlearning.com.


Monday, June 15, 2015

Student Tips: Sharpen your ability to recall information - A

Sharpen your ability to recall information – part A.

We have discussed tactics to improve your learning process. These have included organizing your study space and setting up a routine study time. We have also discussed the importance of taking a systematic approach to studying. All of these tactics will help improve your performance in school. Sharpening your recall skills is another practice that will add to your academic success.

You have heard of various tactics to improve your memory. Preparing your study material effectively is a helpful first step. The goal is to emphasize important points. You probably already try to do this in one way or another. Examples include identifying key points, underlining, highlighting, taking notes, outlining, and repeating key ideas to yourself. These actions help you prioritize ideas and narrow your review material. It also allows you to uniquely mark what specific information that you need to review, or any material about which you need to ask questions.

Use as many of your senses as possible when reviewing the material to be studied. Besides your vision (reading), add other senses. For example, when you read text or notes out loud, you listen to yourself, which engages your sense of hearing. When you take notes or do an outline, you are adding your fine motor skills by writing. When you use more of your senses for studying, you are likely to improve your recall of information.

Everyone has a unique way of learning and recalling information, and it’s important to discover your most effective method for recalling study material.  Some students understand and retain information by simply reading the material. Another person may retain information better by hearing the information repeated. Others may need to write down important ideas and concepts to learn them fully. Again, as you increase the number of senses you use, the better you’ll understand and retain information.

In the spirit of what we just discussed, here are a few similar tips about increasing the use of other sense besides your vision when studying.
  • Repeating information out loud or talking over important points with others involves your sense of hearing and improves recall.
  • You may enhance your learning by recording important points and replaying them later.
  • Jotting down key points or making outlines involves the use of your visual and fine motor skills and can help improve recall.
  • Typing out notes also uses your fine motor skills and is an effective way to make information clearer and better organized.
  • Combining the above tools will help improve retention.
More memory tactics are to follow in coming blogs.

For further ideas, blogs, and tactics, check the information available at our website: hightouchlearning.com.