Fall Checklist: Top 7 Tips

Chris Mann is a unique, dedicated member of our Wright Academics family. An experienced executive skills coach, Chris is always ready to help our students. He has taken on the role of morning tutor for our drop-off program and helps many students through 1-on-1 tutoring each week. This fall, he is tutoring students who are learning both virtually and in-person.

A few weeks ago, Chris came to me with his checklist. As the devoted, attentive tutor he is, he had created a checklist to help his students achieve success no matter their learning environment. We could all use some order and guidance this fall, so what better way to learn than to ask a tutor himself? Below are some of the items on Chris’ checklist. We hope these provide you and your student a practical framework for understanding how to be successful in these odd times. 

Mimic the Environment

Try to structure your student’s day as close to a school day as possible. Make sure they are doing their work upright, at a table or a desk. Doing their work in bed or in their pajamas creates a relaxed environment that is not conducive to learning. Being at school brings with it a million little details that signal to your student, This is school time now. Being more aware of these details and mimicking them within your own household will set your student up for success.

Take Notes

Encourage your student to take notes as they are listening to their teacher. Taking notes keeps your student’s brain active and engaged. Note taking encourages the student to remain active and focused within class time. Notes can be words, phrases, or even pictures of what the student is hearing. The bottom-line: Be creative. There is no one right way.

Time Blocking

Virtual learning students have much more time on their hands now. Commutes, sports practices, and after school extracurriculars have been eliminated from your student’s schedule for the time being. With more time on their hands, it is easier for students to procrastinate. In order to combat procrastination, utilize time blocking. Schedule breaks and study and homework time each day so that each of those practices become a rhythm of the at-home school day.

Maintain Social Connections

One reason I believe our drop-off program has really taken off is because students are able to interact and study with other students. They are next to other students learning and even if they are not learning the same material, having some semblance of social interaction makes learning a lot more enjoyable.

If your student is not involved in something like our drop-off program, find other ways for them to experience social interaction. Last spring caught nearly all of us by surprise and most of us let social connections go by the wayside. As a result, many students felt depressed and unmotivated. Even going for a bike ride or eating lunch together provides a small amount of social interaction that can keep students on a good path. Scheduling to have pizza while studying is another simple yet fun way to help students stay motivated and excited about learning.

Take a Day Off

Everyone needs a day to do things they really enjoy. Maybe your student enjoys going for hikes, grabbing ice cream, or playing sports. Whatever your student’s interests establish a day without schoolwork. The idea here is for the student to complete all of their outstanding work in order to enjoy their day off.

Limit Screen Time

Virtual learning students are on their screens for hours on end. Now more than ever, limiting screen time is imperative to students’ health. Time spent on video games, YouTube, and social media outlets can add up; encourage your student to put down their device and get outside.

Utilize Support

Encourage your student to reach out for support as soon as they are struggling or feeling overwhelmed. Many students will wait to ask for help until they are thoroughly in the weeds, but getting help early allows them to get the proper supports in place.

Even for virtual students, teachers are offering a lot of outside help. Many teachers are staffing their office hours, so urge your student to take advantage of that. Teachers are there to help your student LEARN! Be proactive and help your student be proactive as well.

There is a bigger picture at hand; we are showing our students how we navigate life in the face of uncertainty. There will always be challenges in this life, but we can get through them if we ask for help and focus on what is within our control.

A huge thank you to tutor Chris Mann for helping with this article! Chris is an asset to our students, staff, and community. Thank you for all you do, Chris.


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About Evelyn Wright

Evelyn Wright is the Director of Wright Academics, a tutoring business created to target kids’ specific needs. Her passion is helping students and families succeed so that they achieve their maximum potential in and out of the classroom.

With over 25 years of experience working with children and their families in public and private schools, as well as in private practice, Evelyn’s focus is understanding the individual’s learning profile, guiding families of children with learning differences and matching students to the tutor or coach that best fits the student. She believes in not only matching educational needs to the right tutor’s skills, but matching a student to the tutor with the right personality.