March 3

Executive Functions for life!

Executive functions is your brain’s ability to plan, inhibit, organise, memorise and more. These sets of skills are lifelong and take half your adult life to develop. However, we have to help students develop these otherwise not only will ‘doing school’ be hard, ‘doing life’ may be a challenge as well! This is a good article with some strategies to help develop these skills.

November 7

Assignment Organization

The children are in the thick of it now, with short term and long-term assignments. How can we help them to keep organized and work at a pace where they are not doing all the work for the project the day before it is due? One strategy that can be very helpful is calendar mapping. One way to “calendar map” is to use Gantt charts. Gantt Charts are used by business professionals to track their responsibilities across time.


Task                      Assignments Assigned:                      Assignments Due:
Math project      Feb 17                                                    March 5
English (report) Feb 12                                                     March 26
History project   Feb 2                                                      March 15
Science write-up March 2                                                March 15

There is software available: one resource is “”. It provides an excellent visual organization for assignments (both long-term and shorter-term). You may like to sign up for the “trial” which is free for two weeks to see if it is effective for your child.

Once the information is entered, it may help to look at it with your child and discuss:

•How to look at all the assignments at once in order to make a priority list as to when and how much time should be devoted to each assignment.
•Explore with your child why completing assignments ahead of time has great value, especially when the two are due close together.

You can then move to your weekly priority mapping and then your daily time management schedule. This will help him plan according to his overall workload and not just what was spoken about that day in school.

October 4

Parent-Teacher Conferences That Work: Middle and High School

Middle School and High School:  Parent Teacher Conferences That Work

This is a great time to speak with the teacher (s) to find out how your child is progressing in school and what you can do at home to build on strengths and support in challenging areas.  Also, beginning in middle school, the focus starts to shift toward college.  Knowing what to ask your child’s teacher will help them be prepared for the educational challenges ahead.


1. Be on time.  You will have a limited focused time with the teacher, so make the most of it by being prompt.
2. Decide what you would like to discuss with the teacher and write it down before hand.
3. Involve your son or daughter as much as possible.   They will be participating in the conference so to make it an invested learning experience the teachers have “front-loaded” the following questions:

a)   What have you done well?
b)   What challenges have you faced?
c)   What goals have you established?
d)   Have you thought about what you can do to improve?
e)   How can the teacher help you?
f)    What can we as parents do to help you?

Discussing these before the conference will encourage them to take ownership of their learning.


1. Understand that the teacher may have questions for you, in order to know how to best support your child.
2. Ask the teachers how you can support your child at home and strengthen or add to their knowledge base.  Find out exactly where they need to be in Math, English and other academic skills by the end of the semester.
3. Develop an action plan before you leave.  If needed, set up a plan of how to check your child’s progress and make sure to follow up on the plan.

Working as a parent-teacher team can set the stage for making a successful school year.




October 4

Parent-Teacher Conferences That Work: Elementary

Elementary School: Parent-Teacher Conferences That Work
Conference time lets people important in the life of a child share their insights. Parents can find out about the child’s progress in school. Parents and teachers can work as a team to support the child. Use some of these tips to get the most out of Parent-Teacher Conferences.
1. Before the conference day, talk to your child about school. Find out what is fun, interesting, hard, or worrying. Ask your child if there is something special s/he wants the teacher to know.
2. Jot down reminders or questions to bring up at the conference.
3. Arrange the reminders or questions in order of priority so the most important ones get talked about before time runs out. If there is a significant issue that needs attention, you may need to make more than one appointment.
4. Think of your whole child. Conferences are not devoted exclusively to academics. Consider your child’s personality, friendships, behavior, and attitude toward learning.
5. Share relevant family information that helps the teacher understand your child. Perhaps there is a new baby, serious illness, particular religious customs, and so on.
6. Arrive promptly for the conference appointment. Leave on time out of respect for other parents’ appointments.
7. Ask how you can support your child’s learning at home.
8. If a concern is mentioned, find out what strategies are working at school. Make suggestions about how you handle the situation at home. Develop a plan with the teacher. Make a follow-up schedule for the plan, such as another conference in a month or weekly emails, to check if the plan is working.
9. After the conference, share compliments and praise from the teacher with your child. Sometimes it is appropriate to share concerns and plans to help the child. Sometimes there is information that is best kept between the parents and teacher.
When a child knows parents and teachers are working together, the child sees education as a high priority. For further information on Parent-Teacher conferences, check here
Thank you for making your YIS conference appointment electronically

August 23

Homework Tips for Parents


School is back and with that comes HOMEWORK.   Research, including the Harvard Family Research Project, shows that when parents are involved with their children at school, they have a better chance at succeeding.  See below for some general homework tips.  But first for a little “homework” humor to start the year off right.


My Excuses by Arielle Perkins (January 21 1990/Washington) abridged version
I started on my homework
but my pen ran out of ink.
My hamster ate my homework.
My computer’s on the blink.I accidentally dropped it
in the soup my mom was cooking.
My brother flushed it down the toilet
when I wasn’t looking.

My mother ran my homework
through the washer and the dryer.
An airplane crashed into our house.
My homework caught on fire.

Some aliens abducted me.
I had a shark attack.
A pirate swiped my homework
and refused to give it back.

It took so long to make these up
I realized, with dread,
it would have just been easier
to do the work instead.

10 General Homework Tips


1. Let Them Unwind – Your child has been working hard all day.  Give your child 15-20 minutes after school to relax or play outside before jumping into their homework.

2. Keep snacks on hand or have your child eat before starting their work– A hungry child is a distracted child.


3. Set the scene – It is common sense, but such an important strategy.  A quiet, well-lit area in your home is the best place to do homework.  Prevent any distractions, such as turning off the television, putting away the games, changing the phone to “manner mode” etc.

4. Prepare all the material s/he needs – This includes all the basics such as pens, paper, glue, dictionary, etc.  Some parents create a homework kit.

5.  Establish a regular time – Try to establish a set time each day for doing homework.  Find a plan that works for your family and stick with it.

6. Be positive, positive, positive – A positive attitude from the parent goes a long way.  The attitude you express about homework will be the one your child develops, too.  Make sure to include plenty of praise during the process.   Every child welcomes praise from his/her parent.

7. Do the harder homework first – Do more challenging assignments first, so your child is most focused.

8. Provide guidance, not answers –This is very important as giving answers does not help your child learn the material.    Keep a balance in how much you help your child.  Homework is a great way to teach your child to be an independent lifelong learner.

9.  Teach organizational strategies – Make sure that your child has a diary/planner and is using it correctly.

10.  Watch for signs of failure or frustration – Let your child take a short break if s/he has difficulty focusing.  Talk to the teacher/tutor if you find that your child is seriously struggling.

There are many fantastic websites with homework tips.  For homework tips for various grades check out: