11 Ways to Help your Child with Homework

By the time your child gets to high school, they should be completely self-sufficient when it comes to homework.

This skill comes more naturally to some children than to others (first-born children seem to "get-it" a little sooner than second or third, for instance).

As parents, it's our responsibility to ensure they have this skill mastered by the time they reach 9th grade.

Consider these factors when helping your child build this important habit:

Same time: Establish a specific time to complete homework and stick to it. Ideally, this would be right after school and prior to sports, social activities, and entertainment. My favorite quote is "Do the hard stuff first".

Same place: Identify a place for homework and make it the same spot every time. (e.g. kitchen table, bedroom, home office, Starbucks, etc.)

Clutter free: Clear the workspace of non-homework related items - even if it means moving items into a different room temporarily during homework time. The fewer things on the desk...

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How a Navy SEAL studies for the SAT

If your son or daughter is taking the SAT or ACT in the coming weeks, here are some tips to help them maximize their score:

Common (but good) advice

  • Register for the exam
  • Prepare well in advance
  • Match study style with learning style (e.g. book, online, classroom with students, tutor, etc.)
  • Learn tips and tricks to help manage time, guessing strategies, etc.
  • Get plenty of sleep the night before

PrepWell's "uncommon" advice

Take practice tests under real test-taking conditions - over and over again!

Let me elaborate. Many students spend a lot of time looking for hacks, tricks, and shortcuts to improve their test scores. They also normally study in "short bursts" (e.g. Study Math for 40 minutes every M, W, F) - when they really should be spending a lot more time and effort simply taking more full-length tests.

In my opinion, a large component of how well you perform on the test will be based on how much mental endurance you have built up by test day.

Most high school students aren't...

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How to Build your List of Colleges in 4 Steps

 

I talk to parents and students every day about college prep, class choices, SAT or ACT, summer jobs, etc. I love it!

Parents and students are very receptive and appreciative of the information.

There is one topic, however, that strikes fear into most people.

The question is,

"How do I build my initial list of colleges"

After all, there are over 4,000 colleges to choose from. How do I shrink that number to 20?

It's a very daunting task that begs to be put on the back burner...until now!

The video below provides a 4-step method that will help you get the ball rolling. I can't claim that this method will build the perfect list on Day 1, but it can get you close.

This is just a small example of how PrepWell Academy breaks down complex issues into small, digestible, and actionable tasks.

Technically, this Lesson gets introduced to enrolled PrepWellers in 11th grade, but it is certainly something that parents of 9th & 10th graders should be aware of as well.    

...

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Why I turned down a $25K coaching gig

I just got back from a mastermind weekend with a few business associates where we exchanged ideas about our business prospects, challenges, and best practices.

I had a chance to introduce PrepWell Academy to the group. Needless to say, they were very excited, as many of them have children in 6th - 11th grade.

One particular participant, however, took me by surprise.

He told me he had a 9th-grade son who would be thrilled to do any one of the things I've done in my life.

This guy absolutely loved the idea of PrepWell and having me as a role model for his son; however, he wanted more. He wanted me to be his son's full-time college coach.

"I'll pay you $25,000 to coach him over the next 3 years," he told me.

Wow! I wasn't expecting that.

We spent the next 15 minutes chatting about his son, his $25,000 offer, and what type of coaching I thought would be most useful to him and his son.

By the end of the conversation, I had talked him out of spending $25,000 and into enrolling in PrepWell...

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Our Family's Smartphone contract

Uncategorized Jan 07, 2017

In this post, I share our personal experience introducing smartphones to our 14-year old twin sons for the first time.  If you're grappling with how to deal with this issue, maybe it will give you some food for thought.
 
Admittedly, our 8th-graders were behind the power curve when it came to smartphones. Until two weeks ago (on Christmas Day), our twins had been using slider phones with no data. This was atypical for their peer group and they had to find ways to deal with the blowback (e.g. Dude, what's with the slider? That thing's ancient).

We knew we were treading on thin ice. Teenagers are more concerned about impressing their friends than their parents - and our sons were on the wrong side of that trade.

We struck a deal with them a few years ago. If they could demonstrate maturity, responsibility, and patience with their slider phones, we would consider upgrading someday. 

That someday had finally come. We couldn't justify leaving them in the Stone Age for...

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7 Repeatable Skills that change your life

7 Essential Skills for Teens

I believe professional success is directly related to how well we master 7 essential skills. If we master these skills, it won't matter if we go to Princeton University, Wichita State, or East Lansing Community College.

It won't matter if we ultimately enter the private sector, public sector, or outer space - we will succeed in life.

I deployed (and re-deployed) these 7 skills hundreds (if not thousands) of times during my 30-year journey from Yale University, to Investment Banking, to the Navy SEALs, to Harvard Business School, to Firefighting, to Entrepreneurship, to Shark Tank, to PrepWell Academy.

The daily roles and responsibilities in each of these fields were dramatically different. The skills required to get into each of these fields were dramatically similar. And that's the point.

The reason these skills are so "essential" is because they are so "repeatable".

Learning these repeatable skills will allow you to adjust, change, regroup, and...

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Lessons Learned from Thanksgiving Olympics

Every Thanksgiving, my extended family gets together in Palm Desert. Our group includes eight adults and eleven cousins from 4 - 17 years old.

For the last few years, I have organized a "Thanksgiving Day Junior Olympics" competition for the kids. This year, 8 of the 11 cousins participated.

The specific events (which are kept secret until game day) test a wide range of physical abilities, athletic skills, and random gameplay. It's an all-day affair (11am to 6pm) with a few breaks for water and snacks.

2016 List of Events

  1. Swim (sprint distance)
  2. Swim (long distance)
  3. Jump from 8-foot ledge into pool, underwater somersault immediately into a 20-foot underwater swim (all on a breath-hold)
  4. Submerge a water polo ball to bottom of pool using only one hand (must tap the bottom of pool with ball 2x)
  5. Plank (minimum 2 minutes, more points for longer endurance)
  6. Billiards
  7. Bean Bag toss
  8. Shuffleboard
  9. Running (sprint, 1x around lake)
  10. Running (long distance, 2x around lake)
  11. Running (40-yard dash...
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How to help your child do hard things

For children, trying new things can be hard. Whether it's acquiring a new skill, making new friends, dealing with a new environment, or taking direction from a new coach - it's hard to get comfortable being uncomfortable.

This ability to push through discomfort at a young age is an early and accurate signal of how well children will do in high school, college, and life. Children with this type of "grit" fare better than those without.

Angela Duckworth, an expert on this topic, defines grit as "perseverance and passion for long-term goals".  Duckworth found that students who made a regular practice of doing "hard things" during their childhood, were better prepared to deal with the challenges and obstacles of adulthood.

How do we, as parents, manage the balance between supporting our children to push through hard things and forcing them to do so?

Below is one method, based on Duckworth's extensive work, that can be adopted by any family.

The Hard Thing Rule

Rule #1
Each...

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When is it okay for your child to quit an activity?

mentorship Nov 03, 2016

Sports, music, clubs, community service and other extracurricular activities will soon become very important in the college admissions process. They paint a picture of who your child is and how they choose to spend their time. Deciding which and how many activities to pursue can be a challenge. Deciding when to quit a particular activity can be fraught with indecision as well.

What do you do when your son or daughter wants to quit something? Do you let them? Or do you force them to stick it out? Consider these factors first:

Commitment

  1. Financial: This is an easy one. If you've already paid for 6 months of piano lessons, then Little Johnny will complete the 6-month commitment.  You've bought (no pun intended) yourself some time before having to revisit the issue again.
  2. Friendship: This is a bit tougher. If your child joined the swim team "with a friend", tell your child that it's not fair to abandon that friend mid-season. This should be a pretty easy sell and will likely buy...
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Why is it so hard to get into college today?

college preparation Nov 01, 2016

Getting into college is becoming more and more competitive - and expensive. Here are five reasons that suggest why competition has increased so dramatically:

1. More international students
International students are applying to U.S. colleges and universities in record numbers. These students are often the best and brightest from around the world and many are willing (and able) to pay full-freight for a U.S. education. Imagine how enticing these candidates are for colleges. They deliver an admissions trifecta: (1) geographic diversity, (2) high-performing students, (3) paying customers.

2. Common Application
Back in the day, high school students thought long and hard about where to apply to college. Each college had its own application, unique essay questions, quirky formatting instructions, and different submission deadlines. Adding one additional school to the target list might add weeks or months of extra work. Students proceeded with caution. With today's Common Application,...

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