How to Help Your Child Succeed in School

help your child succeed

Help!  Moooooooom, I need help. 

I helped my kids in school and my kids really did need help. School today is hard! I think it is so much harder than when I went to school. I got into the University of Florida without a single AP class.  I took the SAT one time. I didn’t need or receive any help from my parents. The school workload today is different and you may want to consider how you can help your child succeed in school without, of course, doing their work for them. 

Most of what I helped my kids with (other than math–math is so hard) was understanding the disciplines of success for any endeavor–school, college, work, sports, etc. Three musts for success in life and all of the above are as follows:

1. Must Manage Time Well

The most recent numbers from the National Center for Educational Statistics reveal that kids spend, on average, just over 33 hours a week at school. And that doesn’t even include the time they spend doing homework—an estimated 2-4 hours per week in elementary and middle school and as much as 17.5 hours per week in high school. That means your child will be spending an average of 35-51 hours each week simply attending school and doing the assigned homework.  That is a lot of time! I shared that with my kids.  I told them that school was a full-time job and if they treated it as such they would do well.

When my kids came home with a bad grade and launched into a looong, detailed explanation of how it happened, complaining that they simply “didn’t have enough time” to study well for their test.  I gave them a friendly reminder along the lines of, “Hmm, didn’t I see you playing on your phone and watching TV and dilly-daddling around your room the night before the test? Maybe you could have used that time to study.” If we don’t see our kids managing their time well, it’s critical that we point it out and be a source of encouragement (hopefully not nagging!) moving forward.

2. Must Make School a Top Priority

In our family, our list of priorities goes like this: God, Family, School, Extracurricular Commitments, Friends. So when things get busy, the first things to go in our kids’ lives are time hanging out with friends and their extracurriculars. The three things that we never sacrifice are time with the Lord, time with family, and time on schoolwork.

I’ll never forget the year my son won an award in 3rd grade for being “the fastest” to get his work done in class. To this day, I believe it’s because it had been instilled in his mind that getting his school work done came before playing outside.  And getting outside was his goal, so he learned to finish fast!  It’s so important to prioritize things for your family from the start so your kids know what is expected and can make choices that respect those priorities.

3. Must Put in their Best Effort

When kids view school as their job, they’ll quickly realize that more than just minimum effort is required. But if you don’t enforce the effort they may let it slide.  When I found my kids sliding I would remind them that we want to give 110%. We want to give 100% because that is expected. Then we want to give an extra 10% for the Lord.  That is going beyond what is expected and delighting God with our efforts.  

When my kids were in their teens they went to Kanakuk camp. The very first year they went, at the end of camp, I went to the closing program.  Both my girls won the same award–the 110% award.  Their counselors independently said the same thing–your daughter went above and beyond everything I asked of her. The girls were just used to giving that level of effort.

As parents, we should be helping our children build a foundation now that will help them succeed for the rest of their lives, and a strong work ethic is valued throughout a person’s life! Encourage your child to give schoolwork their all. Ultimately, our kids have to understand that the more they put into it, the more they’ll get out of it. 

What habits do you think are most important to help kids succeed academically? Let us know in the comments below!


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Posted On: April 07, 2016     cat-folder Parenting
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7 Things Wives Should Tell Their Husbands

things wives should tell their husbands

Words of encouragement is my love language, but not Mark’s. I absolutely love it when Mark compliments me. In fact, I NEED him to compliment me! Sometimes I forget, though, that he also needs affirmation from me even if it’s not his love language. We all need some level of affirmation. Husbands and wives both need verbal love from their spouse, and I’m working on doing a better job of letting Mark know how much I respect and appreciate him.

As terrible as it sounds, I had to give it some thought as to how to make sure the affirmation I gave him packed some punch. Mark and I are writing a “his and hers” set of books for husbands and wives.  I was reviewing the content for it and found a blog on Mark’s site that he had written about what husbands want to hear from their wives.  

Scary! Do you think he is trying to give me a hint? I am afraid to ask! But I am going to take him at his word and try these 7 things wives should tell their husbands on him…we will see if he notices :)

1. “I love being your wife.”

As simple as it sounds, husbands want to know that their wives are content in their marriage and truly enjoy just being with them. When is the last time you thanked your husband for marrying you? Don’t just assume he knows you still love being with him. Tell him!

2. “I’m really attracted to you.”

It’s a myth that women are always more looks-conscious than men. As guys’ hairlines begin to recede and stomachs start protruding, they can become very sensitive about their appearance. Never joke about how your husband looks.  Tell him he’s “hot” and how attracted you are to him.

3. “I really respect the decision you made.”

No surprise here.  Mark, is big on being respected, especially by me. When a man makes a decision, especially a tough one, he doesn’t want his wife being critical of it. He wants to know that his wife is behind him and admires his ability to make good decisions. That’s not to say you shouldn’t share your thoughts with him, but also affirm his ability to make good decisions.

4. “I’m so grateful for your spiritual leadership.”

All of us are hardwired for a relationship with God, and many men want to be seen as the spiritual caretakers of their families. Encourage your husband in his faith and thank him for taking his role as a spiritual leader seriously.

5. “You are so wise.”

Many men are born problem solvers and relish the process of thinking through something and arriving at a solution. This, incidentally, is why your husband is always trying to “fix” your problems when all you want him to do is listen (which happens in our marriage all the time!). When that happens, your husband is expressing love to you by trying to help you. Express love to him in return by emphasizing to him that you trust his wise judgment.

6. “You’re an outstanding father.”

Deep in the heart of every man is the desire to be seen as a hero—especially to his children. Compliment your husband for being a good father. Specifically tell him why he is your kids’ hero. And as soon as possible, maybe tonight at dinner, tell your children why he is so special.

7. “I appreciate how hard you work to provide for our family.”

There are many things in life that your husband cannot control, but one he can control is effort. It brings him great pleasure to work hard and see the results. To directly control and be the man responsible for creating something from nothing thrills him. Encourage his great work ethic and desire to provide for your family.

These are 7 things Mark thought of, but how do you let your husband know that you appreciate him? Let us know in the comments below!



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Posted On: April 05, 2016     cat-folder Marriage
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How to Break Your Child’s Sense of Entitlement


A familiar trope in movies and TV shows for kids, tweens, and teens is kids complaining that they didn’t get something they think they deserve. They complain about a teacher giving them a poor grade. They whine to their friends about their parents giving them an early curfew or not letting them go to a party. They call coaches dumb when they don’t make the team. They expect other people to bend over backwards doing things for them, with younger siblings and “dorky” friends frequently falling victim to their demands. 

The scary thing is that this theme, used for comedic value in the entertainment targeted at our children, is far too often found in the real world. Have you ever been shocked to find that your child believes they deserve something, that they are entitled to something they clearly haven’t earned? An entitlement is something that is granted to someone without them having to earn it. It is given without any effort. And unfortunately, our culture is encouraging our children’s sense of entitlement. My husband, Mark, asked me to join him on this podcast to tackle the worrisome trend of entitlement that is growing in recent generations and has become all too prevalent among kids today.

Before we can discuss how to break your child’s sense of entitlement, I have to share some common lies that fuel entitlement.

4 Things Our Children Often Believe

  1. I deserve an “A.”
  2. I deserve to make the team.
  3. I deserve to be served.
  4. I deserve to do what my friends do.

That last one is SO common! In our house, we always tried to encourage hard work and a spirit of gratitude–the enemies of entitlement. But sometimes when the kids’ friends were doing things they weren’t allowed to do and had things they weren’t allowed to have (or we couldn’t afford to buy!), a spirit of entitlement would rear its head. The dreaded phrase, “but if HE can do that, why can’t I?” was heard a few too many times. 

So what did we do about it? Listen to the full podcast here for tips about helping your child overcome a sense of entitlement. 

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Posted On: March 31, 2016     cat-folder Parenting
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