• Personal and Academic Success in High School and Beyond | Virginia Horan | Episode 200

  • graphic of the world on top of a stack of books and a ladder set against the books indicating personal and academic success

    You may find yourself wondering about your child’s life path. Maybe your teen is struggling academically, perhaps they have a hard time managing their schoolwork or their life. Or maybe they’re in college and struggling there. Whatever the situation, you just want to give your teen a leg up and send them off with a strong foundation. Virginia Horan has insights for you. Ginny teaches college communication courses and is the creator of The Centered Student Planner. She joins Mighty Parenting podcast host Sandy Fowler to take an inside look at what helps our kids achieve personal and academic success through high school and beyond.

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    A Favorite Quote from the Show

    Write don’t tap. When kids write they slow down their brains just enough to think about what they’re writing down.

    faint photo of student writing in notebook with computer in background and the quote Write don’t tap. When kids write they slow down their brains just enough to think about what they’re writing down.

    High Points From Our Conversation on Personal and Academic Success in High School and Beyond:

    30% of college students drop out after one year. The number 1 reason is time management. The workload is heavy, they’re on their own in managing it and they don’t have the skills to organize the work. They get overwhelmed and procrastinate.

    High school education has shifted to using a lot of rubrics and powerpoints which are passive tools so our kids have not developed skills like note taking, and time management habits that support academic success.

    Push back when tablets are introduced in elementary and middle school. Data shows these students are faring worse.

    Write don’t tap. When kids write they slow down their brains just enough to think about what they’re writing down. Typing is simply transcribing the material and they don’t process it.

    Teach your child active note taking to increase their academic success. During the act of deciding what’s important they are thinking about the material. They break it down into main idea, sub point, and example. Outlining teaches them to sort information

    Have your student use index cards to make their own flash cards. 

    Anything handwritten is superior and adding their own creativity is even better for learning and processing.

    Kids enter assignment due dates in their phones but it’s already too late once the alarm goes off. 

    They need to learn how to look at the big picture, break down assignments into chunks then work backwards from the due date to determine when each chunk needs to be done.

    Almost every school gives kids a paper planner but it’s really a tool for communicating assignments to parents and having them sign off on assignments. It’s up to parents to teach their children how to use a planner well to support academic success.

    Teach your child how to chunk and do one piece at a time instead of pulling all nighters. 

    Touching on a subject or assignment repeatedly in smaller chunks helps kids remember material better than when they take one deep dive.

    Ginny regrets not paying attention to how her daughter was getting her work done in high school. Ginny was just thrilled she was getting it done. But her daughter hadn’t learned to look at the big picture and to chunk her time

    Student services at college can help them learn these skills so they can achieve personal and academic success.

    Don’t bail your child out. Support them and help them find resources to assist them.

    Our kids need a growth mindset to achieve personal and academic success. You can help by praising effort rather than end results; talk about going back and improving things.

    It feels like we’re skipping the step of teaching our kids how to learn.

    The brain is amazing and it can do so much that our attention wanders when we try to do one thing, like listen to a teacher. The average person speaks about 150 words per minute. The brain can take in 400-600. This gap leaves room for our brain to do other things. Hand writing notes uses that capacity and helps us stay focused.


    Parenting Problem – The Surprising Solution Might Be Time Management for Teens | Leslie Josel | Episode 21

    Parenting Tips: Ending Procrastination Once And For All | Leslie Josel | Episode 51

    Our Guest Virginia Horan:

    I graduated from the University of Dayton Summa Cum Laude in 1987 with a degree in broadcast journalism and minors in marketing and Spanish.  I began a career in advertising and public relations as a copywriter and account executive while attending New York University at night where I earned my M.A. in Speech Communication in 1991.  I was fortunate to get a faculty position at Suffolk, the largest community college in New York State.  I’ve received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellent in Teaching and in the last decade, have embraced using more embedded support in my teaching (note taking, time management, study techniques).  I am also the Academic Chair of the Humanities which covers Communication, Philosophy & English.  Two years ago I taught students how to use a paper planner and they said it was life changing.  Since I could not find a planner that infused positive psychology into week at a glance format, I made my own!  The Centered Student LLC is my attempt to help more than just the students I teach, and to empower them to be successful in college and high school.  The planner links to a private Youtube Channel with college success tips and tutorials.

    photo of Virginia Horan for her guest appearance on Mighty Parenting to discuss Personal and Academic Success in High School and Beyond

    To learn more or connect with our guest visit http://www.thecenteredstudentplanner.com/ 

    From Our Sponsor:

    You can’t teach your child how to lower their stress if you’re stressed. Grab Sandy Fowler’s complimentary lesson at http://sandyfowler.com/notime to find out how to lower your stress without adding anything else to your plate!


    As a retired teacher I saw the need for the skills and habits Virginia Horan has spoke of in her interview. Her excellent student planner and videos are an extremely competent way to help today’s students learn the life skills that will not only make them successful in college but will improve their ability to navigate life effectively!


    Thanks for sharing that Bernadette. I also love the way she designed the planner to help our kids succeed, not just write things on a calendar.