The following is an excerpt from Ally Learning’s Five Keys to Building a Healthy Student Mind. This concise and straightforward guidebook will be available for FREE download on our website soon!


The First Key


Be Prepared


Getting Started

The first step to being successful in any occupation is to be well prepared. Superstar athletes, while bestowed with natural talent, do not get to where they are without endless repetition and practice. Their actions on the field of play represent only a fraction of all the work that goes into becoming an elite athlete. The same goes for the average student. Intelligent children and adults struggle in the classroom simply because they don’t put the work in. However, every student, no matter what his or her learning level, has the opportunity to succeed if they put the time in. And this all begins with preparedness.


Be Rested, Have Energy

Getting the right amount of sleep is crucial for a student’s success, especially a teenager. As children gets older they start to stay up later and later while at the same time starting the school day at an earlier hour. This is bad for two reasons. 1. Not enough sleep will cause fatigue at different points during the morning/early afternoon. 2. Most likely the student will wake up as late as possible and not do all the tasks they should do in the morning in order to get a good start to his or her day; such as eating a good breakfast.


Most of us have heard our mothers tells us that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Yet, many of us consume an undernourished meal most mornings of the week. Having a bowl of sugary cereal when there is an important exam in second period is an unwise decision. A warm breakfast is what is needed on such a day, or any school day for that matter. The kind of breakfast often associated with Sunday morning.  Now we know that these breakfasts are more costly and timely than average cereal. However, a toaster can be a parent’s best friend in this regard. A warm bagel with cream cheese and orange juice is a good start. Scrambling eggs is quick. As far as meat goes, bacon or sausage can be prepared the night before and heated up in a microwave the next day. A cost-friendly option is warm oatmeal with fruit. All of this is better than sugary cereal with milk.



To be prepared a student must first be organized. Organization starts with having all the correct school supplies right at the beginning of a new semester. A folder and notebook for each subject or class are must haves. These folders should have dividers to sort out the different types of assignments. Always keep the syllabus at the front of the folder. Sharpened pencils, pens, and notebooks for each class are also needed in every subject. For math classes, the student should have access to the appropriate calculator in both the classroom and at home*.  More specific supplies will depend on the subject/class. Having all the necessary school supplies will help students be more efficient and effective classwork as well as homework.


Semesters are long and schedules and curriculum sometimes change over time. Teachers may forget to include certain supplies on the syllabus. Additionally, it doesn’t take much for a well-organized folder to transform into a pile of chaos. Parents need to periodically look at their children’s folders and backpacks and encourage them to stay organized. After all, the well-organized students tend to be the ones who make their parents smile with Report Cards.


*Calculators can be costly. Be sure that if the student doesn’t have access to one at home that he/she can get work done at school. Fortunately, we have several graphic calculators on hand at our Ally Learning Center in Redford.


Time Management

Finally, scheduling and blocking out times of the day to complete homework will help any student stay on task. When students are dismissed for the day, classes may have ended but schoolwork isn’t done yet. Students and parents must choose what time is best for completing homework. Reading books, writing essays, working on projects, and studying for exams are just a few of the tasks that are done primarily outside the classroom. There will be times when these various assignments may have to be dealt with on a single week or even a single night. It is when this occurs, that students tend to encounter real trouble and their grades inevitably suffer. Fortunately, nights like this can be avoided. The key is to not wait and procrastinate with all the various assignments from all the different classes. Completing homework, or parts of homework, prior to the night before the due date will alleviate much stress and produce higher grade marks.

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