Monday, 29 January 2018

Stay motivated and keep on track with your school work.

Stay motivated and keep on track with your school work.

Do not feel overwhelmed by difficult learning material.

We’ve all been there - struggling with a certain subject; seeing this big mountain of work before you; feeling tempted to give up.  How can you deal with these overwhelming thoughts?  How do you stay motivated and where do you begin?

Start small, but start immediately.
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.  Sometimes we only see a big pile of work to do.  We don’t know how we are ever going to get everything done.  The key is simply to start.  Even if you only do one sum or read one page or write one word – you are still closer to achieving your goal than you were before.

See the bigger picture.
Many learners struggle to see the bigger picture when they come across a little stumbling block.  For instance, there might be one math equation they struggle with and because they cannot solve this small problem they give up on math forever.  If you give up on math, you limit your options later on.  You need math in order to study various disciplines at the university.  Not only that, but certain parts of your brain are stimulated when you try to solve a math problem.  Mathematics is also very crucial for many other disciplines, such as science, economics, accountancy etc. and those fields of study relates to others.  The development and stimulation of all parts of your brain is crucial in order for you to reach your fullest potential.  The absence of any one of them is like a missing piece of a puzzle.  It is your job to figure out where and how each piece of the academic puzzle fits into each other.  Don’t just focus on a single small problem, know that you are working towards something bigger and that you are greater than any obstacle in your way. 

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.
Don’t worry so much about making mistakes.  From an academic point of view, the only way to make progress is to learn from your mistakes and not repeat them.  In fact, the more mistakes you make while doing homework and working out past and example test- and exam papers, the less mistakes you will make in the actual exam.  You will learn what you did wrong and why it is wrong.  You will understand the principles and concepts, not just learn the right answer just to forget it straight after the test.  

Surround yourself with like-minded people.
There are many students just like you working very hard, trying to get good grades and also feeling stressed.  Find those people!  They will encourage and inspire you to keep moving forward.

Ask for help.
Your teacher will always try to help – that is why they are there.  Explain to your teacher exactly what you are struggling with and why you don’t understand certain areas of the work.  If you know one of your peers are doing really well in a certain subject, don’t be hesitant to ask.  People love to share their knowledge. You also just might make a new friend and study partner.

This too shall pass.
Studying for tests and working really hard can be an unpleasant experience.  However, the test will come, regardless whether you’re ready or not.  Give it everything you have, put in the effort and once it’s over you can take time to relax again.

Remember that hard work will always pay off.  Jim Watkins said, “A river cuts through rock, not because of its power, but because of its persistence.”  Stay persistent with your studying and don’t ever give up.  Let us know what motivates you and how you deal with difficult subjects.  

Monday, 22 January 2018

Five reasons why working hard now pays off later.

Five reasons why working hard now pays off later.

Build your future on a solid foundation.

All achievements are built on a solid foundation of hard work and persistence.  And the best way to ensure your success in the class room is to start working from day one.  It is sometimes very easy to decide to postpone homework or studying because there isn’t an exam in the next few months.  However, a few months can quickly turn into one month, one month turns quickly into a week and before you know it, it’s the day before your exam.  You have procrastinated far too long.  Don’t let procrastination get the better of you.  Here are 5 reasons why you should work hard now.

  1. When you work hard from the get-go you get into a habit of working hard and efficiently.  When you are already in a habit of working hard, studying for an exam doesn’t feel foreign.  This way you will work and study more productively in the long run.
  2. Doing your homework from day one you familiarise yourself with the content of the work and then when you start studying for the test you already know which topics are harder and on which modules you need to spend more time.  You can plan ahead more easily and find teachers and tutors in advance to help you with difficult topics. 
  3. All your studies build on top of each other.  For example, Grade 11 math is more complex than Grade 10 math, but the foundations of your Grade 10 math should be solid in order for you to understand Grade 11’s work.  If you work hard now, you will have a stronger academic foundation, not only for this year’s end-exam, but also for the following years.
  4. Working hard from the start takes the pressure off from studying for exams.  When you start to cram all the work in the night before an exam, you will feel flustered and tense.  That’s why starting off the school year with great work ethic will make the rest of the year much more enjoyable.
  5. Ultimately working hard leads to good grades which will open up a lot of doors in your future, including opportunities to go study at a university or work opportunities.  Who knows, by building yourself up through constantly working hard over the years to achieve your goals, you might become the CEO of a distinguished company.  

When you work hard you give yourself the best chance of succeeding.  Gary Player said, “The harder I work the luckier I get.”  When we put in the hard work, we will be rewarded.  

Do you ever procrastinate on your studies or do you always try to work hard from the beginning?  Share with us your experience about the benefits of working hard.

Monday, 15 January 2018

Four tips to help you set up a schedule for a successful school year.

Four tips to help you set up a schedule for a successful school year.

What should you do during the first week of school?  Set up your schedules of course, and plan ahead while you still have time on your side!

Have you ever heard the famous saying by Benjamin Franklin “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail”?  Benjamin Franklin certainly understood the importance of planning and every well laid out plan contains a schedule.  A schedule is one of the most important tools we can use to achieve our goals.  

Set up 3 essential schedules.
There are 3 important schedules you need to help organise your activities for a balanced lifestyle:  
  1. A Monthly Calendar that shows all the months of the year and important dates.  You can download your free 2018 School Calendar that includes all important dates on our website.  You should also add all specific events that you already know of to this schedule.  
  2. A Weekly Schedule that shows which sport, culture and extra mural activities you have for each day of the week as well as important tests and assignments that are coming up.  
  3. A Daily Planner that includes a ‘To-Do list’, homework and specific tasks that need to be completed on that day.  
Map out how much time you need for each activity.
A healthy, balanced lifestyle should contain your school work, sport- and culture activities, time for family and friends, as well as leisure time.  Your schedule should map out how much time you need to spend on each activity during the week.  However, there are cycles that occur when you will have to adapt your schedule.  When there is a big test coming up, you need to prioritise homework and studying for the test. During school holidays you can spend a lot more time on hobbies and with your family and friends.  The key is to juggle between all the important activities and adapt your schedule to create a balanced lifestyle.  

Manage your Daily Schedule.
  1. Plan your day the night before by writing down the tasks you know you will need to do that day.
  2. Leave enough time to do homework you receive on that same day which needs to be completed for the next day.
  3. Write down very specific objectives.  For example, don’t just write down “Do homework”, rather be specific by writing “Do math homework sums 1 – 10 page 7.”
  4. Do the most difficult task first.  When you complete the hardest task first you will feel instant relief and feel motivated to do the next task.  
  5. Don’t multi-task.  There is an Irish proverb that says “If you chase two rabbits, you will catch none.”  This means if you try to do two or more tasks at once, you won’t do any of them well.  Rather focus on one thing at a time and each task will be completed quicker and more accurately.  
Incorporate free time and fun activities in your schedule.
No one can constantly work hard and not become fatigued.  When you start to feel tired, you become sluggish and work inefficiently.  You can easily fall behind on your schedule and miss deadlines.  The best way to study and do homework is in intervals of 40 minutes of work with 10 minute breaks in-between.  Also remember to reward yourself with a longer break after you are finished with a subject or topic.  Reward yourself when you have ticked off everything from your ‘To-Do list’, because all of these little accomplishments will bring you closer to reaching your goals.  Also celebrate your big achievements, for instance when you got good marks on your test, because it will keep you motivated.  

Sticking to a schedule can sometimes be hard and requires a lot of self-discipline, but in the long run it helps achieve greatness.  

Do you use any of these essential schedules and are there other scheduling methods you utilise to help you stick to your plan?  

Monday, 8 January 2018

Prepare for the first day of a new school year like a pro.

Prepare for the first day of a new school year like a pro.

The first day of school can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be…

We all have a vision what the perfect first day of school should be like.  We don’t feel stressed about it during the holidays, but then a few days before school starts all of a sudden fear creeps in and we imagine the worst case scenario.  Who will be your register teacher?  Will your friends be in your class and if not, next to whom will you sit?  Will you be able to find your classrooms?  Will you fit in or will you be picked on?  How do we prevent such a semi-panic attack?  

Accept that not everything will go according to plan.  The first day of school can be a little unpredictable.  It is normal to feel a bit nervous about all of the variables and uncertainties.  However, there are many things that you can control on your first day of school.  And the things you can control should be under control.  Here are our best pieces of advice on how to prepare for your first day of school.

Don’t postpone getting your school supplies until the last minute.
Getting your school supplies is a tedious task.  This is why we suggest that you get your stationary and text books early enough so that you don’t have to wait in long queues at a stationary store, stressing about plenty other things to do and forgetting to add half of your list to your shopping basket.  A good idea is to mark your stationary with your name and surname.  You might not think it is very cool right now, but you’ll wish that you did if you lose your calculator right before your big test and don’t have a way to reclaim it from someone else…  Become inspired and excited for the first day of school by decorating your books and files.  You can also fill in important dates in your homework diary.  All of the important dates are available on our 2018 School Calendar for free on our website. 

Know what time you have to get up.
Being late for school on your first day will only make you feel flustered and more stressed.  This is why you need to wake up early to give yourself enough time to get ready for school.  Make sure you give yourself at least an hour and 10 minutes to get up, eat a good breakfast, get dressed and pack a healthy lunch before you leave for school.  Also add the estimated traveling time it takes you to get to school.  Make sure you get in a routine at least 3 days before school starts by waking up the time you would for a normal school day.

What is done, is done.
The evening before school starts you can already pack your school bag and lay out your school uniform.  This is a little trick to help you get ready and dressed in no time, because your brain doesn’t have to think where your tie or socks are.  

Know what you are going to eat at school for lunch.
Do not skip out on packing lunch.  It is essential for busy children and teenagers that are still growing to eat healthy and regularly.  Healthy eating does not mean hours of preparing gourmet meals or unappetising leeks and celery.  With a little bit of research, planning and preparation you can pack an easy, healthy and delicious lunch box every day of the week.  Make sure you have all of the ingredients available beforehand.  Also pack a healthy snack and remember to take a bottle of water with so that you stay hydrated.  If you buy lunch at school, make sure you have the right amount of money with you.  

Remember that first impressions last.
The most important thing to prepare the day before school starts is your mind.  When you walk into first period with a positive attitude you will feel prepared for anything.  Remember to laugh when things don’t go according to plan – everyone else is just as nervous as you are.  Introduce yourself to new friends, remember new faces and new names – they will certainly remember yours.  

The first day of school can be scary, but as Penelope Ward said, “Replace the fear of the unknown with curiosity”, and you will be just fine.  

How do you normally prepare for the first day of school?  Have you had any interesting experiences on the first day of school?  

Monday, 1 January 2018

How to set New Year’s resolutions that you will actually achieve.

How to set New Year’s resolutions that you will actually achieve.

Get the maximum out of your 2018 School Year.

Thinking about the New Year ahead is an exciting time for everyone.  Every person wants to better themselves in some way – after all, we are only human, regardless of admitting our flaws to others.  During the holidays we have regained our strength and feel driven to become a better version of ourselves and achieve our dreams.  For some reason the first of January is considered the perfect opportunity to begin this quest to pursue our ‘best selves’.  This means letting go of our past and things that hold us back, as well as setting new goals. 

Although setting goals are very important for a successful life, the truth is only 8% of people that make New Year’s resolutions succeed at achieving it.  By February 80% of people have already given up on their New Year’s resolutions and have fallen back to the bad habits of their former self.

Is change really that hard to make?  Is there some way we can become that 8%?  How can we remain persistent in achieving our goals? 

Research shows the following methods will improve your chances of keeping true to your New Year’s resolutions.

The key to success is to properly defining your goals.
The first step, before you can begin with your journey to become your best self is to set very specific goals.  You won’t achieve anything if you do not know what you are setting out to accomplish.  If you do not have a specific endpoint you will easily lose focus along your journey and stray from your course. 

What do you want to achieve?  Write your goals down, in explicit detail.  Write down by when you want to achieve them and how you are going do it.  Think of all of the possible ‘best versions of yourself’.  Even if some ideas seem over ambitious and make you afraid of failing. 

After you have finalised and defined your goals, write it out neatly or type it out.  Print three (3) copies.  Place one copy next to the mirror you look at in the morning, one next to your bed and one next to the door you walk through the most.  Why is this important?  It takes approximately 21 interactions to form a habit.  If you look at your New Year’s goals 3 times a day for 21 days in a row, your brain will start to make a very strong connection with these goals.  Deep in your subconscious it will be rooted and without even actively thinking about it your mind will begin to plan strategies, resolve problems and finding creative ways to pursue your dreams and make it a reality.  The next time when you consciously think about your goals and the obstacles to overcome, it will be as if you have all of the answers. 

Don’t tell people your goals.
Many people will say that you should share your goals with family and friends.  Do not do this.  When you tell people your goals your brain has a moment of instant gratification.  By telling people what you have set out to achieve, it has the same euphoric effect on the brain as actually achieving it.  So every time you tell someone your goal, your brain gets the same satisfaction as “achieving” something.  Your drive to actually pursue your dream becomes very low and you most likely won’t achieve that goal.  However, you can choose one person, and only one, in whom you can confine and tell your goals and dreams to.  Don’t make this person a friend or someone that isn’t also very determined to achieve their goals.  They will allow you to slack off, since they don’t keep up their pace.  Make this person someone you respect and trust.  Someone with authority that also cares about you, like a parent or mentor.  They can keep you motivated and hold you accountable to reach your goals.  But remember, only you can achieve your goals.  You have to put in the effort.  You are the only one that can make your dreams come true.  You cannot sit around, not doing anything and expect results. 

Break up big dreams into smaller goals.
Completing your school education is just part of a much larger dream every child has.  Perhaps you already know what you want to do one day for your profession or perhaps not yet.  It is important to keep in mind that everything you do now does fit into a larger plan.  You will have to get excellent marks in school in order to be able to get admission to study at the university.  If your dream is to become a doctor or veterinarian and you are passionate about saving lives, you might already be interested in biology and science, but unfortunately you cannot avoid taking maths.  Even if you don’t particularly like it, you will have to work hard at it.  Visionary architects have to design their mega structures according to the laws of physics and science.  Aerospace engineers sometimes have to get their minds out of space and work on an economic budget.  Do you prefer the rugby field over accountancy and would much rather become a sports hero than doing an office job?  Then by all means exercise daily and perfect the necessary skills, but remember that doing sport is only half of the equation.  You cannot compete professionally if you are in your 50’s.  You will have to understand economics and invest your income.  You can hire someone to do that for you but you will never know if you are being deceived and cheated.  Nothing is worse than a good sportsman that made bad business choices.  The same goes for other unconventional professions.  If you make it big as a rock star, you will have to understand language as there are many legal contracts that you have to read through.  Language is not just for authors or lawyers. 

Now that you realise in order to achieve your goals you will have to work on your school education, we will discuss how you can approach learning and make this your best school year.

Let’s say you want to achieve an average of 80% for all your subjects by the end of the year.  You simply can’t get 50% throughout the year and expect a high mark for your final exam.  Big goals are only achieved by smaller accomplishments every day, consistently performed to your best ability.  If you want a distinction for all your subjects, you will have to do your homework every day; you have to study every day.  You have to work hard constantly, not just on days when you “feel like it”.  On top of that, you have to do extra.  If you do your homework and study hard, but you still struggle with the topic, then you have to access more resources.  You can get help from a tutor, watch and read tutorials and study guides.  You can use your ASP-SchoolProjects subscription to work through practice test and exam papers. 

If you put in the effort, you will be successful.  Arnold Schwarzenegger said, “You can’t climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets.” 

Motivate yourself daily.
If a total of 92% of people quit their New Year’s resolutions, you need to be in the 8% of people that keep pursuing their goals.  This means to motivate yourself daily.  There will be days where you aren’t going to feel like doing homework or studying; training for the athletics, going to choir practice, or playing the violin.  Some days you are going to feel tired, drained or just not in the mood.  But you are not going to quit!  You have to remind yourself that you are in the top 8% of the world that will stick to their plan. 

Ways to overcome this is to look for motivational quotes and paste them all over your bedroom walls.  Keep a diary where you have pictures of your heroes in.  Have a vision board to remember your goals.  Remind yourself that you are worthy of achieving every goal and dream you have. 

“People often say that motivation doesn't last.  Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily.” - Zig Ziglar

Lastly, have fun!
Working hard to achieve your goals isn’t supposed to be horrible – it should be fun!  Visualise yourself having the things you want.  Visualise how you are going to feel when you achieve that goal.  Imagine how good you are going to feel when you run faster, get great marks, sing higher notes or play better sports and when you make yourself proud!  Be excited and inspired because we are given one life and it is a good life - even though it is hard some days.  We should strive to become our best selves, because we deserve to be who we are meant to be.  Steve Jobs said, “The only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work.  And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.”

New Year’s Resolutions are fun and exciting to make.  We would love to hear your story and how you plan on pursuing your New Year’s goals.  What has your life been like in the past and how long do your New Year’s resolutions normally last?  Perhaps you have already overcome some of these obstacles and have started to build the future you want for yourself.  Do you have any advice and motivational quotes that inspired you to make a change?  Please share it with us!  We wish you all a wonderful New Year!

May 2018 be your best year ever! We have started a new blog series to support you throughout the year!

Happy New Year!

We wish you and your family many blessings and joyful moments during 2018. May this good joy last throughout the year!

We care deeply about the education and wellbeing of every developing child.  For they hold the key to the future of humanity - they will propel our society forward in ways previously unimaginable.  It has always been our mission to support learners in the preparation of their future. It is our wish for every child to reach their full potential! 

This year we plan to add even more value to your child’s education.  ASP-SchoolProjects has started a new blog series that will appear every Monday for the whole of 2018.  Our aim is to share valuable advice, tips and tricks to enhance your child’s learning experience.  We want to assist learners to perform at their best not only in their academy, but in all fields that are necessary for their development to be healthy, happy and successful.  We want to keep learners, as well as parents and teachers motivated and inspired throughout the year. 

The blog will cover topics that will be relevant to the school calendar, so make sure you follow our Blog for the weekly articles. 

We wish you a spectacular New Year.
May 2018 be your best year ever!