Friday, August 31, 2012

Want Your Kids to Get Organized for School...

School is in Session!

It's that time of year again, school is in session! Let's talk about what you can do this year to get organized and make it your best year yet!
Step 1 - Create a Study Plan
             Creating a study plan is essentially an exercise in organization and time management. To create one, begin by writing down your assignments as they are given to you throughout the day. I recommend you use your daily planner. If your school didn't provide one to you they are freely available on the internet or you can check with your local library.

Step 2 - Create a Homework Priority System
              It is vital to your academic success that you make a plan each day to tackle your home work after school. Remember, home work should also include time to study for upcoming exams and time to work on projects that have due dates well in the future. Typically, it is best to spend a few minutes a couple of times a day scheduling your work load after school. I recommend taking a break around lunch and another break right after school to do your scheduling.

Step 3 - Color Code Your Priority System
               A great way to use your homework priority system  is to color code your responsibilities. Use one color for your fixed responsibilities, i.e. school, sports, church, etc. Use a different color for homework time in each of your primary classes, i.e. math, science, english/lit and foreign language. Then use a separate color for your activities, i.e. sports, clubs, activities and another color for leisure time. Post this somewhere you and your parents are likely to see it so that you have a good reminder system. Get a copy of your Weekly Priority Planner HERE. See a completed example below.

Step 4 - Sit up Front
               I recommend sitting up front in your classes if given the option. Yes, you're less likely to be able to sleep or goof off in the front of the class, but then again, you're less likely to fall asleep or goof off if you're up there. There is more than enough time for that outside of class, so do yourself a favor and get rid of the temptation. If your still having trouble, consider finding a tutor.

Step 5 - Get Involved
               Getting involved is important for many reasons. You will build more friendships, create a more well rounded college application and give back to your community, just to name a few. All of which are important for academic success. I encourage you to look around and sign up to an activity that interests you. There are literally millions of opportunities to get involved out there so don't give up to easily if you don't see something you like right away. I recommend starting at, it's a great search engine with tons of ways to get involved in your local community.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Do What You Love and Give Back When You Can!

   You may have noticed lately that forest fires seem to run rampant in the southwestern United States every summer. Forests provide a host of benefits, including better air quality, recreational opportunities and even jobs in many industries. I was raised to love and appreciate the outdoors and I've made it a goal of mine to help protect them. 
   That's why Textbook Tactics is joining together with the US Forest Service and the National Forest Foundation to plant and raise 10,000 pine tree seedlings to help the reforestation efforts in  Eastern Arizona. The seeds for this project will be donated by the Forest Service and the soil and greenhouse space to grow the trees will be donated by local nurseries. The seeds will be planted later this year by local volunteers. They will be cared for by members of the Textbook Tactics family until October of 2013 when they will be transferred to the US Forest Service to be planted. If you are interested in getting involved in our reforestation efforts send us a message via this blog or the website, and let us know.

Monday, August 6, 2012

To Travel Abroad or Not to Travel Abroad

  Years ago I had a dream that would turn out to have a profound impact on my life. It was the beginning of the summer between my freshman and sophomore years of college. I went to bed like any other night in a summer that I could already tell was going to be another routine two month break in which I lounged around with my friends from high school. However, that night I had the most incredibly vivid dream that I was walking through the old cobblestone streets of Europe with dark, swollen rain clouds racing in above me. There were gas lamps lit and local residents scurrying through the streets to finish whatever errands they were running. I however was apparently out for a leisurely stroll in this dream, because I meandered from shop window to shop window with no concern for impending storm.
  When I woke up the next morning I knew exactly what I would be doing that summer. I was going to Europe. I rushed down to the STA office that I knew of near campus and within an hour I had booked a one month tour through Europe starting in just over three weeks! The travel agent helped me send out a rush passport to San Francisco so that I would have it in time for the trip. After that, I counted down the days until I left.
  I have to be honest though, my parents were not as thrilled as I was about this. They were pretty upset that I had gone and blown all of my money on a trip like that without consulting them. The truth was that I knew they would have talked me out of it. They were right, it was a lot of money to spend to do something I knew so little about. They had never been to Europe and they were concerned that I was going to go without any friends or family. In the end however, it turned out to be one of the best trips of my life and one that would lead me to want to give back to the world with my life's work.
  Without that crazy month in Europe, I may never have acted on my desire to travel. I visited over a dozen countries on that trip and I have been to nearly a dozen more since. Striking out on my own introduced me to new countries and languages that gave me a greater depth of character and appreciation for others in the world. It gave me confidence in my interactions with others and taught me  to be calm and clear in potentially frustrating communication situations. Most importantly it gave me perspective. The world is enormous, and it is an incredibly small world as well. The people I met on that trip and others since live thousands of miles from me, and the things I do impact them. I may never have realized how powerful each of us is if I had not taken the leap, left my home and country and become a world traveller.
  Some students struggle with whether or not they should get out and travel or study abroad. If you want my opinion, I say you should get out there and do it. And remember that the people you meet are just like you no matter their cultural differences.