Homeschooling Best Practices

The Importance Of Rest To Academic Success

by Emily Hauge, former CHESS student and graduate of the College of William and Mary

“If I go to bed right now and fall asleep in the next seven minutes I will get exactly six
hours of sleep.” Sound familiar? I know the science. I know that a lack of sleep
reduces my cognitive ability enormously, while simultaneously blurring my ability to
see the deficit. I’d venture to guess this isn’t news to you either. But why do we find it
so hard to prioritize something as basic as sleep?”

Continue to the full article






Seizing Control of Your Time

MindTools, a website for professionals, offers three comprehensive articles and tools for taking control of your time and schedule. If adult professionals need help, everyone needs help!



Classroom Courtesy Countdown!

Want to succeed in your academic and social graces this year? Read and apply the CHESS Classroom Courtesy Countdown! Special thanks to Kathy Kuhl for brainstorming this idea.
And now, the countdown…
10. Always label your work with your name in the format as requested by the teacher.
9. Write legibly.
8. If you are late for class, come in quietly.
7. Always ask permission from the teacher if you need to leave the room.
6. Raise your hand, then wait to see if you are called on before speaking.
5. Participate! You determine what you get out of the class.
4. Always ask the teacher when you don’t understand, someone else may not understand either.
3. Come prepared with your books, homework, writing tools, etc.
2. When you are absent, find out about your homework before the next class meets.
1. Always respect others, keep your hands, feet, or other personal items to yourself.


Don’t Lose Your Cool

Laura Ottaviano wrote a short article that I believe you will find encouraging.  The article was written to those who work with teens and kids in Christian ministry, but she the great advice she offers is applicable to any adult who interacts with young people.

“As an experienced youth and children’s pastor, I sometimes worried if the students I served would consider me cool as I got older.  What if I couldn’t keep up with the latest game, YouTube sensation, styles, or music etc?  (Let’s face it, those things are changing faster than ever.)

“I do try to keep up with what’s current so I can understand what’s important to them and to stay as relevant as I can in my messages. But I’ve also learned after years of ministry, that I don’t ever have to lose my cool. And if you’re called to children’s and youth ministries, neither do you.

Read more here…

Is your child a good conversationalist?

Way to go Betsy! On April 9 our own Betsy Dill was one of several teachers interviewed in a Washington Post April 9 article on parenting titled “10 ways to help your child be a good conversationalist.”

“Sometimes, the cold hard truth is that talking with our children can be an exercise in forbearance, what with the mundane topics and endless repetitions. But all is not lost! There is hope for intelligent, thoughtful, and—dare I say it?—interesting conversations with our children. The key is teaching our children what makes a good conversationalist. ‘We need to teach kids of all ages that conversation is give-and-take, with responsibilities for both participants,” says Betsy Dill, a creative writing teacher in Centreville, Va.'”

Read the full article with more quotes from Betsy.

Dealing with procrastination

It’s silent and insidious. It frustrates our hopes and dreams. It tempts us to avoid the things we feel incompetent in doing, to put off the things we’re uncomfortable with, don’t like to do, or simply don’t care to do.

Its name: Procrastination.

In this past year, how many school- or life-changing inspirations have we received but failed to accomplish because we believed Procrastination’s lies?

Here are 7 actions that can help us defeat Procrastination: 

1) Establish deadlines. Give yourself plenty of time to accomplish the work. A realistic deadline will inspire you to finish the task. After establishing this deadline, stick to it.

2) Be a finisher. Complete one simple task before starting another. Proofread the paragraph in the report before you go to lunch. Break big projects into smaller, manageable parts.

3) Build in a reward. Reward yourself when you finish a project or a portion of the project.

4) Be accountable. Have a parent or a study partner check on your progress when doing a long-term report or project. If they point out weakness in your progress, don’t begrudge them. Incorporate the good advice and push forward.

5) Say “NO” to less important duties.  Focus on your goals and priorities and don’t let less important requests interrupt those key moments when you are about to finish a critical task.

6) Renew yourself. Maybe it’s time to pause and gather yourself for the last, big push. Play a computer game. Go for a walk. Get a snack. Refresh yourself and then go back to wrap up that critical task or project.

7) Eliminate perfectionism from your thoughts and vocabulary. Perfectionism is deadening. The trap of perfectionism will sap your energy, kill your creativity and encourage procrastination.

Bottom LinePlan your work and work your plan. Establish realistic milestones with deadlines. Identify the parts of your assignment where you will be tempted to procrastinate. Start those difficult tasks when you are alert and have high energy. Build in rewards, encourage feedback from a parent, say no to less important tasks and toss perfectionism out the window! And if worse comes to worse, step away and renew yourself.

(reprinted and adapted with permission by Sue McMillin, With Time to Spare,


About Sue. Sue McMillin is a professional organizer that John Jenkins, a teacher at CHESS, has worked for and with for over 20 years. As Sue’s website manager and editor, John has been privileged to read hundreds of articles and posts that she has written, as well as work with her in hands-on training of homeowners and business professionals around the country.

Sue has been published in Focus on the Family and various magazines and has written two books, one for organizing the home and one for the office. She is thoroughly biblical and committed to changing and improving lives and to make life easier.

7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens

Sean Covey’s book is a tremendous resource for accelerating learning and key life skills in your teen.

CHESS is delighted to share a one-page summary of these 7 Habits with you: 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens.

Also, when you open the PDF, you will also find a link to the book’s companion website.

CHESS meets at 8730 Sudley Road, Manassas, in the “Rock” building next to Manassas Baptist Church.


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