EPISODE 161| Do you or your child have trouble paying attention or listening, not able to multitask, or difficultly processing new information? It can be tremendously frustrating for every one involved but you can find ways to manage and work with it. Join Janna as she talks about executive dysfunction with her guest, Sam Young, Director of Young Scholars Academy.
ABOUT OUR GUEST | Samuel Young, MEd, is a growth-minded, two-time Fulbright Scholar and Director of Young Scholars Academy, a strength-based, talent-focused virtual enrichment center that supports twice-exceptional students and their families. Samuel is a neurodivergent educator who has ADHD. As an ADHD learner, he has a tremendous understanding of, experience in, and respect for all things related to neurodiverse education.
Before founding Young Scholars Academy, Samuel taught in a variety of capacities—including nearly a decade at Bridges Academy—at an array of programs in the US, Europe, and Asia. Travel and culture are near and dear to him. He has led 2e students to over 7 countries for immersive cultural and educational trips.
Samuel has been featured in the documentary 2e2: Teaching The Twice Exceptional, the textbook Understanding The Social and Emotional Lives of Gifted Students, 2nd Ed., Variations Magazine, 2e News, and other publications. Get your free resource here; Creating A Strength-Based Task Management System
Janna 00:00 Welcome to Homeschool your way. I'm your host, Janna Koch, and BookSharks Community Manager. Today, we're gonna be talking about executive functioning, and how you can find secrets for success for not only your student, but I bet even for you. My guest today is Sam Young, the director of Young Scholars Academy. Sam, thanks so much for coming on once again.
Sam 00:21 Janna, super excited to be here. Thanks for having me back once again.
Janna 00:25 Well, Sam, one of the things that you and I always start off with is just talking about the type of students and children that you market towards at Young Scholars Academy. So what is your ideal student?
Sam 00:41 So we typically serve students that I say are differently wired neurodivergent and or twice exceptional. But the big idea is that we're serving kids who are asynchronous by nature. So they have exceptional strengths, and some form of struggles. And they are maybe not being served well at either a school that they're going to maybe homeschooling is difficult for those reasons, as well. And they're looking for some kind of way to explore their interests and tap into those strengths. And also get support in the areas maybe where they're struggling and make a bunch of friends along the way.
Janna 01:13 I don't know about you, but I love making friends. That's one of my best something that brings me joy, my kids get so upset they don't ever want, if we're in a hurry, they don't ever want to send me into the grocery store. Because it will be hours before I end up coming out. So, so community is definitely the heart of what homeschool your way and book shark is all about. And something that we're going to talk about today to bring to the community is this idea of executive functioning. And as an adult who is educated and has a master's degree, I don't think I was ever really familiar with these terms and and what they meant. So let's just say I'm not the only one. And let's define what executive function and functioning is.
Sam 01:53 Yeah, this is so important. And I think you're definitely not the only one. I mean, I didn't learn about executive function skills until I was getting a degree in, you know, education and psychology. And I really wished I learned earlier. And that's why I do the work that I do. Because it's I think it gives us grace, once we understand. And what I mean by that is understanding executive functioning, helps us understand the idea that there's actually not just like one like intelligence, that there's the way in which we have this kind of like ability, and interest, and perhaps IQ if we want to talk about IQ. But then there's also this idea of like the doing skills, and executive function helps us understand the doing skills. So this is like the, it's part of the prefrontal cortex of your brain. It's the things like flexible thinking, working memory. You know, we were talking before the episode like metacognition like thinking about your thinking. And if you were to sum it up, think of like the word executive like CEO, it's like the CEO of your brain and tells you what, what to do, what not to do, and, and what to do, and what order, let's say. So I think it's, I say, Grace, it gives us grace. Because when we understand that there's kind of like this air traffic control in our brain, we can be really bright, and struggle to get things done. And those can both be true. Versus I know, I'm not allowed to spend a lot of my life thinking that I was really stupid, because I would take longer to read or I would struggle to get things turned in or track things on a worksheet. And so understanding that these things are actually separate, right? That there's, we can be really smart, we can be bright, we can be gifted, but we can also struggle to get things done. And they're both our reality. So when I think of executive functioning, that that's exactly what I think of like, like, just just get it done, right. So as a mother of three teenagers, and I'm a person of a lot of words, I will rattle off as I'm walking out the door, all the things that I need done. And then when I come home, Let's not lie, it's not eight hours, it's probably more like six hours later. And it's not done. I'm frustrated. Because in my mind, I said what needed to be done. And in their mind, they said, all we heard was that wow, that that back and love you see you tonight. Right? So it's this idea that not everybody processes the same way. And so I may be highly functioning because I have a great memory. And a lot of times I'll put a finger to what I need to remember in my mind or or a task or picture and so I can remember it. And then I just assume that everybody works that way. Everyone's brain works that way. So if my kids didn't do what I said as I walked out the door, it's because they were ignoring me. And you are here to set me straight. I think it's more than setting you straight. I'm not here to Put anyone's face in anything, but I'm here to help understand. And yes, the, the idea is, and it's incredibly nuanced when we really unpack it, like I can sit here and I liked the idea of the air traffic control, right that there's this, this part of your brain, your frontal brain, which is your air traffic controller tells what planes to land, in what order what planes to take off, and what plane shouldn't take off. Right? And so that's things like, yeah, like our emotional control our impulse control, right, prioritizing tasks, setting goals, working backward, all those things. That's all well and good. But when we look at neuroscience, right, when we look at brain scans, especially those of neuro divergent people, we see that that so those with ADHD, autism, etc, actually have under like fMRI scans, that part of their brain is actually not finished developing until they're 27 years old. So it really I mentioned this before, in previous times have come on the podcast, the buck stops with us, right? Like, are we asking insane things, which is asking our kids to do things that their brain is not hardwired to do yet, you know, so what then do we do? Because the answer to that question is yes, right? We are, we're asking kids to do things that they're not ready. Right?
Janna 06:17 That's my job. Is it not as a parent and an educator is to ask, why would I ask my kids to do things they could do?
Sam 06:24 Exactly right now, but in all seriousness, like our understanding, when we when we develop understanding, we develop empathy, right? When we develop understanding, okay, there's part of their brain is developing. I'm a fully formed adult love the things that decisions like you're making, you have created, what I refer to as a quick capture system. You have said, Okay, I'm walking out the door, I make a kinetic connection with my fingers to quantify the amount of tasks that I have to complete. And it's the act of putting a finger up that allows me to capture a thought, so that when I get to the office, I remember there were four up, and I have to recall them, right, from your short term memory or long term memories. So that's a system that you've created. Right? And why doesn't everyone have that? It's frustrating, right? These are the skills of being a student that we don't teach, right? We get frustrated with our students, like, they're not taking notes, they're not doing well, they're not turning in their homework. Well, all you did was drop an agenda book on their desk, you know, that's not necessarily the way in which they might work. So if we pause, we explain that they're even our executive functions in the first place, that there's this part of our brain that has these 12 or 13 skills, depending on who you're asking. And that we break them up and get them to even bring awareness to the fact that those Yes, that's a massive leap forward. And then, after the awareness phase, we pivot to the action phase, can we start to develop systems? Right? Can we start to look at systems? Well, where's the breakdown happening? It's not that, you know, because how does it usually show up like so and so's lazy? Or they're smart, but scattered? Or they're, you know, whatever it might be? Fill in the blank labels. But when we when we realize, hey, what's the thing that's required of us? Okay, well, I have to do three things. I have to capture tasks. I have to prioritize them, because I can't do them all. And they're certainly not all equal. And then I have to do them and turn them in. Right? So capture, prioritize, do it becomes more clear, well, how am I doing that? Right? So we can kind of like factor it down. Well, what are the ways in which one might capture? Well, yeah, there's the agenda book. Could I talk to my watch? Can I have a voice recorder? Can I use my fingers? Like Canada's? Could I have a notebook in my back pocket? Whatever it might be, right? And when we realize, okay, well, this is Rebake. In the metacognition, well, what's your strength? You know, I'm not a writer, my hand moves slower than my brain, or I can't even write, I'm dyslexic. It's difficult for me, or I'm dysgraphic, the actual physical act of writing this stuff. So I shouldn't have like a voice recorder and play it back when I get home at the end of the day, right, or voice to text or something. So we bring about an awareness of what needs to be done. What are the elements of the doing? And then what are the ways in which I can show up in each of those subdomains. And all of a sudden, you've got like a seven year old or 17 year old who's doing some kick butt stuff, and really thinking at a high level and reflecting on their process and building something new.
Janna 09:40 So for parents who are listening to this and going, I probably need to understand this more personally so that I could be more effective in all areas of my life. But even that first step of capturing if you're looking at a six year old and you're trying to say okay, I just need you to do this This has maybe even three steps in there. They don't even recognize that. You're just saying I need to do this. And in their mind, they're like, how do I even do that, and they're just looking at the parent, like, I hear the words coming out of your mouth. This is a quote for my children, but I don't understand them. And I'm like, but I'm speaking English. So help me understand what you don't understand about what I'm saying. I mean, you could go round and round. So just knowing that part of developing this is a, this is something that has to be developed, this isn't something that just is naturally occurring, or it's a system that you can put in place, you're not going to be able to just tell your child, okay, you have like, here's the capture. And now here's the next step. It's like it can, like you said, the nuances, it can be so overwhelming, even to a parent to try to bring awareness to this idea. You know, and I'm forward thinking I'm got college girls, right? And I'm like, Okay, how you working on that paper? And I tried it, like, do you have an outline? Have you worked on that? Did you put in your timer, how much time a day and then it gets a day before and there's like this pressure, I have to get it done. And I automatically want to go, I told you three weeks ago, I asked you to do these things, you didn't do any of them. So as a parent who is in that struggle, help me give me tools to help my child overcome some of this because it sounds great in theory, Sam, but I need practicality.
Sam 11:30 Ya know? And again, it's it's the assumptions, right? Like, there's two legal systems in this country, right? We've got like minors and majors, we've got kids and adults, right. And the reason that there's a whole separate legal system with separate consequences for kids, is because of the same part of your brain that we're talking about. They're not connecting their thoughts and their actions with outcomes, necessarily, right. That's why kids do things that are awesome, and really messed up sometimes, too, because they're just not thinking it through. And that's not their fault, right? There's a level of naivete that's actually hardwired into their brain, that prefrontal cortex that we talked about, you know that that's consequences that's thinking about outcomes. And so if you ask me to plan and prioritize, it's the same part of my brain, right? I'm not realizing that I'm going to do a and it's going to lead to Z. I'm just on a right now. And it feels really good. Because I'm playing Minecraft! Leave me alone, you know?
Janna 12:29 Right. Right.
Sam 12:3 It's, it's complex. I think, again, it starts with us. But yeah, sure. Are there things that we can do is start with exposure. You know, what are ways in which one might quick capture, let's think of all the different ways we can boom, we do a little brainstorm, it could be fun, we could do some divergent thinking, you know, I could do this, this, this, this, and this, what about this? And we can kind of gamify it? Right? Okay. Now, what are the ways that make the most sense for you, because writing is really natural for you, or writing is really difficult for you. I have a kid, we have a class called Young and thriving, which is executive function class. And I have a kid who just made an app on Scratch, he coded an app. And it's a task manager. And there's two buttons, it's like you click short term long term, and short term means is due tomorrow, and then you put stuff in long term means that it's due later and has to be broken up. And so cool, I was talking about gamifying, building it, and he actually gamified building it. So it's amazing what our kids can do. And once they build it, it doesn't mean that it's going to work right away. It might not like training wheels and scaffolding, right. But we're just bringing that awareness, even just saying, part of the process is writing things down, or voice recording is a massive step forward. Because the reality is, and especially with our asynchronous kids, they can mask for a long time, they can get by for a long time, because maybe they're highly verbal, or really intelligent. Or if you're like me, I have like a random memory that just peaks under relaxation. So I could always get away with things because something would just spring into my mind. And I would remember it and I'd get it across the line the last second. It wasn't until I built a system that I started to not forget things at all, but now it was like encoded in something that was outside me. So yeah, to parents who are in the trenches saying, sounds great, Sam. But that's not reality. I simply say, just get started exposing your kid to different things, and make it fun, and really get into it like it could be exploring. We spend eight weeks in this class exploring different systems, whether it's like a Pomodoro timer or an Eisenhower matrix, or, you know, time blocking. And why is it you know, as adults, we're like obsessed with productivity, right? But why do we not just even talk openly about Got that with kids. Like, there's so many different ways. It's not just you get homework, you do the homework. How are you capturing? And how are you doing, and it's going to foster a tremendous amount of reflection, and great conversation at home. And I think if nothing else, even if the progress isn't palatable yet, that conversation is so important, and the seed is planted, that will germinate. You just don't get to pick when it grows.
Janna 15:22 Darn it. I think that's my biggest frustration as a parent, I don't get to pick when it grows, I keep digging the seed back up and going, why isn't it, I don't understand it, I don't see any progress. I will say that when you were talking, I was thinking about, you have some personalities that can hyper focus on one thing and their productivity, they can get that one thing done in a short amount of time, because they're focused on it, then you have people like me, who I'm like a 15 minute or I'll give my I'll give 15 minutes to this task, and then in 15 minutes for another task. So in an hour, I have still worked an hour. And so to the other person, right, they've gotten one thing done, I've gotten a quarter done on each of the four things that I need to get done. And we're probably going to get all the tasks done relatively around the same time, but we've broken them down and done them differently. And I have seen that in my children that I'm like, oh, we'll just do it for 15 minutes, and then move on. And they're like, I haven't even started in that 15 minutes to get focused. And now you're asking me to move on. So one of my girls is like me, she's like, Yeah, set the timer. 15 minutes, great, I'll move on the other ones, like, leave me alone, I need a full hour. But I'm gonna get it done anything just recognizing again, that there are different ways that we don't have to all do it the same way. It doesn't have to all look the same. But it's what works for you. And then hopefully for your child. Right?
Sam 16:41 Exactly. Right. Yeah, it's trying on a bunch of hats and seeing what fits and, you know, encouraging your child to try the hat on and letting them know that this is short term we're just experimenting with what works is, you know, even asking big questions, so they feel like they're more of a kinesthetic person. Are they more abstract? Are they more tactile or that you know, sequential, logical, right? Getting them thinking about their perception of themselves, the way in which they think they learn? Again, going back to that metacognition idea is huge. And your kiddos like, your example of your different kids having different preferences is a level of awareness that have come about because you're having conversations with them, you're giving them space to reflect, they feel comfortable sharing what worked well for them, what doesn't work for them, what stresses them out, and what doesn't. And that's all part of the process. Right? We're just trying. And I think it's super important. By the way, there's a mental health component of this, which doesn't get talked about a lot. As an ADHD or I have had a hard time with productivity my whole life. It's why I'm obsessed with it. But it's also really difficult. And there can become a tremendous amount of, I think, comparison of, you know, I'm not doing things I'm stupid, I'm not getting things done, what's wrong with me. And again, if we can try to analyze the vehicle, was the way in which it's happening. And combine that with the fact that we're just collecting data, we're just trying, you know, it doesn't mean that because this didn't work, he doesn't mean that you don't work, it just means that this didn't work, and we're going to try something different. I think that's important. And shifting the focus. I'm always saying this every time I've been on your podcast, thanks for having me on multiple times, by the way, the strength part, how can we focus to the positive you know what something my wife makes me do this because I am that I get up earlier than most I go to bed after most. And I'm a tortured, productivity soul. You know, it's not enough. I struggle, I didn't get things across the line. I spent too much time on this. Not enough time on this. And it can be really tough. And my wife makes me before bed every night. She's like, what's your big win for the day? And when I look back, wow, I actually had a pretty good day. You know, and so, sometimes I think as parents, we have to also make that shift. What's something that our kids then where's the growth looking at the old version of themselves? And how can we get our kids to see that and themselves too?
Janna 19:02 Well, I think that just quantifies the idea of progress, not perfection, right? Because perfection is never achievable. And if that is what you're striving for, you're always gonna fall short. And nobody feels good about that. But if you can stop and look at the progress and go, Okay, well, I, I did this and, and same again, back to my daughter, like, Are you read for 15 minutes or read the chapter? Right? Or it mean that just that shift is huge? Or you will write a one page of the paper tonight, or work on it for one hour tonight? I mean, in it's like, okay, that's silly. What's the difference? It's like, there's a huge difference, because it's a mindset, right? It's a block. It's like, if you tell me I have to write a page tonight to help get I'm not gonna be able to do it. But if you tell me I can work for an hour, I actually might get two pages done. Because I set a time I said, you know, the goal was not the quantity, it was the time and so I think as sometimes as homeschool parents we get really caught up Up in productivity, right? Because I'm going to be really honest, it's reflects on us, even though it doesn't, but it does. We think it does, right? If my, my 12 year old isn't reading at a certain level, I must be a bad parent. And that is science will prove that that's not not the case, right? Your child that hasn't clicked yet there, it will click keep trusting the process. But it's being aware that it's not that they you don't say you have to read two chapters, and they're overwhelmed. And they're like, I can't even read for a two pages. What do you mean two chapters, it's like, set your timer for 10 minutes. And when the 10 minutes is up, stop, and maybe do that three times throughout the day. And that's a way to help our kids understand that it's the less about what they're doing, and more about how they're getting it done. Right. And then if we all could follow that model, I think we'd all be a little bit happier and less stressed.
Sam 20:53 Absolutely. And it's so obvious when we talk about things likeyou know, let's say reading, for example, like I always spent a lot of my life thinking that I was really stupid, I could never get a book, I would buy lots of them, because I really wanted to read them. I liked having them on my shelf, but I just couldn't do it. And, you know, again, it's like, if you will, if you have a C and you have dyslexia, you know, what are you doing thinking that that's just going to come to you like, you're not just going to work through that, right. So it's like think differently, think intelligently. Now I listen to audiobooks. It's fantastic, I read a book a week, you know, but it's just all the changes the vehicle, I'm still the same me the content of the book is the same book, it's delivered into my ears rather than into my eyes, all of a sudden, I can do it. And the same is true with executive functioning. A lot of the times we feel like our kids are just, they're just not writing it down on the agenda book. And they're just not doing it the way that we've only laid out one way for them. And they don't even know that there are other ways or what the purpose of the agenda book is in the first place, because we haven't taken them to that high level. And I think that our students really deserve like higher conceptual thinking, so that they can be a part of the system. Well, if my goal is to capture it, it doesn't matter if I do it in the agenda book, in a net, you know, on an app that I create, I just have to capture it, right. And then I have to distill it and prioritize it. And then I have to figure out a way to take action on it. And like you're saying, you know, there's a lot of self reflection on your your profile, because, well, I do really well. You mentioned like procrastinators earlier. And I always say like, you know, procrastinators are often motivated by some fear, avoidance and urgency, right?
Janna 22:27 How did you just describe my college years? You've just described my college years,
Sam 22:32 Do you feel triggered? Sorry. The question is like, how can you micro dose that right? And it's gotta be authentic. But how can you say, Okay, fine. Oh, I'm gonna get like a crazy all nighter. Adrenaline Rush. Like, for me, I work my best before the day is over. It's that thought that like, it's the day is almost over. So five things on your list. And I can go with so much clarity. Right, I don't have a silver bullet for this. But the solution is, end my day earlier. Right? If I'm going to work, it's Parkinson's Law. Parkinson's Law states that tasks expand and complexity based on the amount of time that we allot for them. So I'll say it again, because I think it warrants that tasks explore, expand and complexity based on the amount of time that we want to allocate. So if you say, if I say Jana, you've got 10 days to write this paper, or if I say you have 10 hours or 10 minutes, you'll take all of it no matter which one, right? Because that's just how our brains work. It's either not a priority, or because I have 10 days, it must be super important. So I have to really gear up for it. If it's 10 hours, I have to you know, maybe I'll get some things done. And I'll get around to it. It was 10 minutes. I better start right now. Right, right. So if there's a way that we can help our students, if you have a student who's a procrastinator, can you micro dose that? Can you shrink that down? Can they have the urgency feeling earlier? Without the anxiety that comes because the real deadlines almost there, right? So there is like a Plan B, and C and we're not doing like all night benders of projects and running to the craft store at midnight, you know, can we avoid that kind of stuff and try to do it earlier? Easier said than done? How do you how do you authentically fake authenticity? I don't know. I don't know that I have the answer for that. But but it's just a slight shift to make.
Janna 24:25 Yeah. And how do you not be a parent like me? Who is like, you're just gonna have to suffer the consequences of not getting that done on time? And they're like, Are you kidding me? You're not going to help me and I'm like, Oh, my God, that's gonna be real uncomfortable when you go in there and tell them that you didn't accomplish it like, which is not an easy task as a parent either. But that's the other part of it. Right? Like there is. Sometimes if my if I had felt the weight of failing more often, maybe as I told my family time, if procrastination didn't work for me, I wouldn't do it. But unfortunately, it is true. Given time and time again that I can get it done the two nights before or an all nighter and still get a decent grade on it, then it just reinforces that idea. So I love that idea of shifting the timeframe then so that it is more less urgent, but still urgent.
Sam 25:19 Yeah, and it becomes it becomes an interesting point because you're right, like these, you know, humans are, we are self-preservers. Right. So you psychologically, this is like a common thing with, you know, any moms or dads listening who have had like a prior relationship with someone you like, only remember the good, right you someone you broke up with years ago, maybe you are a friend that you're no longer friends with, right? It's like, or an old job, we remember that we protect ourselves. And so with procrastinating, you remember, hey, I got it done, I actually got a decent score, you don't remember that, like Red Bull induced heart palpitations, and the stress and anxiety and the hair falling out like, and so you do it again. And, again, that's an example of like that disconnect between like the plan, and the reality, the prioritizing, and, you know, the goal setting. So it's a tough one. But I think, again, just bringing general awareness to the fact that these are, these are parts of who we are explaining to our students that there are all these different elements of of executive function skills, and because we're not doing them, or because we're doing some well and others not, that's okay, doesn't mean that we're stupid. It's just these are unique skills. And they require certain parts of our brain, which may either not be developed yet, or may just be areas in which are more difficult for us. And there may be different opportunities there to just bring about like different systems. So again, like I have a resource that I'll share with you, for your listeners. And what it does is it kind of holds your hand through this process, there's like a little video of me showing a system that I created once, and actually, I don't even use it anymore, because my system changes all the time. Because I just like building systems, right? I'm gonna like kind of like be like peek, you know, executive function, optimization, but I show the system and then walk kids through like Korea, here are the three processes, how are you currently doing this? How are you like quick capturing? How are you doing all these things, and it gets them thinking. And then there's a link to an article, which has like 25, different task management systems. And then I encourage them to read the whole thing, depending on how old they are, they might need support with that. And check them out, and then Frankenstein it right, then take the different bits and bobs that you like and build your own, try for a week, reflect, adjust. And that's kind of a for life journey that we go on as our brains develop as our responsibilities change as our, our, you know, our existences evolve, then we're kind of constantly going through this process. But I think just explaining that to our kids is so important.
Janna 27:52 I also believe that it sets them up for success, because you have mentioned several times, you know, I thought I was unintelligent, I just thought I couldn't do it. And, and the truth is, you couldn't do it with the tools that you were given, never knowing that there was a whole set of different tools that that maybe fit your hand better or, or was a complement to how you wanted, you didn't even know how you wanted to do it. But you just knew that what you were given was not working. And so we internalize, oh, well, I guess you're not good at this, or, Oh, I guess you have a real problem with follow through, or you're, you don't care. And so then you don't do it. And, and I again, going back to the original story about my girls, of course we care. We we forgot it didn't it didn't go into our brains. You were saying it as you went left, you said too many things. You know, if you'd given us one, then we could have remembered it or so now I write lists. And then I send text messages and remind them and say, hey, you know, I'm on my way home now. Sure, that task got done. But instead of just coming home and being frustrated, because let's be honest, that's been a lot of the time until I was like, oh, okay, you're not you're not purposely ignoring me, our children are the effort they want to succeed. Are we giving them the tools to help them succeed? And every child is going to need a different tool in a different way?
Sam 29:14 Absolutely. And it is, again, it's it's differentiation, you know, are they even able to capture something that's auditory, maybe they're visual, and they just needed to see it in the first place? Right. And so there's an element of that. And I think, more broadly, it comes back to what I always say to which this is the elephant in the room, anytime you're talking about executive functions, its strengths and interests, you know, does a kid who is playing a video game and dying 100 times at the boss fight, but keep going on? Right? They keep going, they keep going. And then they don't finish their homework because it was too hard. It's like it's not too hard. They just don't care. You know, and so that's frustrating. But at the same time, if we choose to see where they are having that kind of stick with it newness and that, you know tenacity to press on or like someone I think about like skateboarders, like I watch skateboarders all the time, they just beat themselves up all day. I used to skateboard when I was young. And when I got older, I started connecting in like, decisions and actions with outcomes, I stopped doing it because I was always bleeding or bruised, you know. But that ability to just like keep trying the same thing. It's an executive function skill, right? But when it comes to homework, or reading, or a worksheet, the biggest ever it's not like, I'm a different me, it's just, I didn't care. It wasn't interesting. So I think one of the biggest shifts, if we talk about like a quick win, that we can make it with executive function, it's getting your kid doing something that feels authentic, that they care about, that's a strength or an interest. Because you know, the kid who can spend all night reading an article on Reddit or Wikipedia, or watching a YouTube video, or going down some kind of rabbit hole about something they care about fanfiction, or whatever it might be, and then can't focus on reading like a two paragraph article for school. It's not like their reading comprehension suddenly took took a day, right? It's just that they don't care. And so I think one of the biggest things that we can do is just put kids in strength, strength areas and interest areas, and pretty amazed if you've ever seen like an ADHD or go through, you know, a lack of focus on a hyper focus phase, it's it's very much emblematic of what they care about what feels urgent and important and exciting to them.
Sam 31:32 I would have you come in Oh, not you. Sorry, whoever that adult might be.
Janna 31:35 Well, once again, I've been schooled on something that I need to do and change in order to be a better parent and a better educator, but I appreciate the fact that I am in, I'm in a space that I am the adult and I do have a totally closed up frontal lobe, there shouldn't be any holes left in there now, which is a factor that my children, you know, it's a it's a gift that I have, and my children aren't there yet. So I will take these things to heart, I were super excited to share the resource that you have created, that parents can go on and just start thinking about these things. I think like you said, In the beginning, just talking about them, just having an awareness, just saying, Hey, I noticed that it's really hard for you to remember that you have these things that I've asked you to do. And even though it's every day or every week, you know, why do you think that is and just I think having the conversation and talking about it. Not surprising, I am a talker, so I love that part of it. But it really is just bringing in awareness. You know, you talked about the beginning, like thinking about how you think if you're not aware of it, you're just gonna keep doing what you're doing. And, and it's cyclical. So as parents, we're getting frustrated with our students, because they're not doing what we've asked them to do what they know they need to do. But maybe we need to stop and get out of that cycle and say, Okay, what can we do differently to help them succeed? What are the tools they need? And I believe that your executive functioning task management resource is a great tool for parents to start that process.
Sam 33:04 Well, thank you, Jan, I'm really excited. And I hope it's really helpful to everyone who's listening right now. So and you feel free to reach out to me with any questions that you have about how it might work for you. And, and, again, we also have courses that take that to the next level where we really kind of hold your students hand, there's one called adulting and thriving, which is for seniors, and that one goes year round for nine months. And then there's a younger version for general high schoolers and one for middle schoolers. So students like nine to 17 or so. And those are to eight week, eight week courses that help students kind of get the foundations together.
Janna 33:37 Now, would you ever reject an adult who's just looking to maybe hone in on those skills a little bit? Asking for a friend.
Sam 33:50 Yes, your friend. Forgive me.
Janna 33:53 Oh, well, well, thank you so much for sharing the knowledge that you have for your passion for definitely the community that you are serving and for opening up your community to us homeschoolers, who are just looking for different resources to help us along our journey. We appreciate you and Young Scholars Academy.
Sam 34:11 Thank you, Janna, I appreciate you and thanks for bringing all these voices together on these parents together because I think what you're doing is so special.
Janna 34:18 Well, I do hope that it is making a difference when thank you guys for being with us. Until next time, bye bye