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Essentialism in Education: Navigating the Overscheduled Student

Written By: Lee Elberson - CEO

In this increasingly hectic world, both students and parents are grappling with the challenges of managing overbooked lives. As someone who owns a tutoring company, I’ve witnessed firsthand the unique pressures that today’s educational landscape imposes. The experience of working in this type of educational support industry has afforded me a distinct vantage point, informed by the limitations of traditional education systems and the complex schedules of students and parents alike.

The modern tutoring approach that my company adopts is a response to the mismatches we’ve observed between what schools offer and what students actually need. More and more parents are seeking broader support for their children, recognizing that success in school today requires more than just academic knowledge. Today’s student must possess skills in organization, time management, and the ability to juggle various commitments effectively. This realization often comes when parents notice missing assignments, poor grades, or a disconnect between their expectations and their child’s behavior. It’s a generational divide, with today’s pedagogical methods sometimes clashing with more traditional expectations around homework assignments (or lack thereof), deadlines, and exam retakes.

The irony, however, lies in the scheduling conflicts that arise when we try to add sessions to develop or improve these essential study skills. I’ve often said, “Your child doesn’t have a time management problem, they have a time problem.” This statement underscores a broader issue that transcends the educational sphere: the challenge of overscheduling. A staggering 59% of students report sleep deprivation as a major source of stress, an indicator of schedules so packed that they leave little room for the rest and reflection necessary for true learning and growth.

A promising approach to this challenge is the philosophy of essentialism, a guiding principle that advocates for doing less but better. It’s not about minimalism for its own sake but about engaging deeply with activities that align with personal and familial values. Essentialism challenges us to critically evaluate each commitment, considering not just the immediate benefits but the long-term impact. This shift from quantity to quality in how we approach our schedules can lead to a more meaningful and balanced life.

I encourage students and parents to project themselves four years into the future to assess the importance of their current activities. This forward-looking perspective can clarify which commitments are truly worth pursuing. Moreover, engaging in open discussions about priorities within the family can help in making more informed decisions and strengthening familial bonds.

In conclusion, the journey toward managing an overscheduled life is fundamentally about embracing the principles of Essentialism. By prioritizing activities that resonate with core values, students and parents can navigate their commitments more effectively. This approach not only leads to a healthier, more balanced life but also ensures that every commitment is a reflection of what truly matters. Through my work, I aim to support families in this journey, advocating for a life where each activity is chosen thoughtfully, aligning with the ultimate goal of fostering well-rounded, fulfilled individuals.

Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less
Effects of an Unstructured Free Play and Mindfulness Intervention on Wellbeing in Kindergarten Students
The Long-Term Effects of Time Use during High School on Positive Development
Give Teens More Downtime and Support with Time Management

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