3 Tips to Guarantee a Successful High School Career

High School Student At Desk In Class Using Digital Tablet

Consider these scenarios for a moment: A director of pediatric neurosurgery at a prestigious hospital found himself well behind his peers in school. One of our nation’s most prominent inventors failed 1000 times before succeeding. The most decorated Olympian of all time started as a struggling student with teachers that seemed ready to write him off. All three of these stories seem unlikely at best, impossible at worst. But every tale is true and speaks volumes on the hallmarks of a successful high school career: hard work, learning from failure, and perseverance. 


Guarantee a Successful High School Career Tip 1

Work hard! Most would readily acknowledge the integral part that hard work plays in a successful high school career. Rarely can any highly successful individual say everything just came to them without having to work for it. From the student to the teacher to the doctor to the professional athlete, all would agree: hard work pays dividends! Consider the life of Ben Carson, formerly the director of Pediatric Neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins Medical Center.

After a tumultuous childhood, Carson found himself significantly behind his classmates academically. His mother took charge, instituting a rigorous study routine which included two book reports weekly. Not only is reading an essential gateway, but writing and communication are paramount as well. Her initiative and his hard work reaped great rewards, and Carson graduated in the top three of his high school class.

After a successful high school career, he went on to succeed in college, and eventually became a renowned surgeon. In fact, Carson performed the first surgery separating conjoined twins who were joined at the back of their head! Of course, our high school students may not see the long term picture when they’re in the midst of their high school career.

But encouraging hard work during school years and exposing them to others who have worked hard is essential. 


Guarantee a Successful High School Career Tip 2

Learn from your mistakes! The second key to success is learning from failure. Any scientific experiment is based on this premise: you create a hypothesis and test it. If the test fails, you start over. It’s ludicrous to just keep trying the same thing once it fails.

One of our most prominent inventors, Thomas Edison, had a unique perspective on the failed attempts to invent the light bulb. He claimed that he didn’t fail 1000 times; he simply found 1000 ways that don’t work! Imagine if Edison, out of frustration, had stopped after 999 times.

Learning from failure and continuing to push oneself is key to a successful high school career. Homeschooling provides the ultimate opportunity for such learning.

Without the pressure of needing to continue to move on in curriculum or keep up with a class of students, a homeschooled student can delve into a topic of interest and keep working at it until he or she succeeds. 


Guarantee a Successful High School Career Tip 3

Don’t give up! The last key to a successful high school career is determination. Learning from failure goes hand in hand with determination. Continuing to persevere when things are tough produces a resiliency that is essential for a high school career and success beyond high school as well.

If you had asked the teachers of US Olympian Michael Phelps when he was in grade school, few would likely have predicted his success. In grade school, he struggled with severe ADHD which caused him challenges in learning. However, his mother saw the potential in her son if he could just persevere. So she hired tutors to help him that used examples which piqued his interest to engage him in his learning. Instead of using textbook examples, the teacher used swimming examples.

The rigorous practice structure and extra help gave Phelps a framework in which to be successful, but without determination, the framework would have made only minimal difference. The same is true of all of us. All the assistance or tricks fail without the determination to continue to push when things get tough. 

Make no apologies for setting high standards

So how can we encourage these qualities in our children? Setting high standards and surrounding them with examples of hard-working success stories are good places to start. Consider Carson’s biography Gifted Hands. Reading opens up a world of possibilities.

Extra work in a subject area that causes difficulty can be a great way to fill in learning gaps and prepare students for success later in life. The shorter courses offered through Luma Learn give opportunities for children and adults alike to learn more about a topic of interest or get extra practice with an area of weakness. 

While worldly success in the form of a successful high school career is not our ultimate goal, few would argue the benefits of working hard and persevering. We can view hard work as a means of stewarding the gifts God has given us. It’s important for our children to see examples of strong men and women that were successful as a reminder of the rewards of hard work and determination.

As Colin Powell once said, “A dream doesn’t become a reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work.”

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