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DAILY DISH: Never Too Young To Install Academic Values Junior Hockey News

Published: Tuesday, 10 Jul 2018  
By: Stephen Heisler,

We often talk about older players that do not help themselves through the NCAA Eligibility Center process and setting realistic expectations for their post-junior college career.

Today we are going to talk about another serious issue; academic underachievers.

The tenth grade of high school is not the time for parents to think about their children moving onto college. The installation of successful study habits, from the beginning of the education process, is more important than skating ability for any prospective college hockey player.

Now we are going to get personal. My daughter Sonia is about to start the ninth grade at twelve years old. Her grades have been fantastic all along the way. During Pre-K 3, Pre-K 4, Kindergarten, and 1st grade she attended both a public then private traditional school and was always one of the brightest kids in the class.

Over the summer (after first grade) one of the junior parents told me about an online school that was very intense and did a very good job of making learning fun for students of all ages. We liked the program and eventually elected to try home-schooling for the year. After buying a pair of laptops, we got both of our children started.

The children started out like wildfire. They took to the program with amazing success. After about a month, Sonia had completed the English course work for the entire year and started to work on math. That's when we made a startling discovery. Sonia could not add. How could that be after all those great grades and two years of private school? After beating myself up for a few hours, a message was sent to the school administrator that I wanted to start Sonia all over again at the beginning; pre-school beginning math.

At first Sonia was embarrassed about doing preschool math again but that's where we had to start. She caught on and burned through preschool, kindergarten, first grade and second grade math in just about six weeks. We had to rebuild that foundation in order to ensure her future academic success.  

Parents need to be proactive throughout the academic process. By all means, don't depend on report cards or the guidance counselor to say the child is a good student or not. There are plenty of online evaluations that students can take part in. Our school,, offers free grade specific studies that can help parents gauge where their children are, regardless of what class year they are in.

Let's face it, the majority of students in any given school are not great students. For most kids, school is a social activity more than it is an educational experience. The installation of good study habits early on gives children a great foundation to build on. There are a lot of exceptional high school athletes that never get the chance to go to college because of serious academic shortcomings. Not my kids.

I can promise you all this, there is no way that situation with my daughter will repeat itself. We evaluate work and performance by the hour, not by the academic quarter. I think every parent should take that same approach.

But that's just my opinion.

PHOTO: My children Tomas and Sonia's last year of traditional school.

Author: Stephen Heisler from
Stephen Heisler has spent a lifetime in the game of hockey. Stephen is also working with individual teams, coaches, and players as a director with the Heisler Group. Stephen, his wife Deysi, and four children reside in Orlando, Florida.

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