Aligned Learning Revolution (Activate, Accelerate, Achieve) | Judy Smith | Holistic Learning

Nurturing Success With Judy Smith

July 07, 202440 min read

In this episode of "Nurturing Success," we welcome Judy Smith, a dedicated educator with over 27 years of experience, a mother of two college students, and a passionate advocate for positive, confident, and productive learning journeys. Join us as we delve into the pressing issues facing modern education, including why students are struggling more in reading and writing today compared to the past, how parents can support their children in managing school-related stress and anxiety, and the impact of today's classroom environment on students' social and emotional development. Judy shares her insights, practical advice, and strategies to help students thrive in this ever-evolving educational landscape.


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Nurturing Success With Judy Smith

Becoming A Coach Exploring Challenges And Solutions In Today's Learning Environment

Judy Smith. Welcome. How are you?

I’m good, Kohila. Nice to be here. Thank you for having me.

Discussing The Holistic Neuro-Growth Learning Success Coach Role

I was looking forward to speaking with you as well. Judy, you were interesting when you joined me. You said, “I want to do this. I'm going to do this. You're going to let me in, Kohila,” so I did. I saw your heart to serve your students. Now, here we are. How has it been for you as a Wholistic NeuroGrowth Learning Success coach so far?

It has been amazing. It has been interesting. I have loved connecting my thoughts and desires as an educator to the science that you have studied and created in the program. I think I told you when I first started talking to you that it was like you had been inside my brain and written down all of my thoughts and philosophies. It's amazing that what we have to offer as learning success coaches is so aligned with not what the kids need mentally and as learners and as children, but in their mind that we can produce what they don't even know they need yet because it's so in tune to how their brain develops.

You put it very nicely. That's amazing. You have been working with some students. What do you offer families right now in your program?

Aligned Learning Revolution (Activate, Accelerate, Achieve) | Judy Smith | Holistic Learning

I offer families some peace and calmness that comes when children say, “No, I don't want to read. I don't like to read. I hate to read. I hate to write. I cannot. I don't know how.” I give them the solution for that. One thing I do directly for the parents is I take that stress off of the parents to get their children to read and write so they can focus on building strong relationships with their children and not continuing to have this rocky relationship where education and learning and homework is always rocking the boat. There's always that underlying anxiety. When I'm working with the children, they're happy. They're calm.

I'm only focused on them at that moment, whereas their parents were always focused on a million things and always under a million stresses, but I'm only focused on them. They have my individual attention and they don't feel that pressure to perform for me, like they feel the pressure to perform for a parent or a teacher. They can be themselves and let all those anxieties go and see that things are holding them back, that they can work around, that we can learn to conquer and work around the anxieties and the pressures of our lives. We can all be successful and have strengths that we can build upon to develop even more strengths.

Is this possible to achieve in the school system?

I think it's the dream of every teacher to achieve it, but given the parameters that they have to work under and the number of outside influences coming into the classroom, they don't have the time to do it. I know it breaks their hearts because that's why they're there in the first place.

How long have you been doing this, Judy?

I completed my 29th year and 19 years as a librarian.

Reading is something you love because obviously you're a librarian, you must love books.

It is. I fell into the library by accident. I completely and totally loved it. I loved the relationship that I was able to have with the kids, which similarly is almost like the relationship that I can have with them as a NeuroGrowth Wholistic Learning Success Coach. The teachers cannot have it because they have too many kids all at one time to make a strength. I didn't have that as a librarian. I was able to start developing some of those relationships with them and help them get to the point where like, “I can finish a whole book and I can talk about a bull.” I've absolutely loved it. Reading is the basis of everything that they need to do to be successful in all the other subjects.

When you can read, it’s such a confidence booster.

When you're struggling to even get the directions read, then the outlook you have on your success on the assignment or the task is going to be minimum.

The Importance Of Reading At Home

Even for math. If you don't know how to read, you're not going to know what they're asking. It's such an important skill. We're seeing such a drop in so many kids' life, they're not reading. They're not reading yet. What can a parent do to start fostering reading? What can they do?

The number one indicator of a child's future success in literacy is how many books are in the home. Having books available at home is already a step. The next thing that the parents can do is read to their kids. The kids need to see that reading is a part of life. It's not a grade and it's not an assignment. They need to see their parents reading. Not reading on their phones, but they need to see their parents using words, letters and literature to get things accomplished. They need to read a recipe out loud while they're cooking dinner with their kids.

I remember my daughter. I was giving her a bottle and I had a big old Winnie the Pooh book open and I was reading to her. I was feeding her a bottle and my niece said, “That is the craziest thing. Why in the world would you do that? Why are you trying to read to your daughter while you're feeding her a bottle?” It’s because she will hear the written language every day of her life. She will need to know that written language is important and necessary for function. She will hear me read to her every day she is with me. She's home from college and we still sit down and read whatever we're doing that day. We find something to read together.

You made it into a tradition now.

It is. If we go somewhere and we're at a museum or wherever we are, there's always a plaque on a building and even now, she stops and we read it. If there's something to read, we read it. You never know what you're going to miss. When parents take those little tiny steps, it reinforces the importance of being able to read and the importance of taking time to read to the kids. They see it as a lost skill rather than an assignment.

That's very important. You're right. Make reading not an assignment where you're doing it for homework forced by the teacher.

We have to read when we fill out our driver's license application. We have to read the lease agreement before we rent a place to live. We have to read the sale ads if we need to save money at the grocery store. We have to read to accomplish driving a car to navigate the road signs and the maps.

Reading never stops.

It's a part of our life. It's not an assignment. It's not a grade. It's not something that we only do during school hours or work hours. I have to see that.

I find that some parents are starting early. I've seen some young parents; kids are like 1 or 2 years old, and they're not reading yet. Reading is it should not be something you compare. Some people say, “My other son is reading at two. The older one reads at two. My younger one's not even saying a word.” Should we compare like that?

We should not. As a librarian, I have kids reading on all different levels. They might be in one grade level, but we're reading at different reading levels. I always tell the kids, because inevitably they're going to compare, “Why do I have to? Why do I read this book, but he can read this book?” I've always compared reading level growth to our feet. We are all the same age in a classroom, but let's all take off our shoes and look at our feet.

They're all different sizes. That's okay. We're all still walking, we're all still running, and we're all still playing at recess, but we grow and develop at different times. We can see that physical growth and development are different and we accept that. Mentally and in our minds and brains, they grow at different rates and speeds, and that's okay. In the end, we're going to level out and I'll be able to function to the degree that we need to function.

We grow and develop at our own pace, both physically and mentally.

What programs do you offer right now? Reading and writing, yeah?

I offer reading and writing. I have Write Start, which is for the little ones who are having a difficult time getting the concept that these sounds have a visual connection to a letter, and that's the beginning stage of writing. Reading Ready IS where they're ready to start taking the sounds and the alphabet we've sung with them and the word games we've played with them and all their little toys that have the sounds and make them into words that are first recognized individually and then recognized in conjunction with other words to create sentences, the early stages of reading. I have a program for writing that is for middle-aged students, Writing Recovery.

There are a lot of habits that are formed in texting that the kids do and the chatting and the shorthand they use. There's a big challenge right now with them taking their skills to write on these online platforms and write correctly with correct grammar, punctuation, mechanics, and all of that to make professional and academic writing. When they have to put the grammar and everything with it, all of a sudden they're saying, “I don't know what to write.” They can write paragraphs and paragraphs on a chat or a text message.

Half of the words are not words.

It's a mental game with them to get them to say, “I'm taking what I'm thinking and what I can say out loud and I'm putting it in a different format.” relearning the writing stages.

Reading Strategies For Young Children

What's a younger parent can start doing now with their kids at home for reading?

For reading?

I have 1-year-old and 2-year-old kids.

Read to them. Don't pressure them at that age to read. They're still learning how to communicate. They're still connecting their thoughts and feelings with who is in their environment and what in their environment is going to make them feel better. That's not an age to teach them, to stress them about reading. If it comes naturally to them, it comes naturally to them. My daughter was reading by the time she was three. That was her thing. My son has the same exposure to literature. He was reading more compared to her. He was reading better by the time he was 6 or 7.

Big difference.

Huge differences, same exposure, same parent, had to do with their developmental readiness.

Don't compare.

Never compare. We're all different, and we should all celebrate our differences. Whether we're children in school or we're adults, we should celebrate our differences and uniqueness and build from each other. In terms of a parent with a child that's younger and you're concerned about them reading, I want to start looking at it and moving in that direction. Read to them. Don't stress with reading.

How long should the sessions be? How many?

That's something that's unique to each child. Some children can sit still for an entire story, and picture books have around 32 pages. Some children can sit still for the whole story and they can talk about it. They want to look back at the pictures. Some can make it for 4 or 5 pages. Something in the book might inspire them to go create something or what have you. That's fun, too, at that age. However long they can sit for, read to them that amount of time. Let them see you reading. That's very important. Even if they see you reading a cereal box, you're reading.

Read to your children as long as they can sit still. Even if it's just a few pages, it's valuable time spent.

Physical stuff, not on the phone.

I have a great niece and sometimes we don't have a book and she wants to read a book and I'll pull it out on my phone. There are so many free eBooks out there, even children's books, but she knows it's a book. She knows that if we have a book available, then we're going to read the real book. Technology is their future. We cannot discount the technology that's available to them. We need to make sure that we teach them to use the technology that's available to them responsibly and for their benefit.

Set some boundaries around it.

Use it correctly. Read to your children, have books there, and do not ever associate reading with tension, anxiety, and anger. If you're going to read to your child, no matter what the situation, hold them, put your arm around them, put in a snuggle somewhere because when you're reading to the child, you're not focusing on reading. You're building your relationship with them. It creates a sense of home and comfort in the concept of reading, which is very important as well.

You're also connecting deeply with your child during these times, right? You created a tradition around your daughter, right?

Yes. Even in college, when she's doing her college courses from home, she'll bring her big, four-inch thick literature book in there and sit down and read it with me. Sometimes, she reads it herself and sometimes, she still says, “Mama, you read this page.” That's great.

You guys are connected at a different level. It's a true connection. If you're young parents, don't compare, that's what you're saying. Also, read to them. Don't expect them to read. Don't bother comparing your child to your other kids or your friends' kids. Sometimes, we compare them to our friends' kids. They're like showing off, “See my daughter, she's already reading it too.” You're like, “My son's not even saying a word.” That's okay.

That is perfectly okay. Sometimes, when a child reads early, it's not the best thing for the child in the long run.

Why is that? Do they get bored?

No, it has to do with their comprehension. For example, in school, we had a four-year-old who was reading at about a sixth-grade reading model, which was great. Her reading came so easily to her and they didn't teach her. She picked it up on her own by hanging around her big brother from what the parents had said. The content that was hard enough to keep her occupied was not content that was understandable and relatable to a four-year-old child. Yes, she could call words, but when she gets older, we've got to focus on her comprehension because she has skipped so many steps in the development of being able to call words and read at an early age that the concepts in the development of her comprehension have likely been skipped.

I've seen kids that struggle with reading and kids that reading comes very easily to them, like the little girl I was referring to. By around fourth grade, their reading levels are going to pretty much average out. The difference is going to be in their comprehension. If we push a child to read too fast, then they're going to likely have some gaps in the foundation of their comprehension and understanding. It doesn't matter how well we can call words. If we cannot attach meaning to it, then are we reading? It's not always great for the child.

Then you quickly lose confidence too because now you don't know how to answer stuff because then comes writing, along with comprehension starts comes writing.

Oddly, it affects some of them in math. For example, for my daughter, reading came super easy to her. By the time she was in sixth grade, math was more challenging, and she had never had to work very hard at anything academically because reading came so naturally. It made learning something new very scary to her. She hadn't experienced having to struggle and read something new and learn something new. Math was like, “That's another language.” She was scared. She didn't go to college, she was scared of math.

Learning something new can be scary, especially if a child hasn't experienced struggle before. Embrace the challenge to grow.

That's interesting. Parents who are listening, that's interesting. I hear a lot of parents say my kids not reading, but then, as you say, it averages out. Just because you start reading early doesn't mean you have the comprehension part. You may be reading above your grade level, but so what, right? Comes to so what? What's the other stuff?

If you want to help make sure your child is a strong reader when they get to school age or even a little bit before school age, 4 or 5, that's not too early for children to begin reading. Talk to them. If you think about the progression of our language, we have to speak it before we can read it on a piece of paper and know what it means. We have to read it before we can write it and know what it means. There's a progression through it. If any of those steps in the progression are mislearned or not learned or not reinforced, then it's going to cause an issue at some point later on that will need to be addressed. Having strong communication and verbal vocabulary is very important to their reading success as well.

I know that even high-achieving, gifted students have the same thing. They're gifted in certain areas that's why, as Wholistic NeuroGrowth Reading Success coach, we don't put any labels on anybody. I'm curious, how do you learn?

I learn by reading and then writing it. That's how I learn. If I read it, I'm not likely to retain it.

Me neither. I have to write it. I have to write it by hand. I mean, not even type it. I need a pencil or pen to write on a piece of paper. It's locked into my brain.

I cannot handwrite it. I have to read it and then type it in my own words.

We're different.

Very different, same outcome. It doesn't matter how we get there. It matters that we can have our learning styles identified, recognized, and shown how to use our learning styles to our advantage. That's what we do.

That's the unique part of what you offer, which is figuring things out with the child. You're an individual. You have your own strength. You have a superpower you're born with. Let's figure that out and let's play on that. Let's put fire on that. You can boost your inners instead of focusing on all the negative stuff and all the areas where I'm struggling or where I'm weak because we all learn differently. Here we are. We talked about it. I love writing.

I have like four books around me right now. Writing. Handwritten stuff. I bought an iPad to write with a pencil, like an electric pen. I haven't even used it. I bought it saying I'm going to take notes on it. I go back to my books. Even my schedule, I have it right here. It has to be written out. If I don't write it out, I won't even remember my meeting. It could be on my phone. It doesn't matter. It has to be written in this book, and then I will be there. Everybody learns differently. That's what we're learning right now.

As parents, if you're listening, don't compare your kids. let them be how they learn and everybody will reach milestones. Obviously, milestones are missing. There is a time you have to look into it, but be open and curious about how your child learned versus there is something wrong with them. I don't like to go directly. I find parents are like, it's not their fault. Our culture is driven that way. Society is driven that way. We're always looking for a category to place us into.

That's also hard for a lot of parents because then they're like, “If my kid's not reading by two, then he must have some delay or she must have some delay.” Now we're figuring out what delay this is.

Addressing Individual Learning Needs

We wouldn't feel like our kids had so many delays. Our educational system is structured to the middle. I feel like our educational system does not allow us to see the kids where they are and where they need to go individually. We're trying to help them all get there at the same time. It's not feasible.

Our educational system often struggles to cater to individual student needs, making it difficult to identify where each child is at and what their specific learning goals should be.

We do have in the classroom, we say we're going to customize it, we're going to differentiate it. All those are kinds of words, buzzwords. It's hard to do it. When the system is designed to push through a crowd of kids through a grade, how can you differentiate and how much can you differentiate?

I had to talk about this with some colleagues. Our differentiation, what they push on us, is not doing it. It's documenting it. I'm not in a classroom anymore. I'm not going to pretend to know for sure, but I wonder how much of that differentiation is actually happening as opposed to how much it is documented because it's a requirement from all of the external forces that are impacting our classrooms because it's not physically feasible in the amount of time they have to do what they need to do in terms of differentiating instruction.

If you have behaviors of some kids who are not able to regulate themselves in these classes, forget it. How can you, right?

I think that we need to clue in at some level that those behaviors are oftentimes a response to the kids not being in an environment where they can learn and be successful.

They're bored or too hard.

They're bored or they're in a state of fight or flight because they don't understand. I mean, how many of us want to sit there passively and say, “Yes, ma'am, I'll do my best.” when we feel nothing but failure and anxiety?

I always put myself into situations when I was in classes where I didn't understand things, even in math class. I now coach math, but when I didn't understand was like, “When's this class over?” Sometimes, you even wonder if there is going to be a fire drill. Maybe half of this class will be missed. Do you know what I mean?

The issue is to forget this lesson and pick our arm and wrestle.

That's what I mean. Half of the lesson will be missed. Is anyone going to pull the fire alarm? That's what you go through. You doodle in the book. That's why I'm a big writer. I have to write with that because I used to doodle all 5, 6 pages will be filled with doodles because my brain doesn't stay because I want to escape. I put myself back into it when I was trying to learn, and when it wasn't suitable for me, I didn't understand it.

I didn't feel included in so many things, not even the content, but what about your feelings when you don't feel like you have friends in the classroom when you feel like you're not accepted in the classroom, then all of those things also make you want to. You're right. Classroom dynamics is so many things are playing, so many variables are playing, so differentiation is not possible.

Some of the kids that have the misbehaviors or what have you, they would be bored. They are probably very likely to be able to learn that content, but the delivery method, the concept, or the topic is not connecting to them. We have something that we can do as Wholistic NeuroGrowth Learning Success coaches. Make content connect to the student so that not only are they interested in it, but they can form that long-term mental connection with the learning and put it into long-term memory so they can retrieve it and use it and build on it later.

What grade levels do you work your programs go up to?

Right now, I'm working with ages about six to my oldest. One at the moment is sixth grade. I cover a broad level of ranges. In fact, in regards to writing, I mostly work with college-level students who are making the transition from the early stages of writing to fully developed essays that are written with purpose. That's often in the time constraints that are put on kids at school, and that's often something that is very lacking, such as how to write the essays and the level of quality that was required in college. I pretty much work with all grade levels. Reading is reading.

It changes in difficulty, complexity, and interests, and the same is true with writing. It's a skill that builds upon itself. When there are gaps, it does affect the productiveness of the writing and the comprehension of the reading. I find those gaps, close those gaps, and then help the kids move forward. One of the things that I have to offer is breaking barriers. One of my pillars is breaking barriers and that's breaking through that “It's too hard. I don't know what to write. I don't know. The teacher never taught me that.” We break through those barriers, bust them down and move around them.

Love it. You're working with some students and one of the students, Mom, even wanted to thank you even more and sent you some extra gift in terms of wanting to thank you because you changed their, not the reading component, but most importantly, how he was interacting with her.

Yes, I have a homeschool student. I was working with him specifically on reading. That mother was having difficulty getting him to do his math. I was like, “Show me what you need him to work on. I'm, I'm not a math specialist by any means. Send me what you need to work on, what you want to work on with him next week, and I'll do it.” He worked for me. Because he and his mother stopped having that anxiety, every time they were together outside of the homeschool setting at dinner or with family out on vacation, that math anxiety was still there. I moved that, and he has now completed mastery in three of the math topics that she wanted him to work on. I was like, “Wow.”

You taught him how to learn. What did you say earlier, breaking the barriers?

We're breaking barriers.

You're blasting barriers.

Not only did it break his barriers academically, but it broke the barriers between him and his mom and improved their relationship to the point that she called me one night after a lesson and said, “I don't know what you did to my son, but he came in and asked me to help him make his suffer.” She said, “We laughed. We haven't laughed together since we started this homeschool journey.” That was a very touching moment. Yes, she sent me more than normal tuition for what would have been for that week as a thank you for giving them that time together to enjoy and not stress about math.

Homeschooling And Parenting Relationships

A lot of the time, we take our kids out to homeschool, but then we don't have proper guidance. The last thing you want to do is take your kid out to home school and start nagging all the time. Your relationship goes on to build more barriers than you ever want to. Keep building them and building them. It becomes like a big wall that you need somebody like Judy to come and blast them.

Blast the walls. Parenting is so hard in a standard situation. It's so admirable for parents to take on that commitment and sacrifice to homeschool their kids because there is so much that we need to keep them away from in society nowadays if they're exposed to it in the public school setting. It adds a new level of hard to parenting, especially with teens. Sometimes it takes an extra person to come in and say, “Let's change the dynamic, and let's reroute what we're doing for a little bit.”

The relationship is so important between parents and the child. It's so important. Academics can come and go, but relationship, if you break it, it's hard to then ever get back that. It's hard for sure. It's definitely hard. I'm so glad that she saw through that and she was able to have her son back.

She is. Now, she has me working with him on reading and doing his homeschool for math. An interesting turn of events there. I never thought I would be teaching sixth-grade math. Here we go.

The more he believes in himself and knows how to learn, the more he'll do it on his own. The content is never the problem and kids know how to control their minds and how to work.

That's true. We have so much outside pressure coming on to all of us as adults and as children, especially in situations where there's a lot of peer pressure and all of the craziness going on in the schools. It's hard to learn in those environments. It's hard for us as adults to function sometimes in our environments. I think we all need to learn how to break down those walls and break those barriers.

We all face outside pressures, but learning how to break barriers helps us thrive in challenging environments.

If they have older kids, let's say, “I know you don't work with them, but you have experienced your own kids, too.” What if they're not reading at a higher level, and nobody has helped them yet? They pass through it because we know some kids are graduating without knowing how to read. What do we do? What can I do as a parent if I have a teenager who's still not reading properly?

They need to get their child a Wholistic NeuroGrowth Learning Success coach because there are gaps. I will say they're in ninth grade or even a high school graduate and they're not reading fluently, that doesn't mean that they cannot. That means that they need someone skilled to go back and find where there was a gap. We need to go in and fix the foundation. We would not move out of the house because it has a little bit of a foundation issue. We can fix it, but we need a skilled technician to fix it. That's what we are. We're skilled technicians. We can find that gap, close that gap, and then bring them back up to where they need to be relatively quickly once that issue is found.

A lot of parents don't know the difference. Do you want to explain to us what the difference is between a tutor and what you do, Judy?” You've been a tutor, too, before.

Yes, I have. For college level, yes, for several years. A tutor looks at an immediate problem. Almost like a handyman versus a construction or foundation specialist. Yes, an expert. I would call a handyman for this last one. “I need you to come in and fix it.” “Yes, ma'am. That'll take me an hour and a half and I'll fix that lock switch.” An electrician could come in and say, “We don't want to fix that lock switch. There's a short up in the wall. That could result in a fire.”

It's a different level of being able to assess the problem and address the problem. We can fix lots of things with a quick bandaid and move on. That problem is eventually going to resurface. That same thing happens with tutors. They can cover something relatively quickly. They can put a bandaid on it, but if they don't take care of what they're putting that bandaid on, it's going to fester and it's going to reappear and it might even be worse.

Now, you got me thinking. We've been working on our house this weekend. You got me thinking if I got a plumber, not an expert plumber, but an okay plumber, he comes and fixes, I tell him, “Here's a leak, can you fix this?” He fixes it, but he doesn't have the knowledge or he doesn't holistically look at all my pipes or whatever and he fixes it, but it still leaks. After a year, I found out that there's been leaking all over and I have a bigger damage now.

Isn't that what happens to our kids with tutors? We don't get a lot of time because of tutoring. I've been a tutor, too, for many years. I don't get a lot of time. People coming to me and parents coming to me want quick results, like immediate problems, so fix them. It's like that. We don't give the time. They're not prepared, they're not trained, and they're not working holistically to fix anything. It could be a big leak later on and you're going to have to fix that big damage.

A tutor can help a child finish a job or finish an assignment, but because they can finish it with a tutor and score well on it, when it comes time to do that, a similar task, independently, they're not going to have the confidence or the ability or the knowledge or the background to be able to complete it successfully. You help them accomplish it. They might've gotten a 90 on that assignment that the tutor helped them with. When they do it on a test or they do it on their own, all of a sudden, they make a 40 on it and they think they know it.

It's like having a worst problem behind the scenes. You've taken a child who was struggling and you've given them a big chunk of success, a feeling of success. We put a Band-Aid on it. We allowed that success to be yanked out from under them. Why would we want our kids to go through that when we can have their educational gaps fixed with a coach to be able to do that?

That doesn't give them anything. There's a false confidence.

It's a false confidence.

It fails miserably. Kids feel actually even more of a failure after that has happened.

They do because they think they had it, especially when I've worked with high school and college kids with writing and then they're like, “Okay. Yeah.” Then I get those same kids coming right back because when they had to write that essay in class, they couldn't do it.

It's not their knowledge. It's a shared knowledge.

When they do it in a different class, that's a different situation. I don't have that connection to make to be able to produce this in another environment or another topic.

No, it's not. It doesn't transfer the skill a tutor can give them in that immediate surroundings, and it doesn't transfer into other scenarios. It's a new scenario. I don't know how to do that. I've seen that too.

Whereas if I had been happy with those tutoring students to go beneath the surface and find out what was causing them to struggle and what was the block, then we could have fixed it and moved on.

Anything else you want to share with parents about your program, what you do?

Positive Support For Struggling Children

I'd like to leave parents with the thought of being positive. It's so easy to get frustrated with our kids, especially when they're struggling to do something, but getting mad and yelling at them is not going to fix it. In fact, it's going to make it harder for them to overcome it.

What should I do?

They need support. If your child is struggling, no amount of yelling or grounding is going to fix it. No amount of grounding them and making them study extra is going to fix it. They need to find the resources that they need to solve their problem.

The real problem.

The real problem is connecting with the Wholistic NeuroGrowth Learning Success coach.

Get to the real cause, the root cause of the problem, because a lot of the time, we are part of this sick care system. We don't have a health care system. We usually have sick care. We get sick and we get cared for that when it comes to this, too, we fix the symptoms, but it's not going to the real problem. It's always going to fix the symptoms. What about fixing the actual problem that our kids have? That means you don't have to yell. That means your relationship will improve. That means you have less anxiety as a parent and you can focus on building stronger relationships.

That is so important.

Creating some traditions like the ones you've done with your daughter.

Our time with our children is precious and it's limited and we need to make the most of every moment while making them ready to be successful, independent adults in the future. Sometimes that means we need to reach out for help and that's okay. Utilize the resources that are available to you. We're available and ready to help.

Thank you, Judy. I love your program. I love how you coach your students. You're so passionate. As I said, you wanted to do this. You've done all your years. How many was it?

I've completed 29.

You've done the service. Thank you for that. It's a long time. You wanted to serve in an even better, meaningful, powerful way. You're doing it. Thank you so much.

Thank you.

Advice For Teachers Considering The Program

Thank you. If I was to ask you what you would tell a teacher about this program, what would you say?

I would tell her that when she's ready and able because, let's face it, not all of us are able to leave the classroom setting. When she's ready and able, there is a way that she can fulfill the dreams that she had when she first went to school to become a teacher. The dream is still reachable. The dream is still there and we can impact kids the way we've always dreamed of impacting kids. We need to be willing and open to a new way of connecting with them. That's what this is. It's a new way. I think this is going to be the education of the future because more and more of our lives are going toward online and unique resources.

I think that as educators, we need to embrace it. I feel like, over the years, we're going to have so many educators coming into this program. We're already having a teacher shortage. The ones that are there, because their heart cannot stand to leave, there's another way for us to still do what our hearts are telling us to do in a way that's best for the children and best for the parents, too. While we're supporting our children through Wholistic NeuroGrowth Learning Success coaching, we're also in a position where we can directly support our parents.

They need it.

They do. They're struggling in this new society as well. I mean, everything about our world is so different since the COVID pandemic. We're all relearning how to be successful in it, mentally, emotionally, socially. They need help, too.

How has this changed your life?

Doing this has made me so much more confident as a professional. I was under the wheel of the educational system. I've only taught in public education. I've taught in the same school district for the majority of my career. It's a great school district and I love it. They have a heart for education. I wish that somehow I could take my district and bring them all on board with you. It's made me so much more confident.

Back in 2001, I got my Master's degree and was certified to become a principal. I've never acted on it. I did it because I had questions about the educational system. It wasn't what I went to school for. It wasn't what my heart was. Now I understand, this is what my heart was, what we could do here. It's given me enough confidence that I've stepped out, and I'm looking forward to some administrative opportunities within the school systems to make a positive difference. I'm also planning for retirement sooner than I planned to because I feel like I'm more impactful here. I'm more impactful as a coach than I was.

I think you can make great teaching.

I know I've touched the lives of students, but I know that as a coach, I'm touching the hearts of my students and their parents.

The family whole family is getting benefits. That's what we want. Wholistic changes, right?


Thank you so much, Judy. I love serving you in this program, and I'm so excited to see your growth, your happiness, and your husband's happiness. He wasn't a believer when you started?

He was not. There are so many crazy things in the world nowadays, but it's hard to know what's true and what's not. I told him this is my heart. This is what I feel about education and it's all in one place and it's written down and within the first few weeks of me working through the program and doing the modules and learning about things, he's like, “Go. I've never seen you this happy. I've never seen you this professionally happy. Go do. Make your difference.”

Your son saw that, too.

He did. Sometimes, he gets frustrated with me and he says, “Mom, don't touch me.” It's become who I am in our daily conversations and how I work with my children. Thank you. It's not impacted my life, but it's impacted my whole family's life.

They see you.

We communicate differently.

You're inside the family even.

We communicate differently. I'm less stressed as a parent because I have a new way of approaching challenges and helping my kids break their own barriers that I hadn't thought about specifically before, but in learning all of the things that I've learned, I've realized, “Our brain development, it should have been a focus more in my children's lives.”

We need to learn how to control our own operating system. Otherwise, we let it as it happen to us, but what's the power if you have the power to control your brain and command actions and everything has changed? It's a whole new shift. You're in the driver's seat.

My son, when I was telling him about it one day, what we do with our brain and retrain our brains, he said, “Let me get this straight. You're saying that our brain is like a Tesla. It goes and we're supposed to trust it. You want me to drive the car. You don't want me to have an electric car. You want me to learn to control my car.” He's a car guy. He made that connection with car technology. Every now and then, when he starts having a struggle, we'll say, “Are you driving your car or are you in a Tesla right now? Is it taking you where it wants to go?”

Learning to control your brain is like driving a car. Take the wheel and direct your own journey.

I love that.

I've learned a lot about my own children. It's been a great book.

Who's driving the car? Don't autopilot.

That's when he says, “Mom. Stop coaching me.”

I love these successful things that you share with me all the time. Everybody shares that. That's what I want for their family, too. Not you and coach others, but within your family, you'd see change. What about if there's a teacher who wants to start this program but they're on the fence? What would you tell them?

I would tell them that, as teachers, we're always growing. Let this be an avenue to grow. We're always learning about something. Research this, and learn about this. Once they start going, I think they'll be like, “This is why I got into education at the beginning.”

Some people go and take so many Master's degrees, this degree, that degree, but it doesn't translate right away into a business. You were able to finish the program and you're in business.

That's what I have much more mastered than I would be. I pretty much did it over Christmas break and within a couple of weeks, I had a student by the end of January. I wasn't even prepared to have a student yet. There she was. I've resigned her. She's already come to the end of her first three-month program and she's already resigned.

Nobody leaves our learning success coaches. They stay for at least 4 to 7 years, which is the range. Nobody leaves because kids are struggling with one thing or another thing and neurological changes don't happen overnight. Holistically, there are a lot of problems that surface as we grow. Life brings new adventures. We are always part of it and you become part of the family. You're part of their family.

Very true. I had messages from two of my kid's parents, way in other parts of the United States, asking me, “Are you okay? We heard there's that weather where you are.”

They look out for you and then they meet you and they want to meet you. It's amazing. It's a relationship business. As I said, Master's degrees don't get you a job at the end, but this does. You're in business. You're serving the people meaningfully. Thank you so much for your continuous service and your trust. I love having you in our community. Thank you, Judy.

Thank you. I love being here. Thank you for what you've contributed to education.

Thank you so much.

It's insurmountable what you are contributing to our case features.

Thank you so much.

You're welcome.

Important Links

  • Judy Smith

  • Intelli Coach - Judy Smith LinkedIn

  • Judy Owens Smith - Facebook

About Judy Smith

Aligned Learning Revolution (Activate, Accelerate, Achieve) | Judy Smith | Holistic Learning

My name is Judy Smith, I have been married for 27 years and have two children, ages 18 and 21. They are both currently attending college and looking forward to beginning their dream careers. My favorite hobbies are gardening and traveling to beautiful beaches. When I am not busy with family, I am working with students, planning lessons, or researching best practices for teaching. My passion in life is helping others to be positive, confident, and productive in their learning journeys.

Holistic Learning
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Kohila Sivas

Kohila Sivas is a parent and a lifelong learner. She has been a classroom teacher at all levels and a Special Needs Instructor and is a Professional Math Interventionist, a Master NLP coach, and a #1 Best selling author.

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