High Performance, for everyone

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CSM is a self-paced online course that builds High Performance. For young adults, this means becoming:

  • more persistent in the face of challenges
  • more self-reliant
  • more careful and detail-oriented
  • more confident
  • more work-ready

These High Performance competencies are among the most important factors for success in whatever you do -- whether school, college, work or life -- yet many students fail to develop them in high school (and limitations of our school systems contribute significantly to this failure). CSM is a single, inexpensive, engaging, supportive course, packed with next-generation technology, that builds all of these essential performance competencies.

The outcome, even for students who start substantially behind in academics, is college math skills and credit, key workforce literacy skills, problem solving strategies, employability skills, improved career decision-making, and more. Most importantly, you'll have a heightened sense of their own possibilities and belief in their ability to succeed.

CSM: a new type of course

High Performance

CSMlearn's initial funding was from the US Department of Education, which tasked us with identifying the most important factors for individual success in school, college, work and life. We identified five High Performance factors, which became the core curriculum for CSM.

  • Academic skills: CSM's quantitative reasoning and applied literacy include the math and literacy that is most useful in everyday life.
  • Problem solving: the ability to solve real world problems with these math and literacy skills.
  • How to learn on your own: your career success depends on continued learning throughout your life -- even in the workplace, where there are no teachers.
  • Performance behaviors: On the job, the only acceptable grade is an "A", and so you need to have strong attention to detail. You also need persistence to push through challenges, and self-reliance, because you can't always go to others for help.
  • Performance attitudes and mindsets:High Performance for professional athletes flows from their intention to excel coupled with a belief in their ability to succeed, and your own success in education and work is no different. These attitudes fuel persistence, which leads to carefulness, better learning, and more.

Despite the importance of these High Performance factors, they are often overlooked in school and college.

Groundbreaking innovation in personalized learning

CSM's ground-breaking, next-generation adaptive learning system simultaneously personalizes instruction in academic, how-you-learn, how-you-act, and how-you-feel domains. Behind the scenes, CSM responds to how you work, your frustration levels, your learning strategies, and more to help develop High Performance factors. Here are a few examples of the CSM's hundreds of techniques.

CSM acts like a personal tutor

If a student is stuck, it sends them to another skill and brings them back later, rather than push relentlessly. It detects and responds to students' specific mistakes. And if it sees deeper gaps, CSM can take the student to instruction in skills as low as 4th grade math and literacy.

CSM builds a desire for excellence

The only passing grade in CSM is 100%. By achieving this, students learn what A-level work is, gain confidence in their ability to do A-level work, and experience the joy of mastery.

CSM builds confidence

When a student masters a skill, CSM will tell them that they've learned something that only XX% of 4-year college grads (often less than 50%) and YY% of all adults can do (often less than 25%). Students learn that they struggle not because they're not good at academics, but because the skills are hard for everyone.

Career Strategies

It doesn't matter what you've learned in school or college, if you make poor career choices. Yet in high school, students spend 4000 hours in academics, and on average get just 30 minutes of career counseling (many get none).

CSM includes an optional course-within-a-course called Career Strategies that teaches the skill of lifelong career decision-making.

+ Click here for an overview of some Career Strategy lessons...

  • The main difference between a career and a job is long-term thinking.
  • While credentials can get you a job, it's promotions that build your career. These promotions come from your performance, and your performance comes from personal and professional assets that you can be building every day in high school.
  • A living wage is a good salary target -- research shows it gives near maximum life satisfaction, and earning twice as much makes you only a small amount happier. The living wage changes with geography, age, marital status and kids, and is less than you might think!
  • Many career discussions focus on finding a job that will give you purpose. But purpose doesn't come from the job, it's what you put into the job, and Career Strategies will help you learn how to do that.
  • And finally, Career Strategies tells you that most people don't follow a simple career path, but rather make many detours and sidesteps. You can make plans now, and maybe they'll work out how you think, but you should know that making mistakes in career decisions is just fine - everyone does it and it's how you learn both about yourself and the World of Work.

College and Career

CSM gains college math credit

CSM has received a recommendation from the American Council on Education (the major coordinating body for the nation's higher education institutions) for 3 semester hours of quantitative reasoning at the baccalaureate level, earning college elective and math credit at a range of colleges. This credit fills you with college confidence, and can save hundreds of dollars on college tuition while potentially satisfying some college math requirements without the need for algebra.

CSM skills are valued in the workplace

CSM is aligned with Common Employability Skills -- the most widely-adopted framwork for the skills that employers care about for all jobs. In fact, CSM has been taken by the CEO of Firehouse Subs and the Senior Vice President of Operations of a Fortune 500 manufacturing company -- taking the same course that high schoolers take! While different people need different skills, CSM's High Performance employability skills are of universal value.

CSM Expert Online Coaches

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Most students will benefit from a coach. For students working on CSM at home, CSMlearn offers expert online coaches, who provide help in developing learning strategies, persistence, attention-to-detail, and an "I'll knock it out of the ballpark!" attitude. At the same time, they help keep you on track, encourage you when your efforts flag, and give you a high five on your successes (and in CSM, there are many!). The coach communicates with you by text, by a messaging service within CSM, and/or by phone, and will stick with you for as long as it takes you to complete CSM.

CSM is different from anything that you've encountered -- it requires 100% correct answers to make progress, and you have to learn the math, literacy and problem solving on your own -- both of these are tough if you haven't done them before. CSM online coaches have access to novel online tools that give them insights into key issues, and can help you maintain steady progress. If possible, we strongly encourage you to use CSM with a coach.

Pricing

$39

All of the following services are included for this single price

  • The CSM course
  • The CSM Certificate, which is earned on completion of CSM, and which demonstrates having attained key employability skills
  • A college math transcript, administered by the American Council on Education, which gains college credit at many colleges
  • The optional Career Strategies course
  • The optional CSM+ courses, that can be taken after CSM, and which teach problem solving and critical thinking skills, up to advanced college level
$99

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You can start today

CSM addresses the underlying factors responsible for most student school issues, setting people up for success in education, work and life, whatever their path.

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  • From a teacher working with academically-challenged students

    "The consistent feedback from teachers has been that CSM makes the students work hard - it doesn't let them off, and it doesn't let them guess. Yet instead of frustrating the students, they appear to enjoy working with it... The unanimous feelings of the math teachers involved in the program is that students are learning in ways they haven't before."

  • Students who have struggled academically

    "CSM definitely helped with confidence in learning and not being afraid to learn something new/something you could never figure out. I never been more motivated to learn."

    "It makes me take some time out my day to do something to help me better my future."

    "It has helped me to take my time slow down until I understand the steps to get a problem right."

    "CSM changed me because it taught me not to give up when something gets hard, just take a moment then try again. It also taught me to have patience."

  • Survey Results

    The following responses are from 18-24-year-olds who didn't complete high school. Astoundingly, on completing CSM, 30% of these students self-registered for an associate's degree, and over 70% have either graduated or have multi-semester persistence (both of these numbers are many-fold national averages).
    I enjoyed working on CSM 90%
    CSM made me more careful in my other work 93%
    I am better at finding my own mistakes 85%
    CSM has made me feel better about my math skills 86%
    CSM makes me think harder than regular classes 88%
    I would recommend CSM to my friends and family 95%

Frequently asked questions

Click on any question to see the answer

For both high schoolers and parents

How long will it take to complete CSM?

CSM is highly personalized, and so different users take very different amounts of time. Most highschoolers will finish CSM in between 20 to 80 hours. Some who may be far behind in their academics, have limited English, or have certain personal challenges, may require more time. It's best if you spend 2 hours or more on CSM each week, so that you're making progress and can gain "ownership" of your work.

What grade levels does CSM work with?

Typically, we suggest that CSM be used no earlier than 8th grade.

What type of device can I use, and how good must my Internet service be, to take CSM?

CSM can be used on desktop and laptop computers, on Android tablets and iPads, and on iPhones and Android phones. CSM is somewhat easier to use on larger screens and with regular keyboards.

CSM can be used with modest speed Internet. And if you're using your cell phone data plan to take CSM, it doesn't consume large amounts of data, as there are no videos in CSM.

Does CSM actually earn college math credit?

Yes! CSM is a college-level math course, and on earning the CSM Certificate on completion of the course, you can request a transcript from the American Council on Education (the primary coordinating body for higher education in the US) to be sent to colleges. Visit the ACE Credit Recommendation webpage for a list of colleges who have established practices for accepting CSM for credit (e.g. with colleges representing roughly 25% of all online students). Other colleges will treat CSM as transfer credit from another college.

Can I take CSM without a coach?

Yes -- you can sign up for CSM without a coach, and it's only $39 (the coach is an extra $99). People without some college particularly benefit from a coach. Especially at the beginning, you may find CSM very challenging, as you have to get 100% of answers right, and you have to learn the skills on your own. CSM coaches can help you get over hurdles and keep on track, and also are someone to share successes with.

For more information, see the later FAQ on "How do I work with the CSMlearn expert online coach?"

What are CSM+ courses?

After you take CSM, there are a number of CSM+ courses that work on problem solving and critical thinking to the advanced college level. Unlike CSM, there is no instruction, but you learn incrementally by doing (though hints are available for some problems). Like CSM, you still have to get everything 100% right. CSM+ Courses are free for people taking CSM.

These courses start about the level that the regular CSM Course concludes, and cover three areas:

  • Problem-Solving People follows the residents of the fictional town of Hutterville through their careers and the problems they encounter. Professions include a veterinarian, reporter, skateboard shop owner, college student, and more. Problem-Solving People builds an exploration mindset, critical and logical thinking, persistence, attention to detail, and self-efficacy.
  • Mathematical Intuitions builds math confidence, fluency, and engagement. Topics covered include statistics, percent change, geometry, and more. Concepts are taught without lessons by presenting problems in sets of slightly increasing depth and complexity.
  • Social Science Explorations create engagement with research in topics such as Becoming an Expert and Perceptions of Fairness. You'll study important experiments in psychology and sociology and draw conclusions to confirm or reject hypotheses. In addition to introducing students to basic experimental design and data interpretation, Social Science Explorations also helps with reading scientific information and and critical thinking.

These courses cover an extremely broad range of topics, and were designed to be interesting and fun (yes, really!). There's no certificate at the end, and they're not a requirement of CSM, but they will strengthen the performance competencies that you built in CSM.

Really, why should I take Career Strategies?

Most people have had little or no career guidance in their life -- a few minutes in high school, college or at the workforce center, and what there is, is usually about a single decision like: are you going to college? what will your career be? However, for most people, whatever decision you make today won't last your life, and here's some reasons why.

There's a lot to learn about yourself and work

As a highschooler, you're still learning about yourself, and you likely don't really know the world of work. Why should any decision that you make now, with the least information at hand, rule the rest of your life? To be clear, older adults with a lot more knowledge still make really bad decisions.

And how are you going to learn about all of this -- in school? On average, people have 6 jobs in the first 5 years after the formal education (high school/college). This isn't a failure of the system, this is how you learn about yourself and the world of work. You don't need a decision now, you need a starting path and a way of learning from what happens to you (good and bad).

You're changing all the time

Think about yourself 4 years ago -- were you the same person? Aren't you still changing?

Let's say that today you like being outdoors and doing things with your hands. It sounds like being a construction carpenter would be a great job. But later, you may want to start your own contracting company, where you'll then spend your time indoors with finances, hiring and supervising people, and marketing your business.

And just because you've wanted to be a doctor since you were 6 years old doesn't mean that you have it all figured out. First, you may not be able to get into medical school. But in addition, about half of new teachers leave the teaching profession in the first 3 years of teaching, and over 20% of people with law degrees never practice law. These numbers don't include the large numbers of people who start law school or teaching programs in college, and don't finish. When you learn more about a profession or experience it firsthand, your view of it today will certainly change -- perhaps more excited, or less.

The world is changing all the time

In the last 10-20 years, the world of work has experienced extreme changes, and entire industries are appearing, disappearing and changing -- and it's slated to get even more extreme in the next 10-20 years. For example, we are in the midst of a "retail apocalypse" where retail stores are closing at rates never seen before, with a loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs. This is mirrored by an increase in the number of information technology (IT) jobs. The job that you think you want now, may not exist in 10 years.

You have something like 40-45 years of work ahead of you (from 20-25, until 65 years of age), and it's hard to imagine what the world will be like when you're retiring -- if you're in high school today, this will be around 2080!

There's more than just the choice of a job/career

A lot of career guidance makes it seem like what it's all about is choosing a career and then getting a first job in that career (or getting a key credential for that career). However, a career is built not from getting that first job, but eventually from a series of promotions. These promotions come from your performance, and your performance from personal and professional knowledge, skills, and mindsets -- do you know what they are and how to develop them?

And there are a zillion daily questions of all sorts:

  • Do I sign up for the management training program?
  • My boss is being really difficult - what should I do?
  • I'm not really enjoying myself at work -- how can I make this job more enjoyable? Or is it time to do something else?
  • How do I get myself set up for a promotion? How can I get my boss to notice me?
  • I've been working for years in restaurants - is it time for me to start my own restaurant?
  • I need some help -- who should I go to at work to talk to?
How confident are you that you know how to approach these questions?

Career Strategies

The point of the discussion above isn't simply to scare the living daylights out of you, it's to point out that things are really, really complicated, and you're not going to figure it all out tomorrow -- you'll probably figure it out just in time to retire. Going to college is just delaying matters, and for the most part, college doesn't really teach you about the World of Work.

Most importantly, you don't need someone to help you with that ONE decision, but rather to help you figure out how to make a thousand daily decisions on your own. This is what Career Strategies is attempting to do. It's not going to answer all your questions or make you an expert at this -- for most of you, it's only about 5-8 hours of instruction for a lifetime of decisions. But it will give you an introductory view of the issues, what careers and work lives are for most people, what questions you should be thinking about and some of ways of approaching them. And then it connects you to free resources on the web to help.

Career Strategies will make you more prepared and confident, and your decisions more thoughtful and better informed.

How does CSM make learning enjoyable?

CSM is challenging and it's got a lot of math -- this is not most people's idea of fun. However, the majority of people taking CSM (including struggling high school students) find it enjoyable. What's up?

CSM has a number of properties that make it more enjoyable:

  • It has a lot of success built-in. From the beginning, you'll be earning successes. All of your successes involve doing A+-level work on skills that many 4-year college graduates can't do. And CSM will also be pointing out where you're doing well in learning strategies, persistence, and more. Being successful feels good!
  • It doesn't have the time stress of school work. A lot of school work involves having to work quickly -- on a test, getting homework finished by tonight, and more. In CSM, time isn't really a factor. If you get though CSM in 15 hours or 90 hours, you get the same CSM Certificate. In fact, a key lesson in CSM is to slow down and take your time.
  • There are no grades in CSM (and no grade anxiety). There are no tests in CSM, and no grades -- as we said, everyone earns the same CSM Certificate.
  • CSM is forgiving and patient. CSM does require a lot of attention to detail, and it doesn't let you get by with careless mistakes. But making "real" mistakes is not considered bad in CSM -- those mistakes are how you learn. If you're stuck on a skill, CSM will try to you on something else and bring you back when you're ready.
  • CSM is meaningful. As you work on CSM, you will appreciate that you're learning things that will be important to you.

Your motivation for doing things in life are generally split into "internal" and "external" motivations. External motivations are things like grades, awards, degrees, and money, and this is how the world (education and work) is generally set up to encourage you to do things.

Internal motivations are less obvious, but they appear to be the basis for healthy, fulfilling lives. There's a lot to say on this subject, but in short, internal motivation often include three factors, and CSM connects to all three:

  • Autonomy -- that you feel that you're in control of what you do. Even if it's your parents encouraging you to do CSM, this is something that you can do for yourself. Make it your decision to take CSM.
  • Mastery -- CSM is built around developing the joy of mastery -- it requires 100% in everything that you do.
  • Purpose and Meaning -- CSM is meaningful to you and your future, and Career Strategies is about how you connect to the world with purpose. It teaches that you don't have to cure cancer to do that, and that whatever you do, can be done with purpose.
    • If you embrace CSM with internal motivation in one or more of the ways above, it'll be even more enjoyable.

For high schoolers

I'm really struggling in school. Can I really do CSM?

We don't know you, so we can't make any promises. However, we do have lots of examples of students who dropped out of high school, who have mild learning disabilities, who struggle with math, or who have limited English -- and yet have earned their CSM Certificate.

Also, remember, CSM isn't a race -- you take as long as you need on each skill. CSM also 'knows' that some days you do better than others -- it doesn't ask too much of you, and is patient. If you have a coach, they'll work along with you as long as it takes.

And while technology isn't everything, CSM is the most advanced personalized educational technology available today. It's artificial intelligence tries to make sure that you're not asked to do things beyond your abilities, and it adjusts not only to your knowledge of math and literacy, but also to your frustration levels, attention to detail and learning strategies.

And your life won't end if you're not able to complete CSM -- the benefit isn't all in the certificate, but in the learning and growing you do while in CSM.

I'm an A student. Does CSM still make sense for me?

Remember, CSM is taken by corporate managers with bachelors and advanced postgraduate degrees. In surveys, at the 95% or greater level, these people say that CSM is engaging, challenging, makes them better at their jobs, and makes them both more prepared and more excited for further education.

It may be that it will fill in some gaps in your math and literacy. For example, many high schoolers (and adults) may be "good at math", but have very little mental math ability, which CSM teaches. And CSM has only about a 50% overlap with the Common Core standards used by most schools, and so you'll be learning a lot of new material you haven't seen in school. And when you complete CSM, there are CSM+ Courses that go to even more advanced levels.

But remember, CSM does a lot more than math and literacy. It may be that CSM strengthens your ability to learn on your own, or your attention to detail (most people need help with this!), or persistence, or more. These are all areas that schools pay less attention to.

Really, why should I want to take CSM?

We don't know if you're struggling or a rock star student, so it's hard to respond to your specific circumstances. But here's the basic reasons you should give CSM a try.

First, CSM will really, truly change you in some good way, and everyone seems to be affected differently. Struggling high school students might say that they finally understand math and feel good about it. Others talk about confidence. People with advanced degrees who take CSM uniformly point out how it improved their attention to detail. Most people say that it made them more excited and prepared for further education. Most classes are trying to teach you mainly one thing (math classes teach math), but CSM is doing a lot of things at once, and some of them will stick.

While you may not understand where or when you'll use all your school work, most of what you'll learn from CSM is actually reasonably important for your success, wherever life takes you. Things like really solid workplace math, knowing how to solve problems better, knowing how to learn and feeling good about it, having attention to detail and better persistence, knowing what A level work is and that you can do it consistently and that it feels good -- these high performance skills are at the heart of most people's future success.

Surveys show that about 40% of adults in the US don't want to have anything to do with education and training -- they feel bad about their learning (and may not actually be very good at it), or had a really bad, demeaning high school experience. This dislike of education will without question hold them back in their work lives. However, one thing that most people say about CSM is that it made them more prepared and excited about further education. This doesn't mean that you're going to college right away or ever -- everyone has a different path, and CSM doesn't push. However, if you decide not to go to college or a post-high school training program, it shouldn't be because you're scared, or hate learning, or are too far behind, and CSM will definitely help with this.

Let's say that you're still skeptical. We can't promise that CSM is right for you. However, our guess is that you also can't be sure that CSM is wrong for you, either. Given that CSM has big potential benefits (and really isn't that much work), here's a suggestion: why don't you commit to do somewhere between 5 and 8 hours to CSM in the next 2, 3 or 4 weeks -- this will be enough to get you over the shock of starting something so unfamiliar. If you're not loving it, you can put it on hold for now -- your account never expires, and it will stay around for some later time when it might make more sense.

How do I work with the CSMlearn expert online coach?

The coach will establish with you the best way to communicate: text; messaging within the CSM Course; email; phone. The amount of interaction will vary with how much you're working on CSM, how much difficulty you're having, and how much help you need and request. The coach will be checking on your progress regularly, and contact you as necessary, and you're always free to contact them.

It's critical to remember that the coach is NOT there to help you with the academic content - the math, literacy, and problem solving -- this is your responsibility to learn on your own. It's the coach's task to help you learn how to do this. Because of this, it's not necessary for the coach to be available all the time, and it can actually be harmful -- if the coach is always there, it can undermine your self-reliance and persistence. You can wok on CSM at 2am, and if you get stuck, CSM will just take you to some other skill, and you can check in with your coach during the day.

If you need a little kick in the pants to get going at times, the coach will do that. They'll be giving you a lot of high fives. They'll listen to your complaints. They'll always treat you with respect, and expect it back from you in return.

Remember, this is not an adult-to-child relationship, even if they're a 45-year-old licensed instructor and you're in high school. First, you're not a child, but already a young adult making difficult, important adult decisions about your life. And secondly, the person that they talk to right before you might be a corporate manager taking CSM. They'll treat you pretty much the same (including giving kicks in the pants to the managers, who often need them).

What will CSM or my coach tell my parents?

Whoever pays for CSM, our primary responsibility is actually to you, the student. And with that responsibility comes respect for your privacy, even with respect to your parents. Unless we have your permission, we won't generally share with parents detailed information about what skills you're struggling with, what your persistence level is, or more.

There are, however, two exceptions to this privacy. First, if you haven't gotten onto CSM for a few weeks and we're having trouble getting hold of you, we may contact your parents to find out if there's some issue like you're not working during a vacation, you've quit CSM, you're focusing on a school play, or whatever.

Secondly, if you tell the coach some things -- that you are thinking of hurting yourself, that someone is hurting you, that you're doing something illegal -- then the coach may have a legal responsibility to share this with your parent or authorities. We don't have a choice on this (this is true with teachers in school, as well). But if you mention that you're having regular everyday issues with your parent or friends or life, this is a private conversation.

Finally, if you want, we can share information with your parents on your progress -- the skills you've mastered, the persistence you're displaying, how well you're learning to learn. There's a lot of positive information coming from CSM, and you may like your parents to know.

Can I do CSM with friends?

Absolutely! Everything is better with friends, and learning is best as a social effort. A few things to remember, however...

First, everyone goes at a separate pace in CSM, and so it's likely that one of you will be going faster than another. CSM isn't a race, however, and there are no prizes for going faster (and because of the high attention-to-detail needed, going faster can slow you down!). If you and your friend are hyper-competitive, make a truce!

Second, feel free to complain to one another about CSM! There will probably be things that you don't like, and having someone to share your feelings with is great. However, also bring to these complaint sessions thoughts about how you can get past your issues.

Third, don't help one another much with the skills -- it's really important that people learn how to learn on their own. If you want to help, you can talk about how you were able to learn from CSM, and maybe look at how they're trying to learn (this is in part what the coach does).

How do I do CSM while I have so much homework from school?

We don't know your schedule or your homework, so our suggestions may not be right for you.

The trick to CSM isn't rushing to get it done right away -- CSM will take most high school students 20-80 hours, and so it won't get done tomorrow. We suggest that you try to get in at least 2 hours a week, and in blocks of at least 45 minutes (for example, three 45 minute sessions). If you get less than 2 hours a week, your progress can be very slow, and it's easy to forget about CSM. You may be able to get more time in during school breaks and holidays (yes, holidays!), or during the summer (yes, summer!).

If you have a personal CSM expert online coach, they can help you think through how to find time for CSM. And remember, as you get better at learning through CSM, your school homework will get easier -- try to make some progress early in CSM, and it will show up in less time on your homework.

For parents

How do I sign up my high schooler for CSM?

Either you or your child should go to the top of most CSMlearn.com pages and click on "SIGN UP", or click the red REGISTER button higher up on this page. You should put in YOUR CHILD'S INFORMATION. There will be some options: we encourage you to select a CSM expert coach, and also to include the "Career Strategies" option.

The registration will take less than 5 minutes. Usually, within 24 hours (often sooner, though perhaps longer on weekends), your child will be contacted by their coach, and they'll be off and running.

How do I convince my resistant highschooler to take CSM?

Your high schooler will come to CSM from many different perspectives. Some teenagers feel bad about their academic abilities, and are certain they'll fail anything they do. Or they have had demeaning experiences in school and don't want more education, but less. Or they may not want to be pushed into something by their parents. Given that we don't know your highschooler (or your relationship with them), here are some general suggestions.

First, encourage them to come to this webpage, view the videos, and read through the other parts of the page and some of the Frequently Asked Questions. If you have the relationship, perhaps look over the page together and talk about it.

If there are "deals" to be made, a good compromise is for them to agree to take 5-8 hours of CSM -- and it's important to set a time limit (probably 2, 3, or 4 weeks). The first few hours of CSM are tough: you have to get 100% on everything, and you have to learn the skills on your own (even if there's a coach, the coach is helping you learn how to learn, but is not teaching you the skills). Something like 5-8 hours is usually enough time for the "hooks" to set in: they're making progress; they're finding that they can do things that college grads can't; they're feeling good about themselves and enjoying CSM. If these things aren't happening, then perhaps it's not for your highschooler at this time. Note, however, that CSM and Expert Online Coaches never expire!

For some parents, it might make sense to offer to take CSM along with their child. If so, be honest about your personal feelings about doing this (worried that your skills have gotten worse since your last education; embarrassed that your child will see you struggle; whatever). There is another FAQ below that gives more thoughts on taking CSM with your highschooler.

See whether one of their friends would be interested in taking CSM, as well. Learning is best as a social experience, and they can whine about CSM together... and help one another. You may first want to check out the Frequently Asked Question above about friends taking CSM.

What is my role as my highschooler takes CSM?

Here are some possible roles for you:

  • Help to make sure that your highschooler is putting time into CSM -- at least 2 hours a week. The coach will be working on this as well, but the coach doesn't know what's happening at home or school, and may not have much sway with the child (the relationship can take a few weeks to develop).
  • Be encouraging to your child. CSM really is challenging, and your child should know that you appreciate their effort. And when they complain, acknowledge that it's challenging, and you're excited that they're putting in the time.
  • If they're taking the Career Strategies course (and we'd encourage it), check in with them frequently -- perhaps at dinner. The Career Strategies lessons are life lessons that are good to talk about, and they will likely be interesting to you, too. Some topics include how much you have to earn to be happy; the relationship of purpose and jobs (and it's not that jobs give you purpose); the difference between a job and a career; how do you get promotions. Above in this page is a brief overview of the CSMlearn lessons.

One thing to make sure of: please don't help your child with the math, literacy skills and problem solving skills. This undermines their persistence and self-reliance, and it's their job to learn the skills on their own. On the other hand, you are encouraged to talk to them about how they're able to learn the skills, deal with their frustration, get 100% right, etc. Thinking about how you learn and succeed (formally, this is called "metacognition") is among the most important life skills.

Can/should I take CSM along with my highschooler?

Yes, you can take CSM -- just register for yourself as described for your highschooler above, but for yourself, and you can do this with or without a coach as you feel.

But why would you take CSM? Here are 6 reasons:

  • Your child won't think of CSM as remedial if you're taking it as well. If they think it's remedial, it's "all-lose": struggling on remedial material is damning, and if they succeed, it was only for a remedial program.
  • Your compliments to your child will ring more true -- otherwise, sometimes, children can hear compliments as condescending or ignorant.
  • Your complaints about CSM (it's hard; I forgot to put in time this week; I can't get 100% of the question right!) will mirror those of your child, and it feels really good to complain together (there's even a word for this: commiseration!).
  • You're now in a better position to help your highschooler succeed at CSM. After the complaining of the previous bullet point, you can then talk about what you do to handle your respective challenges. This isn't talking about how to do the skills, but about how you learn, and deal with frustration, and make sure that you get everything right, and when you know you should quit for the day, and how you make sure that you get back on, and how you use notes, and when you use a calculator.
  • We believe that Career Strategies is really important -- these are life lessons that every person should get at some point. If you and your child both take Career Strategies, there's a lot to talk about, and it can serve as a starting point for you to tell your child more about your life -- what jobs you've had and what made them good or bad, how you think about what a good salary is, what's important in choosing a job, smart/dumb career choices you made, how to handle supervisors, and more.
  • CSM will help you. Remember, CSM is taken by corporate managers and executives -- this isn't just for teenagers. It will fill in gaps in math and literacy, and we hear from people with advanced degrees that it strongly helps with attention to detail and makes them more prepared and excited for further education. If you don't have a high school diploma or a college degree, CSM is good preparation for a GED or taking college placement tests.

However, this is NOT a requirement for your highschooler to succeed, and some children may not want to share CSM with their parents.

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