Young children, and some teens, don’t have the executive function skills needed to successfully manage their academic lives independently. Executive function skills are the mental processes we need to plan, focus, and organize our lives as we envision our futures. We’re not born with them; we develop them as we mature. That’s why many young students need parent and teacher involvement to create detailed routines around homework, projects and assignments. They will eventually get there, but until then, if you notice them looking like they don’t know what to do next, it’s probably because they don’t.