I’m going to share a personal story about my experience with studying and schoolwork. When I started school, I was considered a “gifted” child. Concepts came easily to me and I was able to retain information and ace tests with ease.
Fast-forward to middle school when my grades started to slip. Passing tests didn’t come as easily as it used to and I found myself struggling. This is because I was never taught how to study and was suddenly left to my own devices.
My parents were going through a divorce at the time, so home-life was a bit out of whack. I didn’t have my parents available to sit down with me and help me study. I think they simply assumed I was still excelling.
I fought the demon-test all the way through high school and eventually into university. My greatest wish was that, despite my “giftedness” early on in school, I had been encouraged to develop good studying skills.
Whether your child is academically inclined, or struggles through lessons, it is vital that you help them to develop study habits as soon as possible. Establishing these skills at a young age can make the difference between academic success and struggle.
Start a Routine When They Are Young
Developing good studying skills begins with creating good studying habits. As soon as your little one starts school, you should establish homework time after school. It is best to give them some time to unwind and have a snack before hitting the books, no matter their age.
When your child is in kindergarten, they probably won’t have homework. At this age, however, you should sit down with your child for at least 10 minutes a day – you can read with them or practice writing letters and numbers.
Beginning in grade 1, your child will likely be sent home with simple homework tasks. Up until grade 5, your little one should be spending around 20 to 50 minutes on assignments. Once in grade 6, homework will involve around 20 minutes on each subject every day.
Homework ramps up in grade 9 and all through high school. Each subject will probably require around 25-30 minutes.
Provide a Quiet Area for Studying
Focusing on homework and study tasks will require a distraction-free area. You can set up a desk in your child’s room or ensure they have a quiet space away from family noise.
Televisions and smartphones should be put away during study time – unless the internet is used to answer questions and clarify concepts your child does not understand.
Help Your Child Create a System for Organizing Notes
When it comes time to study for a test, nothing is more useful than having notes and materials organized for better comprehension. Have your child write down the main thoughts of paragraphs and chapters when studying from a text book. They can also review their notes by underlining important ideas, circling words they don’t understand and jotting down questions in the margins or on sticky notes.
Index cards can be helpful to organize and review key concepts. Have your child write down questions and answers that may appear on a test – quiz them in order to practice answering these questions.
Be Involved and Show Interest
At some point, kids will hate homework. You may not be able to convince them that studying is important for their future but you can ease the torture by showing an interest in what they are doing. Even if you don’t understand the work yourself, asking questions and being curious will increase their interest in what they are learning.
If you can, sit down and help your child with their work. If you can’t, do what you can. That support and care is going to go a long way in helping your child take studying seriously and appreciate the long-term results of good study habits.