Is your child struggling with hours of homework and still not performing well academically. Your child might need a tutor (check out my tips here ) but your child may simply need to learn how to study. As a teacher, one of the things that students seem to struggle with most is how to study. This may come as a shock to you, but many students simply do not know how and some don’t even know how to take notes! If you are concerned about your child’s academic performance here are a few tips you can share to help them study smarter.
Many students walk into the classroom cold. This means that students are interacting with the material in class for the very first time. For some students, this isn’t difficult. For many others, the struggle of listening to new definitions, writing down notes, and processing the information is very challenging. They may walk out of the classroom forgetting everything that was covered. That’s where previewing comes in. Your child can read ahead so that the material is already in their memory. If they use the note-taking style listed below they will also have some notes prepared to use during their class. During the lecture, they can match the information they hear with the information they have in their notes. This will help create what I like to call a “multi-layered approach.” Students who have previewed the material will be much more familiar with new terms and more engaged with the classwork. If you have some time, sit down and preview the material with your child. It’s a great way to get them to interact with what their reading.
Use Cornell Notes:
Lots of students take few or no notes and those that do take notes only write down what the teacher has written on the board. Enter the Cornell Note Taking Strategy. This is my favorite style of note taking because it’s super simple and even gets the most resistant note-taker to write something down. This is a great strategy for one-stop shopping as the notes can be used while reading, filled in during the lecture, and then used again as a review sheet. Because it is a simple two column approach, the notes require the student to enter them in an organized fashion. This forces the student to sort the information immediately and aids in the overall understanding of the material. This style also allows room for questions and opinions that the student may have about the material, depending on the course.
Study in Advance:
If you are watching your child spend hours studying for a test, you can bet that they are cramming. When students spend the time taking effective notes and previewing materials, studying should be much faster. Studying should not be re-reading a chapter or simply re-reading notes. If the notes are organized, students should spend the time reviewing notes and quizzing themselves on the material. They can then spend some more time studying for the material they don’t quite know, instead of wasting time going over material that they have already mastered. Studying like this saves time and proves more effective in the long run.
These students often have particular challenges while studying which can make studying seem even more difficult. If your child has attention issues, using small increments of study time can be helpful. The Pomodoro method uses 25 minute work periods with a five minute break period in order to help students stay focused. For example, set the timer for 25 minutes and ask your child to work on one thing without any distractions (no checking emails or texts). When the 25 minute period is up, time their 5 minute break where they can scroll through Instagram, get a snack or text their friends. Restart that 25 minutes again followed by another 5 minute break. If this is too tough at first, start with 15 minute work period and work your way up. This will help students learn study stamina and also help them to focus on single-tasking instead of multi-tasking. Trust me, many students feel much more accomplished after a few sessions like this.
If your child is a struggling reader, check out some more specific tips here. All students can feel overwhelmed about studying, but giving them the tools can be helpful. Helping students learn how to manage their own academics helps them to become more independent and therefore more confident in their ability to be successful. I’d say that’s a pretty great result. What are some helpful study tips you have to share?
Mom, wife, educator, and loyal friend. Passionate about all things reading and writing. Sharing parenting tips with an educator’s lens.