Most of us don’t spend a lot of time thinking about our kids’ study habits until low-scoring crumpled tests make the long journey home. We sit down with our kids and talk the ugly grade out, all the while trying to reconcile the blurred line between laziness and personal best.
And while most parents realize stellar grades aren’t the sole indicator of intelligence, we all want our kids to perform well in school.
So what happens when your child says they’re trying their best and the bad grades keep coming? It might be time to dig a little deeper.
Learning is highly individual, and while our teachers are working their tails off to educate our kids in accordance with state curricula, sometimes we have to wonder whether our students know how to process the information effectively. While the answer isn’t always clear, one thing remains certain: poor study habits negatively impact academic performance.
1. Music And Television
Music and television serve as major distractions, even when enjoyed by family members in other rooms of your home. Flickering lights and sounds not only pique your child’s interest, they slow down the learning process and hinder reading comprehension. Refrain from watching TV or listening to music during study time to give your student the best possible shot at learning.
2. Wrong Study Partners
Study partners can serve as a valuable educational resource for your child, provided they’re the right ones. Not every friend does a study partner make, so watch your child closely to make sure they’re benefiting from homework time spent with peers.
Social connectivity can serve as an ongoing distraction for older kids, with constant text messages, push notifications, alerts, and incoming calls. Collect all cell phones, laptops, and tablets (unless of course, they’re used for learning) during study time to remove this educational roadblock.
4. Insufficient Time
If you’re expecting your kid to finish their math homework during the 10 minute commute from the school parking lot to the soccer field for practice, you might want to reconsider. While extracurricular activities are undoubtedly beneficial for kids, adequate homework and study time are required to produce quality grades.
5. Household Chaos
It can be difficult for students to carve out adequate space and quiet learning time in the center of their bustling households. Consider designating a specific bedroom for study time between certain weekday hours so your student can dedicate their full attention to learning. Alternatively, a public or school library also provides an excellent learning environment free from distraction.
6. Poor Note-Taking Skills
Note-taking skills take practice, and if your child hasn’t learned satisfactory recording strategies, success becomes increasingly difficult as subject matter becomes more challenging. How can you teach you child how to record the key points in a lesson, take notes on visual aids and organize their thoughts? Through a series of helpful websites such as NoteTakingHelp.com, GreatSchools, and eHow Mom that offer great suggestions for academic success.
7. Lack Of Organization
By their very nature, kids are unorganized. While it’s certainly not our responsibility to oversee every last assignment (particularly in the upper grades), we can certainly help our kids organize their materials and resources. When our kids have their assignments and calendars in functional working order, academic discipline improves.
We’ve all procrastinated our way to assignment completion, but it has never once showcased our best efforts. Assist your child with establishing proper time management skills for completing homework assignments and projects, reading, and preparing for exams. When parents prioritize family schedules and extracurricular activities around academics, students win.
9. Lack Of Preparation
It’s nearly impossible to study without the right tools, so if your child is notoriously forgetting to bring home necessary textbooks and study materials, work out a checklist system that your student can use daily before leaving the classroom to help remind them. Working with your child’s teacher for additional support is also helpful.
You may have been the crammer king of your local chapter once upon a time, but cramming for exams is hardly an effective method of learning. Knowledge retention requires sufficient time, energy, and brainpower — none of which come from information overload and sleep deprivation.