Most students work best when they are organized. How is your child’s binder organized? Does he/she have a working system? Use subject dividers and encourage your child to maintain them through the semester. Being organized makes it easier to find things. Have your child track all the homework in one place. Purchase a small spiral book and teach your child to write every assignment in one place. You can help your child reduce the time spent fishing crumpled assignments from pockets or calling friends. At night, have your child check off completed assignments and file them in the proper section of his binder.
2. Planning Ahead.
To eliminate the frantic cramming before a big test, have your child begin studying earlier, working on portions of the material each night. By spending the night before the big test reviewing notes, your child will feel less pre-test anxiety and the control of preparedness.
One great study technique is outlining. Students retain more information by writing than by skimming over a particular text. (Outlining also provides for comprehension, and is very different from highlighting)
4. Peace & Quiet.
The best way to concentrate is to work in a quiet, comfortable atmosphere. To avoid the numerous distractions in today’s hectic households, consider clearing some space on the dining room table so the student can spread out materials easily. Make sure that any distractions are kept at bay. Telephones, radios and televisions should be out of ear and eyesight so that your child gets the optimal results from the time put in to studying.
5. Pre-tests and Self-quizzing.
Your child should eventually learn to study effectively and independently. In the meantime, and if you have time, create flash cards key words that will be addressed on tests. Write up pre-tests that will create the semblance of test pressure so your child will know what to expect the next day. Time the tests and go through answers together. Sometimes it’s helpful to do a pre-test in the morning.
6. Filing and the Final Exam.
Make sure your child has a working system so for filing outlines, flash cards and pre-tests for the final exam. Filing will create a built-in study plan and a methodical approach to studying for finals. Review any test material once at night and once in the morning. This will help to keep your child focused and familiar with the material, reinforcing key points and critical information.
7. Neatness Counts: The 3 P’s.
Presentation, Preparation, and Proofreading count! Your child is constantly presenting him or herself on paper. Neatness is a very simple and surefire way of making your child “teacher friendly.” Teachers have scores of papers to pour over each day. Submitting neat homework suggests that concern went into the work. I tend to equate neatness with respect. A neatly submitted paper just reads better. Teach your child to proofread everything, reading out loud and listening for choppiness or awkward sentence structure.
8. Pride and Praise.
Basically, when you do well you feel well. These techniques will help your child to gain more control over his material and sometimes their life. Praise your child for their efforts, no matter what the grades. When he or she puts their best foot forward, make sure to notice and commend them. Doing better instills a sense of pride in most students. Celebrate your children’s efforts – it will really impact their success.
Reprinted by permission from Buddy System, Kim Hartley. All rights reserved.
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