One of the most challenging aspects of parenting older children is teaching them how to study. While sitting down at the kitchen table and reviewing the content in the book can be helpful, it’s not always enough to give children the information they need to succeed on coming tests. Teaching your child to study, however, can be a time-consuming process, especially if you never learned how to study yourself.
Ask the Right Questions
Kids don’t want to admit that they have homework. Most of them come home and, if asked if they have homework, reply with a simple, “No!” or, “I already got it done!” Many teens don’t acknowledge actually studying as part of their homework, either, and that can make it difficult to discover whether or not they actually have anything to do that evening. The trick? Ask the right questions. “Do you have any tests coming up this week?” “Do you understand all of your subjects?” “What are you learning about in school?” All of these are clear, relevant questions that will help you understand what your child is currently doing in school.
Telling your child to “sit down and study” sounds great, right? You can even set a time limit on it: “You have to study until dinner time,” or, “Work on you science for an hour.” Unfortunately, that doesn’t tell your child how to accomplish the task at hand. Sit down and see how well your child is able to assimilate the material. Ask questions out of the book. Teach them to define the main idea of each section or pull out important words, usually those that are in bold or highlighted, to determine what concepts are most likely to appear on the test. Don’t forget the importance of notes taken in class! Often, what a teacher has to say is more important than what appears in the book.
Examine Family Priorities
Here’s the real test of whether or not your child will be able to develop study skills: ask yourself what your evening routine looks like if you know your child has an important test the next day in a subject that doesn’t come naturally to him. Do you spend the evening studying, or are you running about completing errands, doing chores, or watching television? While it’s important to allow your child some free time to decompress after school and prepare for the next day, it’s equally important to be sure that there’s enough time to focus on schoolwork. If you don’t make studying a priority, your child won’t, either. When you dedicate a specific time and space to studying and make it clear that your child should not be interrupted during that time, on the other hand, you help them clear their mind and prepare for the coming exam.
Check In Regularly
Just like you need to ask your child the right questions, you need to ask the right questions of your child’s teacher, too. Many teachers won’t be in touch until there’s a problem–and what they consider a problem might not be the same way you would define it. For example, you might become concerned if your child fails to turn in more than one or two homework assignments. Your child’s teacher, on the other hand, might not contact you until it’s close to report card time and they discover that your child is struggling. It’s not always a failing on the part of the teacher: they have many students in their class, and they might not know yours well enough to realize that a C on a test is a sign of more trouble to come. Take the initiative! Check with your child’s teachers regularly. Ask them how the homework is coming, how test grades are looking, and how your child seems to be doing with the material. The answers will give you the tools you need to help your child.
Building study skills now will be of immeasurable benefit to your child later. Those study skills will give them the tools they need to go the distance with their education and their business skills. Not only that, it will help them get the grades that they need to succeed now as well as increasing confidence in their academic skills.