How would you describe study time in your family’s home? Is it chaotic? Disorganized? Or is it an efficient system that allows your child to be productive? If you’re thinking to yourself Is that actually possible? to the final scenario, then these 6 easy steps might just be a lifesaver!
Whether they are aware of it or not, kids flourish when they have structure and consistency. These elements especially apply to homework time and study time.
1. Dedicate a Study Space
Talk with your child about selecting a spot in your home that can become the homework and studying spot. The dedicated space should be somewhere that is free of distractions, has optimal lighting, and has a desk or table to spread out books. You and your child can even come up with a fun name for the homework area such as “Courtney’s study corner” or “Nick’s study nook” to add some excitement to homework time.
2. Establish a Study Time
Create a sense of routine by choosing a specific window of time each day for homework and studying. Factor in your child’s extracurricular activities to find a study time that works best on most, or ideally all, weekdays. When studying becomes part of the schedule, your child will develop the self-discipline to spend that timeframe focused on schoolwork.
3. Stock Supplies & Materials
Have necessary school materials always ready and available in the study space. These items include pencils, pens, highlighters, index cards, sticky notes, and paper. When these items are within reach, it eliminates the loss of focus that can come from searching for school supplies.
4. Keep a Schedule
Make a weekly or daily schedule of upcoming assignments and exams based on due dates and level of difficulty. When multiple assignments have the same due date, it can be helpful to complete the less complex ones before moving onto the complicated ones. However, stay mindful of the more demanding activities to make sure there is time to complete them and to ask for clarification from a teacher if needed. For more tips on planning & organization, read about the strategies our Eye Level Student Ambassadors use.
5. Take Breaks
Include short breaks when studying or doing homework. Even five minutes every 30 minutes, for example, to stretch or drink a glass of water can help your child feel refreshed and ready to power through the remaining tasks. This step is too often disregarded and sometimes considered lazy. However, the mind can only focus on demanding tasks for so long before efficiency and quality will drop sharply. Short breaks are the secret weapon of successful students that allows them to get the most of their studies by keeping their mind sharp and engaged.
6. Have a Plan
Think ahead and prepare study strategies for quizzes or tests based on the subject or topic. If a quiz is on Friday, your child can spend time on Monday creating flash cards and then dedicate time to review content Tuesday through Thursday. Set up a study group with friends who are in the same class. Make a game out of studying such as Memory or Jeopardy. Have your child teach the material to you. And be sure to study a little each day in the days leading up to a test, even just 10 or 15 minutes, rather than cramming the night before.
By incorporating these elements into your child’s homework routine, effectively developing study skills is a near-guarantee. Plus, your child will be building valuable life skills—such as prioritizing and strategizing—which apply to various situations.