Effective study habits will help your child retain more information and get better grades
Many students never learn how to study effectively
Every child responds differently to study techniques
Establish a schedule for assignments based on due dates
Create a dedicated study space
Establish a rewards schedule
How are your child’s study habits? There is more to education than just paying attention in school and completing assignments. Establishing good study habits and getting organized are keys to a successful experience. There’s also a fundamental truth many people don’t consider.
Not every child responds to the same teaching methods. What works for one child may not work for another. Some people (not just kids) can hear information and retain it. Other children remember the information better by writing it down. Still, others retain more data by seeing it.
Because people learn and absorb information differently, a “one size fits all” approach to studying will not work. Every child responds differently when entering middle school. This article will give you several strategies to create good study habits. Encourage your child to try them all, see which work best, and continue using them.
Middle school students often simply don’t know how to study
Most teachers assign work to students along with due dates. Then they ask them to complete their assignments by these due dates. This makes sense to adults.
However, breaking up large tasks into smaller ones is foreign to many kids. They don’t understand how to break up their required tasks into bite-sized pieces.
They need to be taught how to prioritize and then plan their tasks. This starts with a schedule.
Create a schedule for studying
One thing most experts agree on is having systems in place to make tasks easier and repeatable. Help your middle schooler create a system for good studying.
Developing effective study habits starts with a schedule. If your child doesn’t understand how to prioritize their homework load, sit down with them and work on it together. Start monthly, then weekly, and finally daily.
Look at their upcoming projects and assignments for the month. Write down everything that’s due by the end of the month. Then look at your child’s weekly schedule. What is due this week? What about next week? Write down projects due each week on this calendar.
Finally, look at daily tasks. Write down each daily task due. Some of these tasks could be for assignments due on the same day. Some daily tasks could include making progress for larger projects.
Fill out the schedule
Ask your child when projects are due. Starting with projects that are due first, create a weekly schedule. Block off time to complete tasks due that week. With the time that is left over, look at assignments that are due two to four weeks from now rather than waiting for these long-term projects to pile up. Help your child allot some time in their schedule over the next few weeks to begin to chip away at these larger projects.
Prioritizing and planning for long-term tasks
When discussing due dates for longer projects, ask your child the estimated time it will take to complete these longer projects. This is an important step as it teaches them how to make incremental progress on a big project rather than waiting for a deadline and then trying to get it all done in one night.
A word of warning here. If your child has not been taught this skill, they may have trouble estimating realistically how long a project should take. You may need to break the project down by comparing it to other past assignments.
If the assignment is a 1000-word paper, ask them how long it took them to complete other, shorter projects. Use those times to create a plan for scheduling out smaller tasks for larger projects.
One key most people agree on is that note-taking helps you retain more information. Listening to or watching someone speak about a topic does not engage the mind as much as the physical act of writing down the information they’re saying.
Your child may not have learned how to take notes before getting to middle school. When faced with the prospect of effective note-taking, some children (and adults!) panic at the thought of trying to write down everything the teacher is saying.
One effective way to practice good note-taking is by summarizing short stories. Help your child practice this technique by watching their favorite television or online program. Then, write down the main points of the program. What were the important things that happened? What details did not matter as much? Like any skill, practice makes perfect with good note-taking.
Three effective study tips
Good study habits are built on the idea of doing several things correctly consistently. Help your child get into the mindset of studying with these quick tips.
1. Establish a quality study space
A good study location should be quiet with minimal distractions. A good study area also needs to be dedicated. It’s far easier for your child to get into “study mode” when they have a specific space for it.
2. Have all study materials on hand
So much study time is wasted by the need to get up and find something. The simple chore of finding that yellow highlighter can turn into a 20 or 30-minute distraction.
Our brains need to “recalibrate” every time we stop one activity and start another. By gathering all of the needed materials before sitting down to study, your child will be more productive when it’s time to hit the books.
3. Create a rewards system
While getting a good education should be its own reward, sometimes children need additional motivation. Establish certain milestones that must be reached for a reward. Have your child study diligently for an hour and then allow ten minutes of screentime.
Rewards can be a great motivator. Giving your middle schooler a chance to decompress on a break gives them the chance to recharge their batteries.
As a child moves from elementary to middle school, they face a lot of additional pressure. As their academic requirements get more complex, it’s easy for them to become overwhelmed. As adults, we need to remember many of the skills we learned may not be things our children know how to do.
We can reduce their stress by offering guidance as they begin to learn these new but critical life skills. Lamad Academy considers our students’ needs for success beyond just assigning work and checking it on due dates. We believe in a holistic experience in education.
If you are interested in Lamad Academy’s modern, STEAM-based approach to middle school education,contact us today. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have and schedule a free tour of our facilities.