As my oldest enters middle school I am realizing the importance of teaching her good study habits. So far this has consisted of telling her to “go study for your test”. That is the same thing I was told as a child. It didn’t work out to well for me…. AND based on her last history grade it’s not working out that great for her either.
It wasn’t until my first year of college that I was really taught HOW to study. I was taking a course called “College 101”. They taught us the basics, things like balancing a checkbook, getting along with a roommate, and how to study. That class laid a foundation for me that helped me succeed in college. The professor gave me tools to help me fully understand what was important.
So, why was I just telling my daughter to “go study” instead of showing her the tools she needed? I think too often times we assume kids KNOW how to study. I mean, for the most part, it should be common sense, right? That’s what my parents and high school teachers thought. And for some it is.
But for other kids they truly NEED someone to come alongside them and SHOW them HOW to obtain good study habits. As a homeschool parent, the person responsible for teaching your child good study habits is you. And, we need to do it BEFORE they are in high school.
What Are Good Study Habits?
So, what are good study habits? Study habits are the behaviors used when preparing for tests or learning academic material. What study habits does our homeschool children need to know to succeed in middle and high school? Things like how to take notes, get organized, and research and skim material are important for our homeschool children to know. Yet, too often times we don’t teach them how to do it
Yes, even homeschoolers who may not be in a typical “teacher lecture” environment can learn to take notes. If you use videos in your homeschool, a student can learn to take notes. Things like documentaries, preachers in church services, speakers at a field trip or co-op, are all great opportunities for learning to take notes. Teach them how to identify key phrases, vocabulary words, facts, and main ideas in a speech. This will prepare them for the day when they may sit in a more “teacher lecture” environment.
Learning How to Skim Material
Learning how to skim material is an essential skill for faster study. Instruct your students to pay attentinon to the first and last sentence in a paragraph. These are usually where the essential information is hiding. Also, note bold words and end of the chapter summaries. Teach your children how to selectively highlight imporatn passages for easier study later.One of the most important studying skills your child will learn is how to narrow down what’s important and what isn’t.
How to Get Organized
Many adults struggle with organization, so it is easy to understand how our children can too. Purchasing your homeschool child a planner can help with this. They can write down assignments, appointments, and to-do lists. Encourage your child to review items in the planner at both the beginning and end of the day to stay on track. Also, keep all schoolwork in one place. This eliminates the need to look all over the house for a textbook or assignment.
Teach your children to review information often! Each day before they start a new lesson, encourage your student to read over each day’s previous lesson and information. This should consist of simply reading his or her notes and paying close attention to them. Doing this will help them remember the information simply by seeing it over and over again.
Create a Study Schedule
Studying should be part of your student’s daily homeschool routine, not something he or she tries to cram in the night before a test. It may be helpful to have a study time planned for the whole family. This gets younger children in the habit of studying now, and allows the older children time to study in a quiet environment. For us, we have made this time a part of our evening routine.
Misty Bailey is a work at home homeschool mom. She loves helping new homeschoolers and has a Homeschool 101 eBook for those getting started. She shares her struggles with time management, becoming unglued and finding joy in the everyday moments on her blog Joy in the Journey.