Summer is winding down, and soon it'll be time to get back into the swing of things with school. Waking up early again will be just one adjustment. Kids go from spending their days outdoors in the sun, to being inside the classroom and getting daily homework assignments. To stay focused and keep up their grades, it's imperative to hit the books and study on a regular basis.
With a wide range of classes and homework assignments, it's easy to let a worksheet or even a reading assignment fall through the cracks. Buy an academic planner before the school year begins so you and your kids can keep track of all assignments, and when they're due; the planner can also help you create a schedule that includes everything from when swim practice is to when to plan on working on that science project.
In a similar vein, have a way to organize all paperwork in a system that works for all. For some this might mean assembling a binder for each school subject; this way you can store handouts and class notes in one place. With all course materials in one place, it'll be easier to study for that class when the time comes.
Find a Good Study Space
To best retain what is being studying, find a space that will make it easy to focus. In other words: a place where it's easy to avoid distractions, whether it be the library, or a corner of the house away away from the living room. Additionally, make sure to turn off cell phone and limit the number of times email or social media accounts are checked. Perhaps most importantly, make the space comfortable, but not too comfortable—so you don't start to doze.
Teachers provide deadlines for when that essay needs to be turned in, but they don't give deadlines for studying what's been reviewed in class. That's because test day shouldn't be considered a deadline. Rather, have your children plan to review content throughout the semester so they are not scrambling the night before finals, trying to remember what was taught 10 weeks ago.
Use Study Aids
To help study throughout the semester, create your own versions of study aids. These can take the form of flash cards as well as outlines. Teachers also often provide study aids, such as practice tests that your teen can take, and then review, before the real test day. The key in all this is finding a way to look over the content that doesn't just involve re-reading textbooks and notes took during the lecture. Using multiple sources mean studying in different ways, which may make it easier to retain the info.
Make a Plan for Test Studying
As test day approaches, plan out study time. For example, block out an hour into three 20-minute segments; each segment can focus on a different topic that the test will cover. Once that hour is up, giving a 10-minute break and use that time as a reward perhaps with a snack, or to make a quick phone call to a friend. Whatever you do during this break should be refreshing, so you go back to studying with fresh eyes and motivated anew.
When it comes to studying, do what works best for your kids and try to keep stress to a minimum. Whether that means having them study by themselves, or with a group of classmates, in complete quietness or while listening to music, it's all up to you.
Elizabeth SanFilippo is a freelance writer, who enjoys trying new foods from all over the world. But her favorite city for culinary treats will always be Chicago. When not writing about food, she's scribbling novels, and TV show reviews and recaps. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.
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