Study Skills - How Can YOU Help Your Kids?
By: Frank McGinty
You pick up nuggets of wisdom in the most unexpected places. One was given to me by a man I met in the Scottish Highlands.
The man was elderly, yet was still working on his small farm. He had no intention of retiring, and when asked if he felt the pace of the years he said he really enjoyed his work but - and this is what stuck with me! - "It's a day's work getting started."
No matter how he felt, he had to make the effort to get up and get on!
This doesn't apply only to farming.
Think of our children when home study time comes around: "It's a day's work getting started."
Can we as parents do anything to help in this situation?
There are lots of ways, but here we'll consider only a few of the practical details that are well within our control - and which can radically affect the quality of study sessions.
First and foremost is a suitable place for studying.
It's not uncommon for students these days to do homework in the living room or the dining room. But think of the distractions: music blaring, lively conversations going on, the TV...
Much better, then, to give the kids an area they see as their study space, even if it means making some sacrifices. It could be a new use for a spare room or just a quiet corner out of the way. If your kids can get online in their study area, so much the better.
Try to provide a table or a desk which is used for study sessions only, so that books and equipment can be left as they were.
It's so much easier when all you have to do is sit down and pick up from where you left off!
It's easy to overlook the importance of having all the things you need for a study session close at hand. Imagine what it does to motivation when you have to stop every couple of minutes to ask: "Anyone seen my calculator?" or "Anyone got an eraser?"
It's much easier for kids to feel organized and 'on top' when they've got all the required items for their study session:
Ring binders, notepaper, blank and/or lined sheets, items for geometry and science, a calculator, pencils, erasers, pens and so forth.
Most kids are on a limited budget, so it's usually appreciated when parents contribute these items as a goodwill gesture. It's also a sensible investment in our children's future.
It goes without saying the study room should be well-ventilated and maintained at an appropriate temperature. Nothing kills the study habit more than a lack of oxygen and an environment that's too hot or too cold!
In some homes, especially if there's a big family, there's simply no room to set up a study space. Is there a way round this?
Why not see if relatives can help out? Often there's room in the grandparents' house, and they'd be pleased to see the kids pop in for some study sessions.
Or how about letting your kids team up with their friends at their house? Careful, though! It's so easy for unsupervised study sessions to deteriorate into gossip or chat sessions...
If this happens, why not encourage your school to set up a Homework Club. These are gaining in popularity the world over, and since they are run by teachers there's a lot more motivation to cut the gossip and get on with the work!
You provide the materials, the school provides the location - and the kids supply the effort. Voila!
Helping your kids in the crucial area of home study will benefit them greatly in the long term.
Here's to your parenting success!
About The Author
Eager to develop your parenting ability? Check out Frank McGinty's ParentingBookGold for a free six-step bulletin and access to essential parenting articles, plus the best parenting book products.