I enjoy the fresh start that new quarters and semesters provide to our students. It’s also a great time to review basic but critical study skills in preparation for taking the next step for improvement in academic skills. Reviewing December’s report card can be excellent preparation for the coming semester.
For middle and high school students, the effort column can offer helpful insight. The effort score indicates the teacher’s assessment of the student’s effort. A low effort score for a student who works long hours at home may indicate that the student is not seeing the teacher for help at school or has other habits that suggest to the teacher that the student’s effort is low. A conversation with that teacher may bring to light helpful information for both the parent and the teacher.
A common cause for academic difficulty is the failure to regularly do homework. A student’s grade will usually increase significantly once he/she consistently completes and submits homework. A zero or an “M” for homework on a student’s NetClassroom record often indicates that homework was not completed and turned in. For students who have weaknesses in this area, a parent might have the student write down the homework that is due in each class, check it off when it is completed, and make another check when it is turned in. Hopefully this process will help the student learn to organize his work and complete tasks.
Evaluating Study Skills
Consider the following questions, adjusting them based on your child’s age and grade level.
Does my child have an adequate place to study at home?
This means a quiet place (without television, phone, computer games, or Internet) with a desk or table, chair, good lighting, books, supplies, and a clock. If online access is required for homework or study, consider ways to minimize that potential distraction, such as making it available for a limited time during the study period. Until a child demonstrates that he focuses well and can complete homework and study tasks independently, this study place functions best when it is also monitored by parents.
Does my child have an adequate plan for study time?
Students need a plan—goals regarding what needs to be accomplished during study time. Starting early and then taking short breaks during the study time will help a young person stay refreshed. Of course, adjust the length of study sessions in an age-appropriate way. Even high school students can profit from a short break every 20 to 30 minutes.
Does my child make adequate preparation ahead of time?
Daily review of material, rather than cramming right before a test, is the best way to prepare. Long-term assignments are better accomplished by breaking them into parts and working on them little by little for several weeks.
Much of this information is available on our website here, as are additional study helps.