Since a parent’s role is critical to a student’s academic success, parents should frequently check Sycamore (check out the Sycamore app!) in order to stay apprised of a student’s grades. The following information may be helpful to strengthen student academic performance—whether or not a student is struggling.
A common cause for academic difficulty is a failure to do homework regularly. A student’s grade will usually increase significantly once he or she consistently completes homework. “M’s” and zeros for homework indicate that homework assignments were not completed or not turned in and have been averaged in as zeros. A parent can 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. In this way the student can organize his or her work and complete tasks.
Resources for study strategies and test-taking skills can be found by searching for “study skills.” We have listed a few popular study skills websites below. As with any website, parents should review content before giving students access to the website. BJA also offers a Study Skills class for high school students. Read more here.
Student Study Tips
- Do homework early in the evening or right after school when students are still in the mindset and have enough energy. Waiting until later in the evening often results in frustration and even ineffectiveness because students are too tired.
- Do homework in a place that is conducive to giving focused attention to the work. Doing homework lying on a bed or couch or in the middle of a noisy room does not lend itself to effective study time.
- Do homework without the distraction of electronics. Many students say (and think!) that they’re working on homework diligently, not realizing how much time they are spending texting friends or watching television.
- Use a timer to stay focused and to help in not spending too much time on one thing.
- When there is a lot of homework, take short periodic breaks and drink liquids often. The movement and hydration are vital for sustained brain activity.
- Work ahead! Reviewing daily (instead of cramming) the material learned is the best way to prepare for tests. Long-term assignments are better accomplished by breaking them into parts and working on them part by part for several weeks.
- Have a well-organized notebook so that you can easily find notes, homework assignments and completed homework.
- Instead of asking “Did you finish your homework?” ask “How are you going to study tonight?” This question implies both the need and the expectation for study and helps the student think through how he or she should plan study time.
- Studies show that praise for intelligence, like “Good job, you’re so smart,” can result in lower achievement. Instead, give praise for effort—such as “Good job, I can tell how hard you worked on this”—and see grades rise!
- Check Sycamore regularly, at least once a week—often enough to give praise for a job well done or to help your student change a bad habit quickly.
- Instead of asking “Did you study for your test?” ask “How do you know you’re ready for your test?” This question helps the student realize the value of setting study goals and of planning how to achieve those goals.
The student’s teacher is normally the best person to talk to when a student is struggling. Teachers frequently suggest that struggling students arrange to get additional help outside class. Although it can be embarrassing to ask for help, students who attend help classes or get individual help from a teacher usually make noticeable improvement. Once a student has come for help, a teacher may have very specific suggestions that the parent can help implement during homework time. Take advantage of the teacher’s expertise for ideas about how your child can improve.
Occasionally a teacher will recommend that a family hire a tutor in a particular subject. We have listed below a few sources for tutoring. Parents should always vet a tutor’s character, knowledge of the subject, ability to communicate and ability to motivate a student. Arrangements regarding time, location and compensation are entirely between parent and tutor.
- BJU’s Academic Resource Center: tutor referral service. Hint: a BJA graduate can be a strong tutor for BJA students, knowing not only the subject area but also the BJA faculty member who is teaching the class. (864) 242-5100, ext. 8200.
One of the missions of Bob Jones Academy’s academic office is to help middle and high school students who are struggling academically. If a parent believes that a student’s efforts are high and consistent yet performance is low, the academic office should be contacted about recommendations for additional intervention.