As school has started and homework has probably started, do you have study skills established? Do your children know what they know how to get their homework accomplished, study for upcoming tests and quizzes, and get projects done? Establishing study skills earlier in the school year will help them be more successful during the year, remembering that each child’s success will look different.
Study skills involve more than sitting down and learning the material for a test or completing homework; they also include skills such as organization, long term planning, and staying on task. If your child struggles with these tasks, it is going to be hard to complete homework or work on long term projects or studying. While it may seem that as children are assigned these longer term tasks and more homework, that they should be able to handle them, but how can they be expected to use skills that they have not needed before? Organization and staying on task typically come earlier than long term planning, but as there are more components to keep track of they may need some assistance to expand their skills.
Organization is something that can be taught from an early age with tasks such as cleaning up and putting like toys together. As children continue to grow, this can be with making sure they have everything in their backpack and then including making sure that their homework ends up going back to school. As they get older and there are more assignments to keep track of, some schools give students a homework planner so that they can write their homework in it. This helps them to learn to write down their assignments and to use it to help make sure all tasks are completed. When more activities are added, this requires more organization to make sure that assignments are completed with their activities happening as well.
Staying on task is more difficult for some children than others. This can be a result of several factors and helping children learn how to do this will help them as they continue on in their lives. For some children, they may need a break when they get home from school and may need to take some breaks while completing homework. While this may see as though they are not staying on task if they are taking breaks, for some, this break allows them to be more focused while they are working. Determining what this looks like for each child is important.
Long term planning can be more difficult as this requires children to think more in the future and make predictions as to how long it will take to complete something. This is learned with assistance from others so that they can learn to do it independently. This can be done with planners that also include space to write in other activities so that they can see how much time they will have. Some planners also have room for children to learn how to study for a larger test or complete a larger project.
While the above discussed skills are important, helping children establish a routine with their homework and studying is also beneficial. Some of this routine will be determined by their own individual skills and needs. As this routine is established, it is important to try to keep the time and location of homework completion the same or at least similar. Where homework is being completed, make sure that the space is appropriate. Make sure that they have what materials they will need and that there are not many distractions so that they are able to complete their homework efficiently. With the timing, this one can be a little more flexible depending on the day of the week, but trying to complete it around the same time or in the same routine will be beneficial. Establishing this routine may need some assistance and some children are going to need more assistance to complete their homework than others. Figuring out what each child needs will help to make sure that they are able to be successful with their homework and school career.
As you think about what children need to get their homework done and establish study skills, think about how your child accomplishes other tasks and try to use their knowledge. Help them to create their own routine and set of skills so that they can be as independent and successful as possible. If you need more assistance to determine these routines and skills, feel free to reach out to me for more help.