Good study skills are invaluable, but they don’t come naturally to everyone! It can be difficult to establish a good routine and study effectively, especially as kids get older. When teens enter high school, things change dramatically. They’re trying to juggle several different (and often difficult) subjects at once. If you have a teen, it’s important to take the time to help your kids develop and practice effective study habits in order to help them be as successful as they can be.
Effective study skills go beyond memorization and application. They start with you! Being involved in your teen’s education and what’s going at school sets a great example, and keeps you in the loop.
Attending back to school night and parent teacher conferences is a great way to make sure you’re on the same page as your kid’s teachers. It will also give you a chance to find out their expectations, and ask any questions you may have about how assignments and tests are weighted for their class grade. Sure, you could rely on getting this information from your teen. But we all know what reliable sources of info they are, right?
Parent teacher conferences are one of the chances you have to check on your student’s progress, so you can focus your efforts at home where they’re most needed.
Once you know the teacher’s expectations, support them at home.
Consistency is key, and maintaining the same rules and expectations at school and at home can make it easier for your teen to stick to a schedule and apply what they’ve learned at school in a different environment.
Make sure your teen has a quiet, distraction-free place to study.
Your kid claims to be studying, but you can hear music and just saw a meme they posted in Insta. Soooooo, maybe they’re studying as effectively as they can be. In order to process what they’re studying, they need to focus on the task at hand. That means no phones, no TV, no little siblings pestering them. They need a quiet place to concentrate, so set some ground rules for what is and isn’t allowed during homework and study time.
Teach your kids the value of organization!
Nothing throws a monkey wrench in your plans like being a disorganized mess. If your kid can’t find a pencil or doesn’t remember what subject they should be studying because they lost their syllabus, they’re just hurting themselves in the long run. Make sure they keep their study area tidy, with everything in its place, so they know where to find it when they need it. Labels, a filing system, or binders can help keep their subject materials separate and easy to find.
Come up with a calendar system to make study plans and keep track of assignments.
Keeping a monthly, weekly, and daily calendar of assignments, tests, and other important to-do’s is a must. If your kid is a visual learner, a wall calendar might be a good investment. Some people are more efficient when they can visualize what they need to do. Another option is to set up a shareable calender, on Google for example, that you can access and use to track their progress. It may seem like overkill to have a monthly, weekly, and daily calendar or checklist, but a big workload can seem much more manageable when it’s broken up into smaller chunks.
Make yourself available for help or support.
Yes, they’re the student and ultimately responsible for their own success at school. But even as teens, they still need our help! If they’re struggling with a particular subject or need help working through a tough problem, do what you can to help them. Now, school has changed quite a bit since our days as students, but luckily, we have Google now! Even if they don’t need actual help, being a support system for them can mean the world when they’re cramming or working on a big project.
Don’t harp on their failures, but help them turn them into successes.
Even with the best, most effective study habits, your kid may not ace every test! And that’s OK. It’s important that you don’t equate one poor score or grade with their abilities as a student overall. Instead, use it as a learning opportunity. Figure out where they can improve, and come up with an action plan together.
More than anything, make the time to talk about school so they know you’re paying attention and as invested as they are in their success.
This goes for every aspect of their lives, but especially when it comes to school. So much ties into what happens in those hallways, and if you’re not involved, you’re missing out! More than that, being involved shows your teens that you are invested in them being happy, successful students, and that you’re in this together. That sort of confidence can make all the difference when it comes to doing well academically.
Good study skills can be things your teens can manage on their own, but they can also be things that require your involvement and support. High school is not the be all and end all, but developing good study skills (and confidence!) in those formative years will help them for years to come.
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