Now that school is in full swing, it’s time to get serious about study habits at home. The Child Development Institute over offers the following suggestions on making study time better for youngsters and teenagers.
Q. Should there be a certain time devoted for studying or should it vary?
A. Regularity is a key factor in academic success. Try to organize the household so that supper is served at a standard time and, once it and family discussions are over, it’s time to hit the books. If the student doesn’t have other commitments and gets home reasonably early from school, some homework can be done before supper.
Q. What distractions should not be allowed and what’s OK?
A. Turn off the television set. Make a house rule, depending on the location of the set, that when it is study time, it is “no TV” time. A television set will draw youngsters like bees to honey. As for music, contrary to what many specialists say, some youngsters do seem to function all right with a favorite music station.
Q. What amount of time should be set aside for studying each night?
A. Consider your child’s developmental level when setting the amount of time for homework. While high school students can focus for more than an hour, first-graders are unlikely to last more than 15 minutes on a single task. Allow your child to take breaks, perhaps as a reward for finishing a section of the work.
Q. If homework assignments are completed before the allotted study time is over, is that OK?
A. Teach your child that studying is more than just doing homework assignments. One of the most misunderstood aspects of schoolwork is the difference between studying and doing homework assignments. Encourage your child to do things like: take notes as he’s reading a chapter; learn to skim material; learn to study tables and charts; learn to summarize what he has read in his own words; and learn to make his own flashcards for quick review of dates, formulas, spelling words, etc.
Q. Should I help with my child’s homework?
A. Yes, if it is clearly productive to do so, such as calling out spelling words or checking a math problem that won’t prove. No, if it is something the child can clearly handle himself and learn from the process. And help and support should always be calmly and cheerfully given. Grudging help is worse than no help at all. Read directions or check over math problems after your child has completed the work. Remember to make positive comments — you don’t want your child to associate homework with fights at home.