Certainly, keeping up with homework is a big part of students’ success at school; however, parents can help a great deal in this area! What follows are some suggestions for parents and students.
- You can help your child be successful by:
- Creating a solid home routine – it helps to keep things as consistent as possible regarding homework. Help your child choose a time that works for him or her and the rest of the family and stick to it daily.
- Check your child’s agenda book – not only is this an important teaching tool for students and teachers, it is a way for you to know what homework is due and when. Encourage your child to record not only his or her homework, but also the classes and assignments completed during the day.
- The perfect workspace – doing homework in the middle of the family’s pre-dinner happenings is not really optimal. Ensuring that your child has a quiet place to work, but one where you can give support if needed is ideal.
- Help monitor the time – the response to the question, “Do you have homework?”, is so often, “no”. Assume that most students will have at least 30 minutes of homework nightly. For the nights when your child really doesn’t have homework, 30 minutes of reading, working on some math questions or even chatting about what is in the news is a great way to encourage solid home work habits.
School Success Tips for Students
Fitness –try to increase your heart rate to 70% for 20 minutes at least three times per week (you can do that by jogging, walking really fast, playing soccer, volleyball or basketball, doing aerobics, biking, etc.)
Sleep – adolescents (ages 12 to 18) require at least eight hours of uninterrupted sleep nightly (did you know that you can increase your memory and retention of information by 60 to 80% if you get lots of sleep?!)
Good Food – limit the amount of caffeine and sugar you consume (did you know that one can of pop contains at least ten teaspoons of sugar?!) and try to eat at least three meals a day, or several small meals daily. Drinking eight glasses of water daily is helpful too!
Relax – if something is bothering you try writing about it in a journal, talking to someone you can trust or seeing a counsellor. Developing your own strategies for stress reduction can be really empowering!
Some Study Tips
Listen in class. No, really listen! Try paying total attention to your teachers for at least ten minutes at a time, then try it for 20 minutes, 30 minutes and so on. Paying active attention in class can make a real difference.
Learn to take accurate notes. As you take notes in class, try to pay attention to the main ideas/concepts. Rather than just writing down what your teacher says, try making a web diagram or chart, putting the information down in your own words.
Review your notes for ten minutes per class within 24 hours of writing them down. If you remember to do this just before you go to sleep, you can increase your memory a lot!
When you read something in a textbook (for social studies or science, let’s say), begin by reading the introduction and conclusion first. Make notes of any words in bold, any diagrams, pictures or stories because they are often really important. Use sticky notes to highlight really important information, to indicate the answer to questions you know are coming up, or to write a note to yourself about the material.
When you sit down to study, be aware of your surroundings. Are you sitting in front of the TV watching your favorite show (when has that ever been a recommended study tip…)? Are you warm or cold? Do you have something to snack on or drink? When you study, make sure that you are sitting in a place where you won’t be interrupted, that you are comfortable and have everything you will need to make it through a half hour of study time. For every 50 minutes of study, take a ten-minute break.
When preparing for a test, try using concept maps (like a mind-map) with the main idea or concept in the middle of the page and all of the material related to it coming out of the main idea. You may also want to try using coloured flash cards, having someone quiz you on what you remember and need to work on, or writing out study charts or diagrams.
Never underestimate the power of over-learning. Just when you think you know all there is to know for a test, review the information again! It really works.
Try paraphrasing. When you review your class notes or read from your textbook, try re-writing the main points in your own words.
Ask for help as soon as you feel you need it. Don’t wait until the night before your test or the day before your report card comes out to ask for help. See your teacher about extra help or talk to your parents or a counsellor about a tutor as soon as you feel that your learning is not longer within your control.