Guiding Study Sessions
Make studying enjoyable. For example, you can get them to draw cartoon pictures or diagrams, make mind maps or thought charts. Even doing something so simple as giving them colorful pens (felt tips or gel pens) can encourage them to enjoy studying. If you look online, you can find many funny videos on many topics or you can find role play scripts and ideas that allow your child to be creative while studying and enjoy it.
Be involved. Take an interest in what your child is learning, what they think is easy or what they think is hard. Become familiar with the material your children are studying. It’s quite difficult to help your child with algebra if you are not familiar with the basic concepts yourself. Once you’ve become familiar with what your children need to learn, you will be in a better position to help. Take the initiative.
- If there is something your child finds hard that you don’t know, consult their teacher. Do not tell them to ask their teacher: chances are they will forget, or be too embarrassed to go alone. Instead, set up a meeting with their teacher, yourself and your child, and figure out an option that is best for your lifestyle.
- Find the time to do homework with them—not by telling them what to do, but by guiding them along the way. Sometimes children do not like the tension of having someone else watching them study. Try either studying with them or giving them some space.
Minimize distractions. Keep the TV off, and put away any gaming consoles. If your children are using a computer, keep an eye on them to make sure that they don’t play games. Consider blocking certain websites from a computer, or disabling the Internet altogether during certain designated study times.
Know how your child learns best. Understand what makes them engaged and productive, and try to build an ideal learning environment. Treat your child as an individual with unique needs and strengths. If your child remembers things easier by seeing things, try having them read something aloud and repeat in their own words what they read. Some children remember more if they write things down (touch/hands-on), so reworking a math problem or writing certain history dates will help for them. You may need to read out loud to your child to help them retain the information, if they learn best by hearing.
- Try scheduling a set time for studying each day. It may help your child focus if they don’t feel like there’s anything else they’re supposed to be prioritizing.
- Try to understand the environment in which your child learns best. Do they learn best with food by their side, or no food? Do they like peace and quiet, or music? Do they like sitting at a desk, on the couch, or on a yoga ball?
Consider hiring a tutor. Teachers may recommend a private tutor. If it’s in the budget, take the opportunity. It can be a great way for your child to learn, and you might even learn something. If you can’t afford a tutor, some one-on-one time with the teacher may do the trick. Many schools are developing peer-mentoring programs where students teach other students. Finally, you can always take to the Internet—there are a number of reputable chat and video tutoring services.
If you have young children, try to be present when they study. Make sure they know that you are there to help, but do not let them rely on you completely for the answers. Be patient, positive, and tolerant. As your children grow older, more disciplined, and more independent, you may need to back off and let them build their own study habits.
Review your children’s homework when they get home and when they have finished it. Read over essays and writing assignments; look over their work for math assignments. Consider checking their answers and working with them to correct anything that’s wrong. Make sure that you do not demean your child or make them feel dull. Your guidance should be a positive light, not a stressful weight.