How to Help Your Child be a Successful Student
It takes more than being smart to succeed in school. Many bright kids struggle in school for a variety of reasons including difficulties with organization, attention, and time management. Here are some strategies you can implement now to help your child start the school year off right and achieve academic success.
1. Does your child often get points deducted for turning in their work late?
Unfortunately many kids’ grades end up reflecting their disorganization rather than their knowledge of the content. The first step is to sit down with your child to determine why this is happening. Are they forgetting their work at home? Do they forget to turn it in during class? Do they forget to do the assignment? Once the cause is identified, you and your child can come up with a strategy that is individualized to their struggle. Some kids benefit from having a dedicated folder to put their completed homework in each evening. Other kids, who can’t find their materials in their messy binder, do well with a loose paper folder. They can put their handouts, class work, and such in this folder instead of rushing and shoving the papers in their backpack or binder. The most crucial component of this strategy is that they consistently allocate 5 minutes each evening to sort through the papers and put them where they go.
2. Does your child wait until the last minute to get projects, papers, or studying for tests done?
Sometimes assignments are so overwhelming it is hard to know where to start. Help your child with the skill of ‘partializing’ tasks. Break down the paper into its component parts, with step one being as basic as identifying a topic. After the assignment is broken down into small steps, have your child make a list of materials/resources needed for each step as well as a due date for each part. These self-imposed due dates should be transferred into their assignment notebook to keep them on track as they do their homework each day.
3. Does your child accuse you of nagging when you try to help them improve their grades?
Direct them to various online resources and have them choose a few they will commit to trying. Inspiration (https://www.inspiration.com) is a graphic organizer program which helps win the writing and brainstorming process. Quizlet (https://quizlet.com/) is a great tool for studying for tests. Livescribe (https://www.livescribe.com) is a helpful device for kids who have trouble taking notes in class. Electronic reminders can be programmed onto smart phones or computers to help remember things like putting the homework folder in the backpack. Sometimes outside help is also beneficial. Tutors can be helpful when your child struggles with a particular subject. There are also programs that can help develop academic skills. The Successful Student offers a six week course that teaches children to manage their time, get organized and learn the skills needed for academic success.
Written by: Jennifer Viemont