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Teaching Kids How to Study

Teaching kids how to study can be a tough challenge, but it can be done. Check out these tips to learn some effective study habits.

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There comes a time when your kids will have to start studying.  Kids usually have classwork and homework and the teacher assumes if those tasks are completed, then they should do well on the test, but that’s not always the case.   

My oldest is in 5th grade.  He has a vocabulary test on Fridays.  There is no worksheet or assigned homework to make sure he’s practicing his words.  He has to study them.  This was very difficult for him to grasp.  He kept saying he didn’t have homework and the result would be an ok grade on the test.  

boy laying on grass in jeans and green shirt reading a book

Teaching Kids How to Study

The goal is teaching study skills so they can move forward in their school career doing this by themselves with success and without being micromanaged. Creating good study habits can be easy, but you have to be involved at the beginning. You must teach study tips for your students to have a successful school career.

Update:  My oldest is in 8th grade now and he’s still using these techniques he learned to stay on top of his school work.

Update 2: He’s in 10th grade and STILL does many of these things.

Pay attention in class complete all homework

Students need to pay attention in class, take notes and complete all homework that’s assigned. This is where they are getting important information that will be the basis of what they are studying. It’s easy for them to skip reading or homework that won’t be turned in. It’s assigned for a reason. Sometimes just completing the homework is 90% of what needs to be done to learn the material. Middle school is when this part starts getting tough!

Set some time aside to help him learn to study.  

Don’t just say, “Go study”.  They may have NO clue what you mean.

Identify the way your child learns best.  

You need to learn what your child’s best learning style is and YOU give them study tips and ideas that will work.

Is it flashcards?  Is it audible?  Do they need to write it out?  Trying different methods can make things a little more exciting and help identify what way they learn the best.  My middle son loves working on a whiteboard with colored markers. Sometimes just rereading a passage out loud so your child can see AND hear the words will help them remember.

I remember taking tests in college and seeing the page in my book or slide from the projector in my head. Sometimes I could even remember where the answer was in my notebook to the exact location on the page. Even if I couldn’t remember the answer just being able to visualize those things helped me figure out the answer. Obviously, I was a visual learner!

Make sure they have study time at the right part of the day too. Some kids learn best right after school, others after dinner.

girl with long brown hair on a computer

Teach them to study a little every day

Helping your child study for a test is something a lot of parents do. Instead of cramming the night before the test, pick a few words or math problems.

Teach them to spread out the studying and do a few more each night and they should know everything by the end of the week. THIS IS A HUGE CONFIDENCE BOOSTER! It’s less stressful and they don’t have to try and study when they’re tired.

Teach them to be efficient.  

This is the hardest in my house.  This means doing homework while focused and doing it right the first time.  Doing it right the first time means more free time.  I know it sounds silly, but when my son has a good eraser and sharp pencil, it gives him a little push to get started.

Choose a realistic time limit.  

You’re going to lose your kid’s attention if you send them up to their room for an hour to “study”.  I know my kid would be drawing and wasting time and you’re teaching them NOT to be efficient.  Try 20 minutes and then take a small break.  Did they get everything done? If not, do another 10 or 20 minutes.

Help them set a goal for each study session.

For example, “You should know at least 5 words like the back of your hand.” Time management is critical.

teen peaking over a piece of paper

Quiz them.  

After the end of 20 minutes ask them some vocab questions or sample math problems.  Did they get it?  If not, then you’ll need to know what they’ve been doing the whole time and just maybe they’ve been studying wrong and you need to help them correct that.

Work on things in the summer.

I know, it’s tough and I’m already preparing for this.  I’m finding books and websites that can keep their brains working.  Just like kids need physical exercise, they need mental exercise too and preparing them for the school year can make them feel confident going into the new year.

Parents I have spoken with all say this transition can be a tough one.  I hope working out these issues now will make the teenage years a little easier.

Fun ways to study makes things easier

Can you really make studying fun? They may want to have some study music or have a study group with some friends over. This works well when studying a foreign language so they speak with each other.

My oldest studies by using a computer program quiz game called Kahoots. My ten year old plays for fun. Check to see if your child has access.

My 10th grader also uses Kahoots. He finds what he needs to study for and prepares for his tests this way. I’ve asked him if it’s required and he says no. He likes studying this way and it works for him.

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