We’re into the New Year; in fact, we’re in the part of the new year that most of us ditch those new year resolutions we selected a few weeks ago! 

Now is a good time to shift your attention to determining how your child is doing in school.  It’s been going on now for about half a year and you should have a decent sense of whether things are going as you feel they should. 

It’s also a good time to focus in on some goals and/or techniques that will help your child be more successful studying at home.  Here’s a few tips for stronger study skills:

Goal setting:  These are always best if your child has input, so develop these with your child whenever you can.  Stick to a few so they don’t get overwhelmed and write them down and refer to them. Examples:

  • What do I want to accomplish in the next 15 minutes (great for math homework!)
  • What do I want to accomplish this week (8 of 10 assignments completed and turned in).

Evaluate previous goals:

  • Did I meet the goal(s) I set? 
    • If not, what got in the way?
    • What can I try or do differently to help meet the goal? 

Eliminate as many distractions as possible, again, with your child’s input.  Typical distractions:

  • Social media: – put digital devices away from the study area for the agreed upon time.
  • Snacks: – start the study time well fed, eliminating the need to get up and forage.
  • Supplies handy:  Stock the study area with pencils, pens, paper, rulers, markers, etc.

Take Breaks:  Especially at the beginning, students have a hard time sitting and focusing on homework, particularly if it is difficult or not interesting to them.  Breaks give their brain a chance to “decompress” and get ready for the next study segment.  During breaks, they can reconnect with their friends via social media, but also encourage movement.  They’ve been sitting at school for most of the day and need to get up and move!

Additional things to keep in mind.  The amount of homework your child has should reflect their grade in school and/or their age.  In lower elementary grades, experts say that a good rule of thumb is that homework should take no more than 10 minutes for each grade they are in (1st grade = 10 minutes, 2nd grade = 20 minutes, etc.) This doesn’t include the amount of reading they should do each night – that is in addition to other homework.  Therefore, if your child is in third grade, for example, and they are regularly having to spend an hour or two each night doing homework, that is an outlier and you need to follow up with their teacher to see what is going on.   If there are concerns over time, contact Metro Learning Solutions to arrange a cognitive assessment.  That will determine whether your child has a weak cognitive area that may be causing them to struggle with learning. 

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