As your kids head back to school, you may find yourself wondering how to help them succeed in the new school year. Education doesn’t stop when your children leave the classroom. In fact, some experts would argue that education at home is just as important as what your child learns at school.
Make sure that your child is off to a good start this school year by keeping in mind these smart study habits:
Dedicate A Space To Analog Learning
Author and artist Austin Kleon famously keeps two separate desks: an analog desk and a digital desk. At his analog desk, no computers or digital devices are allowed. The analog desk, filled with pens, markers and paper, is where most of his books and projects get their start.
In this digital day and age, it’s important to allow our minds to focus on both learning and creativity away from computer screens. Whether it is offering your child two separate desk areas, or dedicating a study table as a “no screens allowed zone,” leaving space for analog study can be highly productive for your child. (Or yourself!)
Many people, both children and adults, focus best with some light background noise, so you may want to allow a radio or music player into your “analog” zone. Try to avoid music with words. Spotify offers an entire music genre called “Focus” which features multiple playlists of music perfect to study by. Noisli is a free browser-based tool that creates soothing nature sounds or white noise for children who find it hard to study in silence. Play it from the computer speakers across the room to keep your child focused on schoolwork.
It is also important to encourage hand-written note-taking. Not only does taking notes and doing homework by hand improve your child’s hand-writing, but studies show that taking notes by hand improves memory recall of information. Taking notes by hand uses a different part of your brain and is more effective for learning than taking notes on a computer.
Use the Pomodoro Technique
The Pomodoro Technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s as a way to better manage one’s time while working. This method uses a simple kitchen timer to break down work (or studying) into intervals with short breaks in between. Rather than forcing students to study or do homework for hours on end, which can lead to distraction and overwhelm, they only have to focus on the task at hand for a specific time frame.
Traditionally the Pomodoro Technique uses intervals of 25 minutes of work followed by a 5 minute break between each work interval. However, for younger children the amount of work time may need to be adjusted to 15 or 20 minutes, with breaks in between. It’s important to ensure that the break times only last for the designated amount of time, and that children get back to work once break time is over.
You could also turn the Pomodoro Technique into a game, making it even more effective. Have children compete against their siblings or personal best to see who can get the most “Pomodoros” or blocks of time successfully completed in a single day, a week, or a month.
Encourage “Why?” and “What If?” Questions
The world is changing rapidly, as technology continues to evolve. The process of learning must not stop after high school or college graduation, so instilling a love of learning in your youngsters is of utmost importance.
One of the fundamental keys to being a good learner is knowing how to ask the right questions. Encourage your children to ask questions, both in class and at home.
Asking good questions is the foundation of critical thinking. Edutopia offers a great article with 5 Ways to Help Your Students Become Better Questioners. Focus on making it both fun and rewarding for children to ask questions. A barrage of “Why, why, WHY?” can seem overwhelming as a parent, but asking these questions is critical to educational development.
Need To Update Your Student’s Workspace For Better Studying?
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