Why worry about a study environment?
We have all been in situations that made it hard to concentrate. Maybe the sounds of construction outside or text message alerts distract from our work. It’s the same for our kids. Here’s how to create a setting where your child can focus on learning.
Who should be involved?
Every child needs a different level of parental involvement. Find a balance between hovering and expecting him to be completely independent.
Monitor: Younger children need more monitoring, re-teaching, and guidance. Other children are capable of doing their work, but should have a parent around to remind them to stay on task. This is the perfect time for you to do your own paperwork – pay bills, reply to emails, plan out the week, etc.
Check in: Children require less parental guidance as they mature, but they still benefit from a “check in”. If your son or daughter is starting to balk at repeated monitoring, setup a check-in system. Together, decide how frequently you will “check in,” when you will do it, and what will happen if s/he is not finished with the work. Then, stick to the plan! Don’t monitor more frequently than you agreed to, and don’t skip check in times. Set a timer if you might forget.
What should the study space include?
Make sure all the necessary materials are available so time isn’t wasted running around looking for a pen. Put together a “portable Office Depot” with pencils, erasers, pens, scissors, note cards, and other necessary items. This toolkit should stay in the study space but be mobile in case the student has to move to a different area. Keep the computer in this area, too, so you can monitor its use.
Where is the best study environment?
Find a place that works for everyone in the family. Does your child prefer a quiet space away from siblings? Or is frequent monitoring necessary, meaning a place near you is best? For more ideas, check out this resource on our website.
When should homework be done?
With all the extracurricular activities going on, it can be hard to find enough time for homework (let alone time for relaxing, bonding with the family, and playing!). Think about whether homework should be done right after school, or if your child needs a break. On nights when there are long sports practices, decide whether homework would best be done before the practice or after. Help your child use time management skills to create an afterschool plan.
Use a consistent routine for doing homework and studying, and guide your child through the routine until it becomes consistent. Start by checking the planner and/or homework websites. Look at both daily assignments and long-term projects or tests. Prioritize the work based on both due date and difficulty. After finishing each assignment, make sure it’s put away in the correct spot. Clean up all materials and pack up the backpack before stopping for the night.
While studying, it’s important to take breaks. If too much information is studied at once, it won’t be remembered. However, not all breaks are the same! Take a look at the best kinds of study breaks here.
How should the studying be accomplished?
Before jumping into the homework, it’s helpful to review what was learned in class that day. We can connect information together and learn it at a deeper level. Use this After School Refresher to keep track of topics learned in school
Make sure studying is active, not passive. Using multiple senses will help the information “stick” better, and it makes studying more interesting, too.
Has your child learned specific strategies for reading comprehension, fluency, writing, math, or critical thinking? Keep reference tools such as cards, bookmarks, or placemats in the study space and encourage your child to use them. Here is an example of reading comprehension strategies. You can also talk to your child’s Educational Coach for more ways to incorporate the strategies into homework or studying.