A Basis for Good Studying Habits

Ways to win the homework battle before it begins

National Post, August 18, 2003

Homework is the No.1 battle between parents and school-age children most of the year, says educator Terry Small, but it doesn't have to be.

"Parents play a huge role in the success of a student," Mr. Small says. "The more day-to-day parental involvement there is, the higher the students' marks will be."

Mr. Small teaches learning and study skills to educators, parents and students, and offers these tips to parents:

Develop an active strategy for study:

The approach should be auditory, visual and kinesthetic - students should hear, see and handle the material. Reading notes is not as effective as reading, writing and hearing them. If you say something out loud, retention goes up 400%

School agenda books are effective:

Students, teachers and parents can all see what is going on with the check off "to-do" lists and young children enjoy this. It feels good.

Set aside time:

Schedule homework the way you schedule hockey practices, ballet lessons or birthday parties. In our society, if something is important, it is scheduled, so make a weekly schedule and put it on the fridge. Homework should be done six days a week, every day except Friday,. And if the student participates in setting the schedule, everybody's stress level goes down.

What's in a name?

Call it "home study" rather than "homework." Even if there is no homework assigned, use the time scheduled to support schoolwork. Use the Internet, read or practice skills. Previewing the next day's schoolwork is a good idea. It gives the student a leg up.

Study place:

Create a workspace with everything the student needs. It is important to have no excuses to leave or become distracted.

A good foundation:

Pay close attention to sequential subjects such as math. If things go sideways, intervene as soon as possible. In these courses, it's hard to catch up.

Decrease screen time:

Time spent watching television or playing computer and video games should be limited. This is a great way to get involved. When you do this, grades go up. This can be easy or hard. Whoever has the strongest will, will win.

For more tips, seminar dates and other information go to www.terrysmall.com.