Today we are going to talk about the “S” word. The word that makes any student who hears it want to run for the hills. It’s probably not the word you might be thinking of, but for a child, this word is worse than any curse word you will ever say. Any ideas what it can be? The word is…Study! In Part Three of the series, 5 Ways to Organize Your Student For Success, I am going talk about the importance of having a study schedule for your child and provide you with a free printable to get started now. Your child will hate me for it 😜
In the last two posts of this series, I talked about the importance of getting to know your child’s teacher(s) and familiarizing yourself with their classroom procedures and policies. I highly recommend completing those steps before moving on to creating a study schedule for your child.
Reasons why I think the first two steps are important?
- Getting to know your child’s teacher(s) from the very beginning opens the door of communication between the teacher(s) and parents. It’s easier to contact someone with a question when you have already started building a relationship with them. The home/school relationship is so important for your student’s success!
- Knowing your child’s classroom policies and procedures allow you to know how the classroom is organized. You will know what to expect from a typical day or week and can now assist your child in creating a study schedule to support that.
Can I be real with you? Creating a study schedule for your child isn’t going to win you any cool parent points. Let’s face it, the last thing kids want to do when they get home from school is more school work. This is going to be one of those things you do as a parent that your kid is going to hate you for now but will look back when they go to college and be so grateful you instilled these skills upon them.
I want to use my own son, Zach as an example here. I promise that what I am about to say is not intended to be for bragging purposes and honestly only to prove a point. This boy is smart, as in Gifted smart. He has been in the Gifted program since he was in 4th grade. In Middle School, he got one B on a report card in a three year period. He hears or sees something once and he’s mastered it. I will admit that I took this for granted. Yes, I would get on him for not studying the night before a big test but then he’d get an A on it and I felt like I had no leg to stand on. I never forced him to study because he obviously didn’t need it.
But then high school came around…
In August, Zach started his freshman year. His class load is intense with all honors classes and a college-level course. Add in marching band which he practices 3 hours after school two days a week for, pep rallies, football game performances, competitions, and I probably don’t have to tell you that this kid is overwhelmed. Some days he doesn’t know if he’s coming or going. He’s struggling to keep up with his work and juggling everything that he has on his plate. Some of his classes are extremely challenging with teachers who are holding him to higher standards. He isn’t able to “just get by” like he has in the past.
The problem we are having is he doesn’t know how to study because he has never had to. He doesn’t even know where to begin because everything just came naturally to him up to this point. As a parent, I am kicking myself in the rear end for not teaching him some study skills sooner regardless of how well he was doing in school. On a positive note though, I am so thankful that this is happening now so I can help him through it. My goal is to get him prepared to tackle college in a couple of years when I won’t be there to hold his hand anymore.
With the first quarter of school over, Zach wanted to start fresh for quarter two and get a hold of his classes. Zach and I sat down and came up with a study schedule to get him back on track. It’s still a BIG work in progress but it’s a positive step in organizing him for success.
Here’s what we did to create a study schedule:
- Zach and I started things off by discussing how he wanted to keep track of his study schedule. Some ideas I gave him were to create a calendar on his computer/phone or I offered to buy him a paper planner to keep in his backpack. Ultimately, he decided that he wanted to create a paper calendar that we could write on together because he felt it held him more accountable. It was his decision 100%. I encourage you to allow your older children to be a part of the decision making. By helping to create the schedule, kids will be more likely to stick to it. Younger children can still give input when coming up with the schedule but need guidance and support from the parent.
- On a separate sheet of paper, we began by writing down all 7 of his classes on a piece of paper. For younger students, you can write down the subjects that are covered in class, daily. I then had Zach number the classes from 1 to 7 with one being the class that is most challenging for him to 7 being the easiest.
- Next, we wrote down any recurring assignments and activities. Some examples would be band practices, weekly articles, and foreign language weekly quizzes. For younger children, examples could be weekly spelling tests or homework packets. This information should be found in the classroom policies and procedures provided by the teacher(s).
- On a new sheet of paper, we wrote the days of the week. We added all the recurring assignments and activities on the calendar first. We then checked his classes using the online platforms his teachers use. We looked for any other assignments or tests scheduled that week and added those to the calendar. We added a little section labeled “coming up”, for any tests or assignments due outside of the current week.
- Once everything is on the calendar you can start plugging in times to study or to work on the assignments. On easier days, we plugged in some extra studying for those classes that Zach identified as being challenging for him. For younger children, you can use that time to practice important skills previously taught or even get a head start and preview skills that are coming. You can contact your child’s teacher for these skills or check their weekly/monthly newsletter if they have one😀
- Each Monday, Zach and I go over his assignments for the week and put them on a new calendar.
It’s important to display this calendar in a space where your child passes often. In the beginning, you will have to do most of the initiating when it comes to studying. Know that this is normal and like any other new habit, it takes time for it to become a routine. Be patient and understanding with your child.
To make things easier for you I have created a free printable in the format we are currently using for Zach’s study schedule. You can download it below.
Each week, I work with Zach to create a new study schedule but my goal is to wean off and have him doing this on his own. Younger children will need more guidance for a longer period of time but still allow them to be involved and don’t just do it for them. They aren’t learning anything that way!
I hope you found this section of the 5 Ways to Organize Your Student for Success beneficial. Creating strong study habits is a skill your child will benefit from now and throughout their entire life.