Go for the Gold!

In Donesa Walker, Kiddos by Lola Magazine

Setting Up Students Of All Ages For Success

Dedication and practice are two recurring words that one will hear for every Olympian who is interviewed about their road to the gold. The best way to prepare for success is to be deliberate in setting aside the time to practice and to pursue it with dedication. No matter what the age of the student from toddler to adult.

First, a designated area and time set aside for studying with healthy snacks and studying supplies is always a good idea. This can be as simple as a basket from the local dollar store with supplies in it so the student can pick it up when they come in the door to study and perhaps some type of signal that it is time to study/do homework or time to put up/clean up. Be sure this is an area with limited distractions unless you are deliberately training your student’s attention skills in which case you can make it a game for them to ignore the TV and win a prize…

Second, a set amount of time. This is important because it allows the student to know that there is a beginning and an ending to this time. A reward for completing during this time can be appropriate if the child does not struggle but for one that does struggle with time management, an egg timer or stopwatch can help as well as perhaps a chart to show how long they spent on it. The right amount of time to dedicate to homework outside the 20 minutes of nightly reading that all students of all ages should do, is around 10 minutes per grade level. A first grader should have no more than 10-15 minutes of homework outside of the reading and reading should be around 15-20 minutes. An adult can easily manage an hour of work plus an hour of reading if they do not have learning struggles but even adults can struggle with focus.

Third, providing adequate hydration and nutrition for studying is extremely important as studying is a laborious task. To encourage your child to eat healthy snacks versus junk, put a time price on them and make the junk cost more in terms of time. An orange is for ten minutes studying/doing homework without complaint but a cookie takes 20 minutes. Water is always free and readily available but juice or soda have a steep price tag!

Fourth, CHUNKING! No, don’t chunk the child or items at the teen…by chunking, I mean to break the work into manageable parts. Teens and Adults should be able to manage this for themselves but might need a reminder to do so. Young children will need you to help them break them work into manageable parts because after all the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time!

Fifth, study tools such as graphic organizers, charts, highlighters, and grading sheets should be readily available and the student should be taught to use these. Starting early in the summer and creating a rubric for how you will keep up with grading and where you can post it/put it is a good idea. By creating a healthy atmosphere of learning from mistakes rather than seeing mistakes as failures, you can allow your student the opportunity to bloom into their own garden of learning styles. Take time now to practice study times, show the student how to use graphic organizers, charts and highlighters while studying. Read a chapter together in a book and create a test for the other person from the materials.

Sixth, build Schema. This means simply that showing a student how to make connections is as simple as asking them questions as they begin the study process especially before a test. Ask these questions?

Have you ever seen or heard anything about this topic outside of school? Have you read about it before? How does it relate or have meaning to your life? Have you experienced this?

Making connections also allows you to encourage them into a positive growth mindset, which is a game changer when it comes to the overall learning experience. Having a positive learning experience at home can also negate the experiences that are not so great in other environments.

Seventh, note taking and organizational skills are not innately learned. These are skills that must be taught and trained. Use sticky notes, notecards, notebooks, etc. to teach your child organizational skills in note taking. Watch a video together then both of you take notes and show them that this is the way to dump information down to a gist so that you can quickly go back and refresh before a test. Show them acronyms and mnemonics to help them remember these things such as the common ones like please excuse my dear aunt sally for math order of operations.

Eighth, problem solving. This is a skill that must be practiced from the simplest problem to the most complicated. Introducing everyday problems and showing the student how to solve them starts with scheduling conflicts, everyday tasks, cleaning a bedroom, etc. The student must be shown how to identify the problem, look at potential solutions and make a plan to solve, then solve.

Ninth, studying must have a method to the madness. This is a culmination of the previous skills. Choosing a methodical approach to studying is as simple as sitting down with this checklist and taking it one step at a time in implementation. Don’t get overwhelmed, simply approach each step with a purpose and celebrate the achievements when accomplished.

Tenth, finally…Celebrate & Hire. Celebrate that you and your student are ready for a year filled with learning or Hire…come to LearningRx and hire a brain trainer to get your student ready for the school year filled with success and we will celebrate their accomplishments with you!

As Dr. Seuss so well said, “You are off to Great Places. Today is Your Day. Your Mountain is Waiting so Get on Your Way!” GO FOR THE GOLD!!!