Originally created 07/31/00

Homework tips for kids

The new school year is approaching. Summer reading lists that students dutifully

brought home still live in their backpacks. Mathematic formulas have long since been forgotten.

It's time to kick it into high gear. Time to get that hamster in your brain to start running on his wheel. It's time to study.

Check out these study tips ‹ they cover everything from preparing yourself to go to class to how to study for the big exam.

Before going to class, look over the notes from the previous class period, especially if the day's topic builds from the last one. Complete all assigned readings -- hey, if you break it up into small chunks, it's easier than trying to read it all the night before the exam!

While in class, listen to the lecture. It sounds simple, but sometimes it's easier to think about what you want for lunch instead of the mating rituals of honey bees.

And don't just listen to the lecture ‹ take notes. Some say it helps to write your notes in different colored inks or pencils, using a different shade for each subtopic. Note taking also will help you later while you're studying. Look over your notes within a few hours of the class. Reviewing small portions at a time will help you retain the information when you are trying to cram a large amount in your head.

When it's time to study, choose an environment carefully. Will you easily be distracted? Will your chair be so comfy that you'll want to take a nap? Think about what time of the day you most easily can absorb information. If you learn better in groups, set up a study group for each class way before the exam and work continuously with those classmates.

If you study for long periods of time without breaks, your ability to concentrate will lessen. When your mind begins to wander, try to keep on task. If you constantly are daydreaming, take a 10-15 minute break. Walk around, talk to a friend (who also is on a break!) or just allow your mind to wander.

If you have a hard time motivating yourself to sit down and study, try these tips:

  • Schedule specific study time. Make a list of major events of the day or week and the times they should occur. Find time between the necessary obligations, such as meetings and class time, to study and stick to the schedule. Carry the list with you and cross off each event as it occurs. Reward yourself at the end of the day if you stick to your schedule.
  • Study daily. Don't let the study material pile up to become such a daunting amount that you don't even want to think about beginning.
  • Allow your friends or family to hold you accountable for your study time -- especially if they are in a study group you're involved with. Hold your friends accountable if they think it will help them as well. Plan to study for a given amount of time and if you feel that you worked hard, reward yourselves by going out for ice cream or to a park for exercise.

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