Positive Study Habits

Students would have you believe that homework is a device of torture, invented by teachers who only pursued careers in education in order to agonize children! Contrary to this misconception, homework is an essential component of the educational process. By creating a physical and psychological environment at home that is conducive to studying, parents can help their child be a more successful learner. The following suggestions promote a home atmosphere supportive of studying.

  • Set aside an area for the purpose of studying. If possible select an area that is well lighted and free of such distractions as household traffic or noise from a nearby television. A desk and chair in the privacy of the child's room is an ideal arrangement. This study area is made complete when a bookshelf is provided so that the child can store books, magazines, and other resource materials.
  • Like any other job, homework has its own "tools of the trade." Insure that your child has an adequate supply of pencils, pens, erasers, and paper. Other useful study tools are the dictionary and a thesaurus. A set of encyclopedias is not essential but is an extremely useful tool, which gives the child access to a wealth of information.
  • The optimal time for a concentrated endeavor of studying is not during television commercial breaks, the last half hour prior to bedtime, or early in the morning before school. Parent and child should select a convenient, yet sensible time, which will be set aside each day for the purpose of studying. School related work should be made a priority, which becomes a part of the child's daily routine.
  • The mind is selective in what it remembers. Peculiarly it is the remembrances of assignments which are all too often conveniently rejects by the minds of students. Encourage your child to use an assignment notepad. Periodically ask your child to share with you the current assignments he/she has written in the notepad. Such interest on your part reinforces the use of an assignment notepad.
  • While the completions of assignments are important, parents should not overlook the quality of work being done by their child. Teachers set standards for student work. These standards are dependent upon both the grade level and the ability level of the particular child. Parents who are uncertain as to whether their child is completing assignments at an acceptable proficiency should discuss the matter with their child's teacher.

Parent Teacher Conferences

Parents and teachers are partners in an extremely important venture, the education of a child. Like any joint venture communication and discussion is extremely important in facilitating a successful outcome. A parent-teacher conference is one means used by schools to give parents and teachers an opportunity to meet in person to discuss the child's education.

Following is a list of important information parents can attain from the child's teacher during a parent-teacher conference.

  • Suggestions the parent can use at home to help the child succeed in school.
  • The strengths and weakness of the child in relation to academic subject areas (achievement and ability level).
  • How much effort has the child put forth in class?
  • An explanation of any ability groupings and the child's placement within these groups.
  • The social progress of the child (interacting with peers, behavior, perceptions of self).
  • An overview of the curriculum which will be taught prior to the next parent-teacher conference (goals, objectives, books and materials which will be used).
  • Clarification of classroom rules and policies (discipline, grading, homework).
  • A presentation and explanation of standardized test results.
  • Samples of work (preferably samples which will show progress and changes).

The parent-teacher conference is also an opportunity for parents to give teachers information which will enable the teacher to more effectively work with the child.

  • Any special health needs or problems.
  • After school activities, outside interests, and hobbies.
  • Student's perceptions about school (likes, dislikes).
  • Behavior patterns in the home and interaction with family members.
  • Methods of discipline which are effective with the child at home.
  • Student's perceptions of the teacher.
  • Study habits.