Studying at home

Date: 16 Feb 2015

Studying at Home: Helping children to study at home and practice good homework habits

Studying at home is an important part of our children's learning journey - from reading, spellings and homework to formal assignments and exam preparation. As a parent, we always want to help our children succeed and there are many things we can do to help our children study at home and practice excellent learning techniques.

Learning Environment
Make it a house rule that when it is study time, it is a quiet time without distractions. This may include removing mobile phones, switching the TV off and game consoles, moderating the use of computers and tablets or using a particular room of the house which is quiet and calm.
Radio or music – should it be on or off? Some children work better with music although others may find themselves distracted by their favourite song so it is worth considering what would work better for your child.

Healthy Choices
Eating well, drinking lots of water and getting plenty of sleep are al crucial parts of our physical health and wellbeing but they are also excellent for boosting brainpower.

Sleep
Make sure your child is getting enough sleep each night, especially if they are studying for an exam or preparing for an assignment which may cause anxiety or worry. After a study session, encourage your child to relax before going to sleep – perhaps with a good book or some music.

Hydration
Drinking water and keeping hydrated is a key component for concentration so make sure your child has access to lots of fresh water.

Food and snacks
Some foods are particularly important for keeping our brains happy and performing at optimal level. These include wholegrain, oily fish, fruit (including blueberries and tomatoes), seeds, nuts and lots of vegetables. Bananas are also a great snack, especially before a test. They can help you keep calm and also release energy slowly.

Top Tips for Revising
When it comes to studying and revising, it’s important to remember that a different learning approach is required than when completing a homework assignment. Often we may find ourselves reading a book or article for several hours however, how much information do we actually digest?
A few top tips and ideas for studying include:

Make a plan
Encourage your child to create a work schedule or break the work into management pieces. It is also important to factor in regular breaks too – take a 15 minute break every hour if possible.
Encourage routine or a timetable
Schedule a regular study time – perhaps following a snack or dinner and before relaxation or personal time. Creating a timetable is a good way to make help revise certain topics at certain times.

Summaries
Talk to your child about what they have just learnt and ask them to explain or summarise. Being able to explain information to someone else reinforces learning and confirms that they have understood what they have learnt and are able to put it into their own words.

Be a motivator and monitor
It is very important to provide encouragement, take an interest in what your child is learning, check homework and studying is complete, and also make yourself available for questions and concerns.

Some additional revision tips:
Take notes when reading different chapters
Learn to skim material and focus on the important sections
Create flashcards or handy notes for quick reviews, summaries, key facts and important information