Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Back to School with Good Habits!

School has finally begun, and these first few weeks can be critical in determining your child's academic success for the rest of the year. As most of us know, it takes time and practice to formulate good habits, whether it's in our personal lives, or our daily work routines. Get things started off on the right foot with these tips for the best school year ever!

  • Organization is key!  At Tutoring For Success, we place a lot of emphasis on strong organizational skills, and for good reason! Sometimes it is the only thing standing between a mediocre student and an excellent student. Think about it: If your child is constantly missing assignments or unable to study for tests because she can't find notes and homework papers, it's likely to affect her grades. Teachers often require their own systems of organization, which is useful for students who don't know where to begin, but the basics aren't hard to assemble on your own. Have one or more three-ring binders, each with a personal hole puncher and multiple tabs for each subject. A notebook for writing down assignments and a separate homework folder should also be acquired and maintained. Little adjustments like these are a great way to foster good organizational skills in your student, and will pave the way for stronger habits overall. 
  • Embrace technology! Cell phones and tablets don't always have to be a distraction to students. While keeping in mind each teacher's particular rules about such devices (often they are not allowed out during class time), see if you can use your phone to take pictures of notes, homework, or important announcements posted on the board. This can be especially useful if your child struggles with neat handwriting. Tablets can also be good for note-taking, and usually come with formats that neatly organize thoughts and ideas. For college students, bring a recording device and record your professor's lectures (with their permission, of course) in order to supplement your studying later on.  
  • Learn how to manage your time! An organized schedule is just as important as an organized notebook where your child's academic success is concerned. As classes get underway, so do extracurricular activities, and before you know it, the work is piling up. Encourage your student to keep a calendar (either a physical one, or online), and factor each assignment and activity into their day. Be sure to keep track of things like exercise, sleep, and even free time to make sure that their routine isn't suffering. When working on long-term projects, break things up into manageable amounts and spread these out over a series of days or weeks. This will prevent a last-minute panic or cram session the night before the due date. Studying is hard work, so students can reward themselves periodically with small breaks to refresh their brains, such as playing games on their phones, taking short walks, snacking, or just resting their eyes. This will help even the most insurmountable mound of homework appear less daunting.

Going back to school doesn't have to be the rigorous chore your child might see it as. The start of a new year is the start of a new beginning: new friends to make, new things to learn, and new opportunities to grow and change. Armed with the right attitude and tips such as these, your children can be well on their way to a full and successful school year.