Dark, dreary winter days zap our enthusiasm for getting things done. At the same time, schools see the time between New Year’s Day and Spring Break as the most intense time for students to learn new concepts.
How can you muster up the energy to pick up the pace? How can we help our students meet these new challenges with confidence and determination for success?
Here are suggestions to reenergize students for the schoolwork they bring home. Is there a place in your home, which offers a welcoming, comfortable place for study?
Whether you are adding to an existing study area or starting fresh, here are four tips to breathe new life into study routines and spaces:
Eliminate distractions in the area and the household during study time. Allow music to be played during study time if it helps them concentrate. Set specific rules about using TV and cell phones during study hours. Limit the kitchen noise and noisy cleaning chores during the household study time.
Set a schedule for study time and build in breaks. Depending on age, students need a short break at least once an hour. Have snacks set aside for breaks. Encourage all members of the household to use this as quiet time for reading or quiet household tasks.
Create a welcoming space for study. Provide a table or desk with supplies nearby. Let them decorate it themselves. Include good lighting and computer if that’s what they use to study. Pick up second-hand furniture for the area and encourage them to paint it with favorite colors and decorations.
Post calendar reminders. An Expo Board/dry erase board or chalkboard placed where it is easily visible will help manage long-term projects as well as test and assessment deadlines. Discuss how to divide large projects into shorter completion pieces. Enter those smaller goals on the calendar.
As always, your positive attitude and encouragement will be the keys to success. Sometimes, in spite of completing homework and studying for tests, the results are discouraging. Listen to your child’s concerns and suggestions to help them improve their study skills. Acknowledge the effort made and celebrate progress along the way.
Ellen Mooney is a retired principal and teacher with more than 45 years of experience in K-12 education.