Each student is unique. For this reason many (if not all) students will feel more comfortable, and will likely be more successful, with a personalized study schedule that accesses their learning strengths. Here are some things to take into consideration when facilitating this process: attention span and the need for breaks, varying motivation in different subjects, prioritization of required tasks, optimum work times (morning/evening), ease of adaptability, and the willingness to ask for help. Keep these factors in mind when developing a study schedule with (or for) your child. It is valuable to oversee the breakdown of tasks that need to be completed before each homework session begins. Assisting your child to prioritize and plan her study time will help her utilize her time effectively.
Does your child learn best with visual information like maps and diagrams? Have paper, pencils, markers and highlighters etc. on hand to draw visual representations of the task at hand. The internet, magazines, books, and cue cards are other tools that support a visual learner. Graphic organizers are also a great way for visual learners to develop ideas and remember information.
Does your child remember information best from listening to ideas and discussing concepts? An auditory learner can read texts out loud and then record ideas or key concepts. Discussing the homework with a parent or a classmate helps the auditory learner to solidify this material. In addition, playing a game like “Jeopardy” is both a fun and a functional way for this type of learner to memorize information.
Is your child the “hands on” type? Many students learn best when they are able to manipulate objects or act out scenarios. Have your kinesthetic learner build a model (or a diorama), use manipulatives appropriate to a concept (e.g. coins, geometric shapes), make a collage, or act out a skit to demonstrate an idea.
If your child does not seem to fit into any of these three categories, think about how learning happens most easily for them. Is it with a combination of different types of input such as visual and auditory? If your child easily learns songs and rhymes, have her make up a song that includes facts about the assigned topic. If your child is artistic, have him draw a picture including visual representations of important information. Thinking about your child’s learning style(s) will help you be a more effective homework helper.
Our next blog will discuss more ways to customize your child’s study schedule.