Encouraging Good Study Habits
September 15, 2021
Mercy Every Minute
Deborah Wuehler, TOS Senior Editor
It Starts in Preschool?
We really help develop our children’s future study habits by what we do with them in their preschool and elementary years. We can encourage this through a wholesome learning environment, consistent scheduling, and good curriculum.
Even in preschool, a consistent routine, a comfortable work/school space, and a studying, researching, and learning environment create a future of successful study habits.
But it doesn’t always come naturally, or quickly. It is a consistent learning environment with good study tools that move the children along every year. Consistency is key. If the children know that they have a set time every day for “school” and you don’t do anything else during those hours, it sets them up for retention and success.
But it doesn’t have to be complicated. A simple, flexible schedule is maintainable.
For the littlest ones: a simple Bible time, a read-aloud, a little bit of nature observation, and introducing fundamental math skills can be done between breakfast and lunch. Create their own crate of “school time” items to use during these hours. The key is to have consistency as much as life allows. A learning “habit” brings future peace.
For the older children: Bible, math, science, and language arts can be done before lunch, and history, foreign language, art/music, and chores in the afternoon. A simple daily checklist to sign off every day keeps them moving forward, and they don’t have to ask you what is next. They begin to learn independently and learn there are rewards for getting work done without dawdling (more free time), which creates a feeling of accomplishment. Freedom from chaos begins with habit and starts when the children are young. There are so many benefits that result from the forming of good habits. Peace is one of them. Read what my favorite Charlotte Mason expert, Karen Andreola, said about the idea of habits in Educating by Faith, Not Fear, Summer 2010, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine.
Create some good habits for yourself as well. Jesus had a daily habit of meeting with His Father. When our mind is consistently stayed on Him, we have great peace (Isaiah 26:3). And peace is the best reward for our homeschool days.
Do you need help planning your school days, scheduling your curriculum, chores, or meals? The digital Schoolhouse SmartMama™ Planner was created to help you. Members of SchoolhouseTeachers.com receive a free copy! Let us know how you use yours: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are some other articles that help encourage good study habits in your homeschool:
A Day in the Life of a Charlotte Mason Homeschool Family by Natalie Fullmer
Organization and Study Skills for High School Students by Janice Campbell
Don’t Just Finish the Race, Finish Well! by Dr. Heather W. Allen
Raising Real Men
Good Study Habits Come When Kids Love Learning
“Encouraging good study habits,” sounds pretty grim, sort of like, “Get busy, children, you only have five more hours of work!” That’s not what we want!
When parents worry about their kids’ study habits, they are usually thinking, “How in the world will they survive in college if I don’t buckle down and make them do more work now?!”
We used to worry about the same thing; then the Lord intervened. We had a few years with extreme trials – cancer and a desperately ill baby. We weren’t able to be so rigorous – all we could do was just survive. Much to our surprise, the children who were in high school during those years actually excelled more in college than their older brothers. How on earth could that be?
Then we realized: Those kids weren’t burnt out. They hadn’t written so many papers they were sick of them. We hadn’t driven all the joy out of education. Learning was still fun for them.
Do you want your kids to have good study skills? Nurture the love of learning. That love will drive your children to study!
How do you encourage the love of learning?
Get excited about it yourself. Encourage their curiosity. Do more orally. Talk about what you’re learning. Get rid of busy work. Do some hands-on projects. Go on field trips. Read aloud.
If you value learning, if you read or listen for pleasure, and if you talk about ideas, your kids likely will, too. It’s harder to model these things today; our kids can’t tell, looking at the back of our laptops, whether we’re gaming, reading the news, or writing the Great American Novel. That’s why we need to talk to our family, and tell them what we’re doing and what we’re interested in. Look up from our screens, make eye contact, and engage with them.
And that’s how we teach good study habits, too. Want them to read and think analytically? Talk about books and movies with them. Discuss the themes and characterizations. Modeling is the most effective way of teaching.
A student that has the basic tools of learning—reading, writing, and arithmetic; the character for learning—diligence and commitment; and the love of learning that fuels that effort, will do fine wherever they go next! Get our Relax Your Homeschool for Academic Success Video FREE here!
Hal & Melanie
Training the Brain to Retain
LEARNING FROM OLYMPIC ATHLETES
Ask Olympic athletes for the secret to success, and you’re likely to hear them talk about the importance of training. Effective training is built on a foundation of self-discipline and good habits. In academics, success often involves training the brain to retain the information being studied. But how do we teach our teens this invaluable practice?
EXERCISING THE MEMORY MUSCLE
For most students, effective studying doesn’t happen naturally. It requires intentionality. It is practice that makes progress. Just as athletes exercise their bodies to perform physically, students need to exercise their minds to memorize effectively. As parents, we can help eliminate the overwhelm many students experience when approaching study by teaching them a simple, yet effective habit.
MAXIMIZING RESULTS WITH THE RIGHT HABITS
Are you familiar with High-Intensity Interval Training—known in the fitness world as HIIT? It’s a method that incorporates short bursts of intense exercise coupled with equally brief periods of recovery. What happens when we apply the same technique to studying? Timed study sessions followed by a short “brain break” can be extremely effective. Set a timer for twenty-five minutes, and study hard. Then take a break and do something refreshing for five minutes.
- Take a walk.
- Sip a favorite drink.
This simple habit of timed study sessions eliminates the dread of endless studying. The natural result is a better attitude resulting in greater retention of the subject matter studied. It’s just one of ten habits I’ve seen produce significant results in my own two sons.
Get access to all 10 effective study habits here—for free.
STUDY LESS, UNDERSTAND MORE
If your teens struggle with forgetfulness (or test anxiety), it may be time to pause and teach them how to study. When they learn to approach studying strategically, they can increase effectiveness and reduce the time needed for their weekly study sessions. Study Skills Guide can show you how.
P.S. Help your teen reduce overall study time and boost efficiency with the proven strategies in the Study Skills Guide.
About the author
Surprised by Jesus, Stacy went from an unmarried, childless, 30-something career woman to a Christ-following wife of 28+ years with two sons she homeschooled K-12. She battled fear and overwhelm, but survived and thrived. Author of 10+ books—including the award-winning Philosophy Adventure—she loves to equip and encourage homeschool families. Visit her at HomeschoolAdventure.com.
Pillar of Knowledge
Roger Smith – Can a FAMILY Study Together?
The word “study” conjures up painful memories for most of us. Without a doubt, good study habits give untold benefits.
But can we avoid much of the agony, and develop study habits in a fun way?
One way our family trained study habits was to memorize. Before you scroll to the next article, consider some examples.
Have a family joke night! Everyone in the family is required to find and memorize a joke to be told at a family meal.
Get a skit book. Have the children learn a skit to present for the grandparents; then you and your spouse perform a skit for the kids. This will prime the pump for other, more beneficial memory work, such as short poems, famous quotes, or passages of Scripture.
Find an opportunity to share your memory work at your church or community group and observe how it inspires others (and yourselves).
In all the activities of memorizing together, we gain a study habit—retaining information in an organized fashion. And that, my friend, is study.
You must model memorization for your family. You can do it!
What will your family memorize? Listen to this example of my memorization: The Reading Mother.
About the author
Dr. Roger Smith is a family doctor in rural Louisiana, where he and his wife, Jan, raised four adventurous children who are all grown, making their own mark in the world. He speaks and writes on parenting issues and produces brief videos that can be found on Facebook @ParentingMattersNow.
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