Joan Sedita, M.Ed.
Study Skills: The Right Tools
Everyone needs the right tools and training to do their job. A carpenter must bring hammers, saws, nails and drills, and an understanding of how to handle wood in order to make a house. A plumber needs the proper tools and experience to fix a kitchen sink. Study skills instruction gives you the "tools" and the "training" you need to do a good job in school. The better you are with reading, writing, speaking and study skills, the better you will be at the job of learning and being successful.
Homework and Organization
For many students, getting homework done can be very hard. Sometimes, this is because these students are just not organized. This means they do not have everything they need to finish their homework. The best way to make your homework easier and get better grades is to organize your self. Here we will tell you about some study skills to help make your homework time simpler.
Using an Assignment Notebook
The most important thing you can do to help make homework time less "work" is to use an assignment book. The hard part is that the assignment book doesn't fill itself in every day! It is up to you to write down the correct assignments. This can be hard to do, so if you aren't sure of exactly what the homework is, make sure to raise your hand and ask your teacher. It can be helpful to keep your assignment book on your desk, as a reminder, until you actually write the homework in it. Don't forget to ask your teachers for help in remembering - they want you to have the right information as much as you do!
Pacing Your Homework
Before beginning your homework, number your assignments in the order that you are going to do them. Start with one that's not too long or difficult. You shouldn't save the hardest assignments for last because you might not have enough energy to do a good job. Once you have completed an assignment, cross it off your list, put the finished homework in the right folder or binder and put it in your backpack. Then put your backpack by the front door where you will be sure to remember it.
Also, it can be helpful to use a stopwatch to time how long it takes you to finish an assignment. You should write it down in your homework book right by the assignment. This way, you will know for sure how long it takes you to finish your homework in each subject. For example, if you see that you are always spending two hours on Math while the other students only spend one hour you can go to your teacher and he/she can help you.
A Quiet Place to Study
All students need to make sure they have a great place to study where they can be sure to get their work done. When deciding where your study spot should be, make sure that it is a quiet place where you won't get distracted by brothers or sisters or even the television. If you use a computer to help you with homework, be sure there is enough room around the computer to spread your work out. Lastly, keep a supply of pens, colored pencils, markers, index cards, notebook paper, printer paper, and any other materials you might need on hand. This will help you be ready to finish your homework easily.
Joan Sedita, M.Ed., an experienced educator, nationally recognized speaker, and author, is director of Sedita Learning Strategies, a consulting and teacher-training service.
This article is reprinted from the Student Newsletter for Success, Volume 1, January 2003, published by LDW® through a generous grant from Commonwealth Learning Center. The purpose of the Newsletter is for parents to share with their children, for teachers to distribute to their students, and for pediatricians to leave in their waiting room for clients.