Winter break not only marks a time for family and relaxation, but it also provides the opportunity to improve upon the work ethic that may have gotten brushed aside the past few months. Now would be a great time to inspire your children to get organized and perk up their study habits before the school year returns to its hectic schedule. Getting your kids together and preparing for the return to school can even be a family activity. If you are having trouble jump-starting a positive approach to studying, here are a few simple suggestions to make the second leg of the school year not only more productive, but perhaps less stressful, and maybe even a little exciting:
- Make the kitchen or dining room table binder clean-out central: have your child go through each paper and decide which assignments and notes will be relevant for the coming semester and which ones can be put away for final exams.
- If notebooks are falling apart or low on paper, replace them. Nothing is worse than being motivated to do work and not having the supplies to accomplish tasks.
- If your children do a lot of schoolwork on the computer, encourage them to make their own desktop folders and have a folder for each subject. This makes finding drafts much easier and there is no worry as to whether or not the computer “ate” a paper.
- Make sure your children have a consistent method of taking down assignments: whether it be a planner, a piece of paper or a PDA, make sure they put all of their assignments in the same place. This helps avoid confusion when it comes to due dates. Encourage them to use Post-It notes as reminders for tests and long-term assignments.
- If your child struggled during the fall, brainstorm a list of ways to overcome academic obstacles: maybe start with more difficult assignments or make additional practice worksheets for things that proved to be particularly difficult, such as exponents (textbooks sometimes have additional practice problems in the back).
Although winter vacation allows for a break from the daily grind, returning to a school routine doesn’t need to be anticipated with dread. A great way to ease the back-to-school stress is to plan ahead. By January, your children know what a specific teacher’s expectations are (she might be tough on grammar or showing work on a math problem), so it is best to put in some planning time over winter break so that the day before school begins, you and your children are not scrambling to finish assignments and find the backpack that was almost tossed away with the used wrapping paper.
About the Contributor: Alexandra Mayzler is a regular contributor to the NYC Firm Schools Blog in the area of study skills. This post was co-authored by Ashley Leeds.