I paused for a moment when I heard this statement from my daughter the other night: “I don’t know how to study”. What? For a girl who gets good grades and stays on track with her homework, I couldn’t figure out why she wouldn’t know.
Then I realized something important about what she was asking. She was challenged in a way she hadn’t been before and she needed help. Her usual methods of learning and retaining information weren’t going to be enough this time.
As a parent who has been through seemingly endless years of school, I had to think back for a minute. I know how I would study if I were preparing for a test, but when did I do that. How did I figure it out? What did I learn about myself?
After so many years, I had almost forgotten that it was a long process of making mistakes and experiencing triumph. I had to have started somewhere and so did she.
I gave her a few ideas about what has helped me, but I reminded her that she has used her own tricks in the past to remember things. She has used rote memorization unless the amount of information was simply too difficult or massive to retain. In some cases, she has used quirky memory associations to learn state capitols and Canadian province capitols.
As she gets older and is given harder material, she may have to develop broad skills like good note taking and time management. Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that no single study method or habit is best for everyone.
What’s Your Learning Style?
The three basic learning styles are auditory (listening), visual (seeing), and kinesthetic (moving). Everyone uses the three learning styles, but each person has a preference. You may say your a “visual person”, or you feel like you’re a real “hands-on person”. That’s most likely your strongest learning style.
Ask your child what they prefer. Or help them take this quiz to figure it out. You may be surprised at what you find out about your child.
When you figure this out, you can help them tailor their studying habits around these strengths. If they are an auditory learner, they may like to be verbally quizzed by someone, talk over the topics with a friend, or repeat words to themselves out loud.
A visual learner will like looking through notes, slide shows, maps, and videos. A kinesthetic learner will like to thumb through books, tap their feet to music while they study, and write or type things out by hand.
In the age of the internet, there are also about a million different tutorials on nearly every subject imaginable. Videos, articles, mp3 audio clips, slide shows, quizzes, and interactive tutorials can be easily found. Many elementary students are encouraged to use school-approved online learning websites. These can also help you understand the ways your child learns best.
This is a neat website about how to study. It has lots of tips, articles, and good base knowledge on various subjects. It looks like they do sell some of their own guides as books, but there is plenty of free information available.
Readers, what have you done to help your child study? How does your child’s style differ or compare to the ways you’ve learned to study and remember information?