Helping students become better scholars

It’s report card time! How do we have a strong finish to the semester? How do you get your student to study? What can you do to help your student focus better? Many parents don’t know how to help students improve their grades. As an experienced tutor and education consultant, I encounter many parents frustrated with their students acting up in class, not doing their homework, etc. Even the ‘A’ students often struggle with the end of the semester.

1) A good night’s sleep is important! A consistent set of good-night’s-sleeps is better! A well-rested brain and body is the first step to success. Students often are over-tired, and of course they are. They have to wake up at 6 a.m. (or earlier)! Unfortunately, students also often stay up longer than they should. Just as we have regular wake-up times, we should also have regular bedtimes. Figure out how much sleep is neededfor the person in question, and stick to it! It’s amazing how well the brain works when it’s had some good sleep.

2) Communicate with the teachers. Teachers want their students to pass, and most teachers now will let the student make up missing assignments. As I stated in “Progress Reports are Coming!” most schools and teachers are now online, whether via SchoolLoop.com or Schoology.com. Parents can track assignments and grades. If your teacher or school is not yet online, do it the old-fashioned way and give the teacher a call or set up a meeting.

3)Make a list of what needs to be done. Now that we know what’s missing or needed, make a list! That way, it’s easier to prioritize tasks. Students can also see which classes need only a little help versus which classes need a lot of help. Plus, when students have a list of things to do and can visibly check them off or cross them out, they feel a sense of accomplishment and it helps spur them on to the next item.

4) Make a schedule to manage time. The student has the list of things to be done; now schedule the time to do them. Whether it’s making up a missing assignment or studying for the Final, consciously scheduling the time to do it, will make it more likely to get done. For example: “From 4-5 pm, I will study math.” Or “From 6-7pm, I will complete two missing science homeworks.” Effective time management is a much-needed skill in life, especially as adults in the working world. The sooner students master time management, the better off they’ll be. No writing papers into the wee hours of the morning! (That also cuts into a good night’s sleep!)

5) Get help! Parents and caregivers are busy. Or at the very least, they might not be well-versed in what the student is learning. Get some outside help. Whether it’s a tutor or other non-live-in, non-related helper, having a third party help the student has a profound impact. A tutor or education consultant can give expert one-on-one guidance that speaks to the student’s needs, without judgment. From experience, grades and attitudes improve dramatically when the student gets the appropriate attention.

Good luck!

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