Passionate About Pittsburgh
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Back-to-School: 25 Ways to Study

School will be in session again soon, and depending on where you stand – as a parent, a student, or a teacher – you probably have very distinct opinions on this time of year.

For us, summer this year has been easy, at least partly due to a few ground rules I established when school let out in June (like this one: “If I hear you say you’re bored, I’ll give you something to do!”). But I also despise school starting again, because it usually means the battles over homework and studying and grades are beginning all over again.

“The Teacher Didn’t Give Me Any Homework”

Three years ago, when our son was in sixth grade, we got tired of hearing him say he didn’t know what to do if he didn’t have actual homework. Back then, he didn’t understand the concept of studying or note-taking aside from simply filling out a piece of paper labeled ‘homework.’

I’m not advocating for endless amounts of school work. But if your child’s grades aren’t stellar or s/he is having trouble with the material in class (or you just want an excuse to keep them off their phone or Xbox for a little while longer), you may want them spending a little extra time at home on their studies.

I created this list for our son to help him fill 60 minutes of extra study time when he didn’t have actual homework sheets to do. We printed it out and kept it beside his work station so he could refer to it if he “forgot” what to do. And also so we didn’t have to repeat ourselves three days a week.

Even though I wrote this list almost three years ago, most of the concepts are still applicable now that our son is going into high school.

25 Study Tips

  1. Review and rewrite notes from class
  2. Create an outline for a project or chapter
  3. Update agenda and whiteboard
  4. Reread lessons in the textbooks
  5. Highlight notes (important dates, keywords, etc)
  6. Reading/Literature: Take notes on characters, plot, etc
  7. Look up vocabulary words
  8. Look up unknown words
  9. Research class discussion topics on the Internet
  10. Review objectives in agenda
  11. Write down questions for the teacher
  12. Write down questions for parents
  13. Create flashcards
  14. Go through class notebooks and correct spelling errors
  15. Recreate science experiments, when possible
  16. Read material out loud to a sibling or parent, or tell them the material in story form (“in your own words”)
  17. Review tests and quizzes and redo incorrect answers
  18. Organize binders and folders
  19. Throw away old papers and forms
  20. Do extra practice problems from the math book
  21. Read upcoming chapters in textbooks or novels
  22. Write conjugations for verbs (for foreign languages)
  23. Create your own mnemonic device to memorize something important
  24. Clean and organize desk/studying area
  25. Write a to-do list for the next day

This list was the starting point that made battles over homework less frequent. Our approach now is much different than it was then (he’s worn us down, what can I say), but I’ll still pull this out occasionally if our son needs a refresher on productive ways to fill his time. Hopefully it will give you some ideas to help your child retain more of the information s/he learns in school and help homework go easier in your house, too.  

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