We all agree on the importance of education. In fact, for many kids, it’s not all that hard to explain to them why education is so important. That’s never really been the issue.
By their very nature, all kids tend to gravitate toward certain topics.
They know and understand the joy that comes with doing something that they enjoy. The problem is maintaining the focus and absorbing all of that information. This is where effective study skills come into play.
I once heard it said that learning isn’t really about learning; learning is more about learning the art of learning.
That makes sense on so many levels for me, and that is the focus of today’s article. When you know how to learn, then you can effectively learn anything, including whatever you didn’t learn at school. You have built the necessary apparatus to acquire any kind of knowledge in the world.
On the other hand, when your learning apparatus is faulty, you can only learn that which you have been taught, but might find it hard to absorb knowledge of a novel nature.
I like to compare it to programming.
A traditional program is pretty much hard-coded. It can only do the things that you have taught it to do and nothing else. It cannot adapt or conform to new conditions. On the other hand, a machine learning algorithm or a deep neural network can do more.
You have taught it to learn. It can even alter its own programming in order to conform to new information and adapt itself to new conditions. That’s what you want your children to be: adaptable and effective.
Authored by Michael Turner
1. Create a designated Study Space for your Children
The way the brain is wired, it tends to draw associations with things and can only perform certain functions under certain conditions.
Think about it: your house has different rooms for different activities.
The living room is there for socializing, the kitchen is there for cooking and eating, and the bedroom is there for sleeping. While people often eat in the bedroom and sleep in the living room, the point is that there are special spaces for special activities.
If you teach your child never to take their meals in the bedroom, but to instead eat at the dining table in the kitchen, then they will eventually get used to eating and, as soon as they walk into the kitchen, their stomachs will start to rumble.
That is Pavlov at its best.
Even if you do not teach your kids some kind of system and let them do whatever they want, they will eventually settle into some kind of system, even though it might not be desirable.
They might do what they see the parents do and have their dinner in the kitchen anyway, or tend to eat in their bedrooms or like to go to sleep on the couch in the living room, watching TV.
The point is that the same habit can be developed for studying as for just about anything else.
Let your children know that there are special spaces and conditions for studying. A study room with complete silence or only soft classical music will do.
Teach them that whenever they want to study or do their homework, they should go to that room.
Eventually, your kids will get used to the system, and every time they enter the designated study space, their brains will light up and prep for studying. They will enter the zone more effortlessly in such spaces.
2. Take Effective Notes
We are only as good as our notes.
Effective note taking has long been known as a great aid to studying. The first thing to note here is that human memory is not infallible.
We tend to forget things, often almost immediately after registering them. With a more permanent form of memory, such as something written down, we can revisit acquired information later and reabsorb it at our leisure, increasing the chances that we will remember it.
A good habit to teach your child is to always walk around with a little notebook and note everything that is of interest to them in that book, whether it is something they saw in the world around them or something that sprang out of their own minds.
You can also teach them to keep a journal.
It helps them to develop the practice of writing things down. They should take notes everywhere, especially in class or when they’re reading books and come across new information that baffles them at the moment and that they would like to explore deeper at a later time.
Later on, they can simply revisit their notes and go through the things they would like to know at a deeper level.
3. Teach your Children to ask for Help
One of the hallmarks of a growth mindset is that someone with that kind of mindset isn’t afraid to ask for help.
They will try to learn something new or solve a problem and, if they hit a snag, they will ask for help and learn how to do it better before applying what they have learned to future problems.
A person with a fixed mindset, on the other hand, will be held back by pride and will not want to admit defeat, doing everything they can to make it look like it wasn’t their fault that they couldn’t solve the problem or learn the new thing in the first place.
Take essay writing; for example, no child is good at this right out of the gate.
It is a skill that can only be developed over time. The first time your child tries to write an essay, they can seek help from a term paper writing service.
Most of them will detail the kind of logic that went into preparing an essay, allowing a reader to understand the recipe and then go on to apply it on their own.
That way, their next essay will seem a little easier, and the next one after that easier still, and so on.
4. Look to the Future
As mentioned at the beginning of this chapter, children will generally find themselves gravitating to certain subjects and topics and find them more interesting than others as they grow up.
As a parent, you should nurture that and encourage them to learn the things they love.
In fact, it is even easier for them to learn effective study habits by applying them to these things.
Learning is a process that never ends for as long as we live. In fact, the day we stop learning is pretty much the day we start to die. You should, therefore, encourage your children to develop a lifelong culture of learning. It will always serve them well.
About the co-author of this post.
Michael Turner is a writer with 10 years of experience that specializes in self-improvement, education, and personal development. He also loves to spend his free time hiking and rock climbing.
If you would like to connect with him on social media, find him on Twitter.