Study skills for middle school and beyond
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Your 'Media Multitasker'
A recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation referred to today's children as "media multitaskers," who send instant messages, talk on the phone and listen to music at the same time while doing homework.
But despite what your child may tell you, this could well hinder learning, according to brain research by a UCLA psychology professor. Dr. Russell Poldrack found that multitaskers learn but they do it differently and cannot retrieve the information as effectively.
By GreatSchools Staff
Help your child make the most of his time.
If she carries a review sheet or book along with her, sitting in the doctor's waiting room or waiting out a traffic jam can be productive study time. That leaves more time for a basketball game after school.
Make sure your child knows the basics.
Find out the skills students at your child's grade level are expected to have. Middle school students are generally expected to have learned basic multiplication and division facts, for example. If your child can't quickly recall them, it is likely to hurt her scores on math tests.
Look for other sources of support.
Find out the best way to reach your child's teachers and keep that contact information handy all year. Is there a college student in your neighborhood who can help with math, a relative who can tutor him in Spanish? Talk to your child about finding a "study buddy" or group. Study groups can be effective because students can fill in the gaps in each other's knowledge and test their understanding of the material by explaining it to others.
Reflect on what works.
Some questions you can ask your child: How do you know when you've studied enough? How did you keep yourself focused? How much time did you plan to spend and how much did you actually spend? How would you do this differently next time?
Help your child destress.
Good study skills can help reduce anxiety, and so can relaxation exercises and regular physical activity. If your child seems unusually anxious about tests, talk to him about it. If the work seems too difficult for your child or the workload too great, contact the school.
"Have a conversation with the teacher," says Winburn, the South Carolina teacher. "Maybe the child doesn't need to be doing 100 problems to practice a concept. Maybe 10 is just fine."