MANY teenagers believe that there is a secret to being a successful student in high school, however, that is not true.
Anyone who is organized, willing to prioritize, adheres to a schedule, and willing to work hard can be successful in school. Below are nine tips for academic success parents can use to help their children:
- Have the right tools. To be a successful student, children have to have the right “student tools” with them every day. In addition to pens, pencils, and highlighters, they should have a calendar for keeping track of when assignments are due and when exams are scheduled, binders and/or folders to keep school material organized, paper for notes, a computer or access to a computer for conducting research or typing, a dictionary, a thesaurus, and a calculator (if your child has a math or science class).
- Complete assignments on time. Make sure that your children complete their homework assignments and special projects ahead of time, and submit them when they are due. Teachers frequently do not accept late assignments, and those who do, often deduct a letter grade for every day the assignment is late.
- Take notes. Class lectures will be more understandable if your children take notes. That way, when they home, they can review the information presented in class. If there is something that they do not understand, they can ask their teachers the following day.
- Study daily. A good rule for high school students to follow is to study 45 minutes to one hour per day for each academic class they have. Help your children discover their personal best time to study, and stick to an established schedule.
- Prepare for exams. Teach your children to not procrastinate. Ensure that they keep up with reading assignments, and review their class notes and worksheets on a daily basis. Reading all chapters of a book or studying all of their class material for the first time the night before the exam does not work.
- Have excellent attendance. Make sure that your children come to school, and attend all of their classes every day. Missing class lectures makes it much more difficult to get back on track. Help your children make a habit of coming to school every day unless they are truly sick.
- Join a study group. Some students learn material better if they are part of a group. If your child is one of those students, encourage him or her to form a small group (five people maximum) to study with, and remind your child not to turn it in to a social event. To see if he or she truly understands a concept, ask him or her to teach the idea to a member of the study group.
- Communicate with teachers. Explain to your children that communicating with their teachers about issues that need attention is essential to school success. If there is something that they do not understand or require extra assistance from their teachers, encourage them not to wait until the end of the quarter or the semester but speak to the teacher as soon as the problem arises. If your children are not comfortable speaking to their teachers, you as a parent can speak with them on their behalf.
- *Get enough sleep. Getting seven to eight hours of sleep is essential to being successful in school. If your children are too tired, they will not be able to concentrate on their class lectures and classwork.
As you can see, there is no mystery to being a successful high school student. By following these basic suggestions, your children will perform better academically, experience greater success in school, and be prepared more for the world of higher education or employment.
Elizabeth Hamilton, M.Ed, MA, is a teacher with 25 years of professional experience. You can write to her at successfullearner[at]yahoo.com with your questions or comments.