It’s been a long day, you’re tired and yet again the living room is filled with outbursts of “Stop telling me how it’s done!” or “I don’t need your help!” from your child as you vow to say calm not thwack them over the head. Does this sound familiar? Expert tutor Carla van Staden shares her top tips on how to help your child study without it ending in tears.
1. S tart with a plan
At the beginning of the school year set goals with your child, not for your child. Let them suggest where they need to improve and devise a plan that will support them to do so. Remember that you are not their teacher, but their helping hand.
2. Set up a routine
Although your child may hate the thought of scheduling their study sessions, it’s a tried and trusted method. Children of all ages require a break after school to unwind and refocus. Allow them their 30 minutes and then have a structured plan to adhere to. Ensuring that the proper amount of time is spent on studies will not only improve marks, but also keep your child up to date.
3. Pick the right place to work:
Each child has their own preferences when it comes to a “study spot”. Some prefer a desk and some like to sit by you in the kitchen while you cook dinner. Let your teenager decide where they want to work, so that they are comfortable and more open to learning.
4. Don’t be too helpful
As parents we all wish we could do the work for our children and make their lives easier. But, the simple fact is we cannot. When it comes to homework and studies it’s great to assist your child when they need help, but never force it. Take an interest in their test and exam preparation, but always let them attempt their work on their own first.
5. YOU shouldn’t do homework
Keep in mind that although you are helping with homework and test preparation, you are not actually doing you child’s homework. It is paramount that they learn and do things by themselves, even if they get it wrong a few times at first. Quiz them, do mind maps with them, help them look things up online, but never ever do their work for them.
6. Know when to seek extra help
Most parents are not able to help their children with everything due to time constraints, an abundance of offspring or simply the technicalities of the work being done. This does not make you inadequate as a parent, it makes you human. You do, however, have the responsibility of making sure your child receives the right help when needed. The assistance of a private tutor or extra lessons can make the world of difference and should be explored when needed.
Carla van Staden is professional tutor. She has a world of experience in extra lessons, surving high school and study tips. She is the co-founder and partner of Gutsy Tutoring.