By Sarah Wright
Show Them How It's Done
It's one thing to tell your kids how to stay organized and on top of things, and how it's important to be diligent in completing assignments. But as with everything else, it's better to be a good example of the way you'd like to see them behave. Your kids are smart, and they'll see through your 'do as I say, not as I do' routine if they know you're taking classes and never see you doing anything related to school at home. Good students are organized and on top of things because that's an important part of success, not because they need anyone to see them leading by example. But your kids should act as an extra incentive for you to be a good student.
Showing your kid how to be a good student doesn't just mean that you should present your schoolwork as a necessary task to be completed every day, or that you should make it seem like you're effortlessly organized. Allowing your kids to see you struggle a bit in school could be helpful for them, too, since they might get discouraged occasionally. This just adds a bit of pressure for you to prevail when faced with a challenge. But what a great example to set for your kids!
Teach Them Research Skills That You Learn
We all know that it's more effective to show kids how to find an answer than to tell them what the answer is. The old 'if you give a man a fish, he eats for a day' adage applies here. Instead of 'helping' your kids by doing their work for them - you probably don't have time for that anymore - take the time to show them how you solve problems in your own schoolwork. Share any resources you've learned about, and give them tips on how to use common programs like MS Word. They might be able to share some advice in return.
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Trade Off With Study Quizzing
Having school-age kids is great, because it's almost like having built-in study buddies. This won't work too well with elementary-aged kids, but older kids should be able to do quite well in reciprocating quiz time. Sit together and individually make a set of flashcards for whatever exam or lesson you're studying for. When you're both done with your cards, trade them and take turns quizzing each other. It's an efficient way to spend time together while also being diligent about studying.
Designate Family Study Time
It'll be hard for you to answer questions for your kid if you're running around trying to get dinner ready while they're doing homework. You can try to avoid situations like this by scheduling a sit-down family study hour every weeknight. Make it clear that this is work time by hitting the books yourself, and hopefully your kids will follow suit. Just make sure they know that it's OK to interrupt you in order to get help with their work. If you have older kids, you might try asking them for help occasionally. They might actually understand what you're talking about and be able to help you.
Here are some test-taking tips for adult students.