Create Your Own Study Zone!
The brain is searching and processing information all the time. It tries to organize what it hears, smells, taste, touches, and sees. It loves habits because it doesn’t have to pay so much attention; it just does what it is used to doing.
You can make your brain’s love of habits work for you or against you depending on what kind of habits you develop. Creating good study habits and setting the stage for your brain to focus are key in setting up your study zone.
Study Zone’s Need:
Plenty of light
Good chair to sit straight in
Room to spread out papers
No food, clutter, or chatty friends
No TV, music or cell phone that will distract you
A boy studying his homework
The National Education Association as well as the National Parent Teacher Association follow the homework time guidelines of 10 minutes per grade level. Secondary students may do more depending on what classes they take (honors, AP, Concurrent Enrollment).
7th Grade = 70 minutes
8th Grade = 80 minutes
9th Grade = 90 minutes
* Remember to schedule in breaks during your study time! Students will have a hard time studying straight through. Students may find it easier if they set a timer and break up their study time into 2 or 3 sessions.
Talk with your parents and decide when you are going to be able to fit in this time on a daily basis, Monday – Thursday and once over the weekend.
* There may be times that students take longer or shorter than the expected time. However, to build good study habits the minimum time should be consistent. If your 7th grade student is done with all their homework (including all 3 components listed below) in 50 minutes, they are still required to have “study time” for another 20 minutes. For that 20 minutes they can read ahead in their language arts book, spend extra time studying for that upcoming test, or review their homework they have completed. If your student understands that their study time is consistent and even if they rush through their assignments they will still be there for the same amount of time they will use that time better.
WHAT DOES STUDY/HOMEWORK TIME LOOK LIKE?
Study Time does not only include what assignments were given that day at school. There are 3 points of studying/homework that students should make sure they are doing every day during their homework time.
Daily reading requirements
Work you were not able to finish in class
Look ahead! What tests do I have coming up in the next 2 weeks?
STUDY for upcoming test
Take time to maintain your organization system.
Throw away old papers or things you no longer need
Maker sure things are in their right places
WAYS TO ORGANIZE
There are many different ways to organize your study space, backpack, and system. Students need to find a combination of what will work for them. Below are some ideas of how to help organize your student.
STUDY STATION – Students should have a place where they can focus on homework with little distractions. In some homes at the kitchen table is a great place for homework/study time – parents are available to answer questions, parents can monitor distractions (television, phone, computer use). In other homes the kitchen table is the craziest place in the house and is a difficult place to do homework/study. Find a place in your home that you or your student can work and focus with 1) supplies they will need & 2) As little distractions as possible.
PLANNER / MANAGEMENT TOOL – Using some kind of management tool to know when assignments are due, tests are coming up, or events to plan for is a life skill. All adults use some kind of tool to track work meetings, appointments, or family events. It is impossible to keep everything in your head so the best thing students can do is record it somewhere and refer to it regularly!
All students are given student planners – these are GREAT management tools! This allows students to record everything – the trick is getting in a habit of writing in it on a regular basis – find a time that students get it out and take an extra 60 seconds to write in what is due (at the end of each class period, at the 5 minute warning bell, at the beginning of the period).
The school planner has space for students to write in homework for every period every day. It also has monthly calendars students can use to look ahead at big projects or tests coming up.
WAYS TO ORGANIZE BACKPACK / HOMEWORK – There are many different ways to organize all the papers and homework students need to keep. Students need to find out what is going to work best for them.
Here are just a few ideas – accordion style binder, one place for all their work. Usually students will have one tab for each class and an additional tab for “homework or To Do” and another tab for “Completed or Done”.
HOMEWORK FOLDER – Students who struggle with organization should start with something simple. A homework folder is a great simple practice to know what homework students have due. This is one 2-pocket folder that students take with them to every single class. When homework is assigned they always put it in the homework folder on the side that is labeled “To Do” or “Homework”. When the student goes home they know they only have to look in one place for all their homework.
When it was completed they move it over to the other side labeled “Done” or “Turn In”. When the teacher calls for an assignment to be turned in, they only have to look in one spot to find it.
It is also good practice to write a due date on the top corner of each page or assignment – then students can prioritize what should be completed first.