5 Part Simple Series
In this 5 Part Simple Series, we are discussing the simple steps you can take to help your teen perform better in school, without spending thousands of dollars on a private tutor.
This month, I am detailing the easiest and simplest solutions for parents to help their teens in school. I want to show parents that you do not need any complicated learning method, nor spending thousands on a private tutor. There are a few simple and easy steps you can implement today in order to see real changes in your teens learning and improvements in their grades.
In Part 4, I will be showing you my top 5 homework hacks for earning better grades.
If you missed a part in the series, and would like to catch up, here are the articles.
1. Complete every assignment
This may seem like an obvious tip for most parents, but, unfortunately, it is not obvious to many teens. Some teens believe that, because they complete so many homework assignments in a class, that their grade will be unaffected if they miss one or two homework assignments.
Either out of laziness, poor planning, or poor time management, these teens don’t complete every assignment.
These teens simply do not understand the importance of each homework grade, and how badly the homework grade of a zero can affect their overall grade for the class.
When a teen misses a few assignments here and there, those “few assignments”, turn into a few missed this week, and a few missed the next week, which can snowball into missing way too many homework assignments. Which will have a drastic negative affect on your teen’s class grade.
To learn more about the serious affects to the overall grade, read Part 5 coming next week.
Ultimately, even one missed assignment can have major effects on a grade.
So the key is to NEVER miss a homework assignment.
How can a parent help with this?
Two. Create a calendar or planner to help your teen write down all assignments, so nothing is forgotten or missed.
Want a free printable calendar for your teen to use? Click here for a free printable calendar for your teen.
2. Think smarter, not harder
You can think smarter in 2 ways.
When choosing a topic for a homework assignment, essay assignment, or class project, choose what you know really well, or that you have already done.
By choosing a topic you already know, it will make the assignment easier by minimizing the research phase of the project.
You could also choose a topic you don’t know, but have interest in. The benefit to this is that you will learn a lot about a new interest. The down side is that it will take many more hours of research, and requires advanced planning. (So it might be easier to choose a topic you know).
When picking partners, choose the smartest kids in the class. Do not pick friends!!
Why is that?
Because having an advanced partner will help your teen learn more about the project or assignment. Also the smart kids in the class will not dump the whole project on your teen. They are motivated by grades and will work hard to do well. (Which might rub off on your teen)
3. Reuse, recycle
I always recommend to my students to save every project or assignment. You never know when you might be able to use it again.
I am a strong believer in re-using past work. If your teen can reuse an essay they wrote last year, then they should use the work they already put into it and recycle that assignment. They simply need to proofread and edit it to reflect their new academic grade.
I once had a parent that told me I should not be encouraging a student to reuse past assignments. She hinted that it was bordering on plagiarism, and that reusing assignments would not let the student learn.
It is not plagiarism if you are using YOUR OWN WORDS. If it was your essay, in your words, then it is simply not plagiarism. Point. blank.
Millions of people that write for a living can reuse or recycle their own words, or past articles or papers to use however they please.
This is only recommended if your teen is truly struggling in school.
And if you don’t know if your teen is struggling, then this isn’t for you.
For many parents and teens, they know all too well how strong this struggle is!
For the moms and dads that see their teen:
- spend hours every night trying to understand,
- spend days trying to start the first paragraph of a paper or essay,
- spend hours studying for a test, only to earn another F,
- work SO HARD on that project, assignment, or paper; hoping that you do well, only to have your hopes broken again.
To those teens I say: I see you, I understand. I know that you are struggling. School does not come easy to everyone. Just because you are struggling in school does not mean you are lazy or stupid. It just means you are talented and gifted in other areas that cannot be tested. Your skills may be in other areas that the academic system does not deem worthy enough. But you are not slow! And you are not dumb! And you CAN achieve academic success!
And to the parents who think we just need to push our teens more, then you do so with your kid, but don’t judge me for mine. I am glad your teens are thriving well, but not every teen does. And that’s ok.
Now where was I? . . . Oh yes!
4. Utilize the free assistance
In Part 2 of the Simple Series, I explained how to use the free assistance that is provided through your child’s teacher.
The key to getting extra help with homework is by doing the entire assignment in advance, then taking the assignment to the teacher after school, and asking them to look over it.
Many teachers are happy to look over assignments, and help point you in the right direction.
If the teacher recommends many edits to a homework assignment, then have your child redo it including the edits, and bring it in a second time for the teacher’s input.
Please note: the extra teacher assistance is NOT during class, but after school. Teachers may not like that your teen is interrupting class time. Check out the extra teacher assistance tips here.
5. Do not procrastinate
Most obviously, do not procrastinate!! Procrastination is the number one killer of a good grade. Plan well enough ahead to know when to start the assignment and when to have the final edits finished.
How does your teen do with homework? Do they complete every assignment, or just complete most of the assignments? Do they procrastinate or plan ahead? Leave a comment letting me know about your teen!