High schools: 7 tips to make it easier for kids to study (and get better grades)

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Marie-Ange Demory
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Did the first-trimester report cards just delivered create discontent and anger in the family? Do you have a child in high school and his homework is your nightmare? Two prof. in high school forty have devised a method to get better grades, free yourself from the slavery of "night" reviews o weekends armored with exercises and discussions.



l professors Lorenzo Sanna e Marcello Bramatic they called it "the BS method" where BS stands for "just study". Condensed in the book "Stop studying!" (Sperling & Kupfer, from January 26 in bookstores) - and anticipated below by the authors themselves, exclusively for our site - here are the seven essential points of the method born from years of experience in the classroom, interviews with parents and with students.



1. Parents: Follow the kids

The 14/15 year olds cannot navigate alone in the waters of the high schools. The "now is great" does not work immediately: it is a point of arrival, not a starting point.



2. Parents: Stay in the right place

The mother who corrects the Latin teacher or the father who snorts because his son does few 'practical' subjects at school do not help. Questioning about programs and methods is of little use, as are justifications when your child has not studied.



The role of the parents is not to secretly do the homework of the child in difficulty, to attack the “too severe” teacher or to punish the child who has not studied. Parents must play the role of mediators: to them the task of stimulating - also by example at work and at home - the responsibility and commitment of their children.

3. Guys: do the planning

And 'the central part of the method, which is based on "study islands" according to the subjects and the commitments of the students during the week or at the weekend. A grid calendar is created with the days of the week, including the weekend, by dividing the afternoon into blocks of 60 or 90 minutes. Mandatory on Saturday afternoon free: children must "disconnect" from school.

If there are no particular assignments in the classroom in the first days of the week, Sunday afternoon is also free. The trick is to find, every afternoon, at least an hour of "clean study", to devote from time to time to the 'most urgent' subject, the one in which you have more difficulty.

They are 60/90 minutes in which you have to disconnect from your smartphone, or put it silent, also disconnect from the Internet if you need to study or exercise and concentrate in a room that is as quiet as possible, sitting at the desk (studying on the sofa or on the floor is not worth it) . The "clean study" time should possibly take place between 16 and 18 pm.

The kids have afternoons occupied by sports and "social" activities (Snapchat, WhatsApp, Facebook, Instagram) that help relax and socialize after school but - if they become intrusive - they disperse mental energies: the afternoon runs unproductive and you have to run to the repair in the evening.

The result? The moment of dinner is lived in a hurry, almost with annoyance, because you have to "finish (or maybe start) your homework" with consequent study and night work that limits the hours of sleep.

If, especially for the more gifted, the evening study can also have positive results in the immediate future ("I had a night and I got 7 in physics") in the long run - prof. - makes kids nervous, tired and not very productive. It has to be the exception, not the rule.

4. Parents: Create the right study environment

In the first two years, it is still up to the parents to create an adequate study environment at home, the possibility of accessing a room or a less noisy space, and also to encourage study with other peers.

Do mom and dad both work full time?

Better to organize the afternoon activities of the younger siblings in order to create quiet "study islands" at home for the older ones.

5. Guys, there are two enemies to fear: disorganization and distraction

In the classroom the children learn the study method to apply at home and planning helps the division of work. In the first two years it is important to follow it precisely: especially if there are subjects to be recovered, the hour of 'clean study' is essential every day.

Distraction in the classroom is the other enemy to be feared as it undermines the ability to remember lessons well once home. Educating children to pay attention at home (no smartphones at the table, parent-child dialogue on the day passed, etc.) is a useful training.

6. Guys: here are the precious allies

Three allies to win the battle against a bad grade: the indications of the teachers (always ask for a single, extra-hourly interview, especially in these weeks after the report cards, to understand what to improve in the study method or, and this must be admitted with honesty first of all towards yourself, in the number of hours dedicated to afternoon learning) , the notebook (according to the profs it contains 70% of the notions: it is a precious resource that every student must take care of) e the diary of tasks and commitments (the planning mentioned above).

7. Parents: Be the first to find the motivation

Don't fear monosyllable responses or roll your eyes: keep asking your children how things went at school, details and curiosities about the lessons and classmates. Trusting them with parts of your working life can foster complicity and confrontation: do it often. Example is the greatest motivator.

Have you bought your new mobile phone and don't understand much about it? Look for information, open the manual, study in front of your child: you will develop a healthy "study" approach to new things at home. And if the delivery of the report cards was really a disaster, the right attitude to keep at home is the constructive one: explaining that one can make mistakes, but that one can learn to "make less or better mistakes".

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