8 Habits that have made my kids successful in school
I think that my kids' success in school is largely due to the good study habits that we've instilled in them since they were very young. Although many factors have contributed to their success, here are seven of the study habits that I feel have been most important.
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1. Education equals success: "You want to be able to afford this ______?" we would ask our kids. "Then you have to do well in school." My kids have always equated education with success because this kind of messaging has been a constant since they were little. College or some kind of higher education has always been part of the conversation and the ultimate goal since they were little.
2. Instill a love for reading: I attribute so much of my son's success (he is deaf and uses a Cochlear Implant to hear) to his love for reading. When my kids were little, I'd read to them EVERY NIGHT stories that they would enjoy and I would bring to life through telenovela-like acting. We'd go to the library every weekend. And as they grew older I'd allow them to read "easy" books that they could read on their own. Today, they continue to read books they love that are outside of their school curriculum. My son discovered a whole new world of words, experiences and more (ahead of what he could hear) and this has been the foundation for his success.
3. Make school the number one priority at our home: This doesn't mean that my kids haven't had fun. However, school and homework have always been the number one, non-negotiable priority. When they were little we'd take them out of school for a few days to travel to Chile to visit my family, but as they got older and classes got more difficult, we made sure that they never missed school. And if they didn't do their schoolwork, they knew that there would be consequences (privileges would be taken away). Attending parent-teacher meetings has also been a top priority for me or my husband.
4. Create a homework routine and study zone: The minute my kids came home from school, they'd wash their hands, have a snack and then they would do homework in the "zone." We created a "quiet" study area and avoided distractions such as TV, Facebook and others until they were done. Typically we did not have play dates during the school week!
5. Get help: As my kids grew older and I could no longer help them with homework, they would routinely go to their teachers for extra help before or after school. And if they didn't understand a homework assignment they'd always have a "buddy" who they would turn to for support. I taught my kids not to be shy about seeking help. One of the best online resources I invested in was Chegg--much less costly than tutors!
6. Challenge yourself: Colleges love kids who take courses that challenge them. Whenever possible my kids would take advanced classes, especially in subject areas that they excelled in and in subjects that they felt most passionate about.
7. Make sure they get enough sleep: Now that my kids are getting older, enough rest and sleep is a bit of a stretch, but when they were young this was an important part of our daily routine.
8. Plan it out: My daughter credits the habit of staying ahead to her success during her first year of college. To stay ahead kids must learn that they cannot procrastinate or leave work for the last minute. My kids have had school "planners" since they were very young. They wrote down the due dates for their homework assignments, tests and projects and created a plan that would breaki up their work into smaller daily tasks.
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