Study Smarter, Not Harder : 5 Tips for Academic Success

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It’s that time of year when it feels like everything is on fire and there are papers everywhere!

The countdown to the end of the school year is on. If you ask most anyone working in schools the children are wild yet also somehow very tired.

Let’s talk about what we can be doing at home to help your student get through the last big push of the year (or any time of year really!) and optimize their study time to finish the year strong.

1.  Environment

Where does your student do their homework or study for tests?

Keep in mind here that while they may not need total silence, they do need to be able to focus. This may mean that they need to be in a quiet-ish space, away from siblings, away from anyone that is going to interrupt them and ask them questions.

It could be as easy as setting up a table in the backyard and letting everyone else know they can’t go out there for a set amount of time.

2.  Time

Get a visual timer. I love this one. Let your student know that you don’t expect them to focus for too long, set the time for 30-45 minutes and once they’ve spent that much time working they can stop or take a break.

This works great for just about anything, not just studying. I use this to get any cleaning done in my house or any work done when I have to work from home.

If your student has difficulty focusing, set the time for just 15-20 minutes and usually by the end of that 15 minutes they’ve gotten into a groove or are feeling better about getting started, but if they don’t they can take a break or ask for help.

3.  Tools

Get the highlighters. Get the mechanical pencils. Whatever niche thing it is that brings a little bit of joy to your student’s work, there’s a solid chance it’s worth the money.

This is a two-fold tip. First, if they have all the tools they need (or more!) then there’s no excuses for them to not do the work. Second, sometimes it’s the little things that can make a tedious task more enjoyable.

Your girl over here will get some work done with a pile of flair pens.

4.  Checklists

But make it fun.

I started following @thecenteredlifeco on TikTok and later bought a few of her products on her site. She focuses on living and working with ADHD but I think her tools could work for everyone. My favorite is her daily planner and project checklist.

There’s something very satisfying about coloring in a little blob every time I make some progress on a project. I also love this Magic To-Do site that can take a task and break it into smaller manageable steps using AI. This is a great tool for any task, not just school work.

5.  Rewards

Keep this part simple. The smaller you break down the to-do list the more frequent the reward. You know what your kid likes, so this could be a special snack or activity, or even some very fancy stickers!

Remember that you’re their number one coach!

Hopefully these tips are helpful and can refresh your ideas of how to support your student in their studies!

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Karyn Scarbrough
Karyn Scarbrough is a Sagitarrius, Enneagram 7, and Florida native. Originally from Panama City she headed to Pensacola for university. After spending some time living and teaching abroad she came back to Pensacola in 2015 to put down roots. In the scary but wonderful world of online dating she met the most patient man, Robert, married him, and they welcomed their son Simon to the world in August of 2022. Karyn spent a decade in the classroom before opening her tutoring business, Rising Minds Learning, in downtown Pensacola. She has a passion for equitable education, civic duty and engagement, and loves being involved in her community. When she’s not figuring out how to run a business, take care of her new kiddo, and constantly figuring out what to eat for dinner, you can find her at CivicCon events, doing yoga, and planning her next international trip with her best friend. Just like every other mom she’s trying to figure out how to juggle it all and doing her best to stay present.


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