Getting a Head Start on a Great Progress Report

By Deanna Hurn, Founder and Executive Director of Miracle Math Coaching.

For some of your children, the most recent quarter or semester has just begun or is about to begin. So why take steps to get a good progress report now?


Not literally, of course. But think of a progress report like a dental appointment. Why brush and floss every day now to prepare for seeing the dentist three months from now? Because cavities – just like poor study habits – fester over time. The longer you wait to take action, the worse the results.

And smart study habits are the equivalent of good dental hygiene. No matter how young your children are, they probably has homework. Teaching them how to study effectively when they’re young will pay off throughout their academic careers.

FYI, the National PTA recommends students spend 10 minutes studying a night for number of the grade they’re in. For example, a first-grader should do 10 minutes of homework and a 9th-grader would do 90 minutes.

Here are six simple ways to make that time count:

1. Turn off everything. No phones, television, stereo, videogames, and only use the computer or laptop for homework assignments. If your children are writing a paper and have already done the research, turn off the wi-fi so they can’t surf the internet.

2. Designate a “Homework Zone.” Set aside a quiet place in the house for homework. It can be the bedroom, the dining room or the kitchen. Just ensure that it’s quiet and free of distractions.

3. Encourage your child to work on the most challenging assignments first. The hardest subjects to study require the most effort. When they first sit down to do homework, they’ll have the most mental energy to tackle these assignments.

4. Use a timer. Allotting 10 or 15 minutes to a reading assignment or a section of homework sheets will keep your children focused. When the timer bings, have them get up and stretch or do jumping jacks. Research shows that exercise improves memory.

5. Help them make flash cards. Use index cards or plain paper folded or cut to the size of cards. Put questions on one side and answers on the other, and quiz them until they get all the answers right.

6. Have them say stuff out loud. Repeating the material they’re learning aloud will help them remember it. You can quiz them during dinner conversation or a ask for a quick review before bed.

7. Make sure they eat well while studying. Hunger is the enemy of brain power, so have snacks at the ready. Focus on “slow release” carbohydrates, which keep your blood sugar levels stable and better satisfies your hunger. They include non-starchy veggies (like carrots and celery), fresh fruits and nuts.

If you want to learn how to help your child excel academically, call Miracle Math at 707-398-3474. And definitely contact us for a FREE Learning Discovery Evaluation to see where your child stands academically and how we might help: Click here to sign up now. Miracle Math Coaching is an award-winning, student-focused service with a track record of boosting academic achievement.

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