Once school starts and the textbooks have been previewed, you can help your students get into good homework habits by doing their homework with them for a few weeks.
Here are some tips along those lines:
1. Taking the textbook preview further
There are a number of ways that you can take the previewing of textbooks that I discussed yesterday even further with your children for more comprehension of the material:
a. Do his first few assignments out of the book with him, pointing out the things again that you observed in your first preview. This will help him see that those things are not just good things to know, but also helpful for completely homework quicker and more accurately.
b. Help him prepare for his first test with his textbook and you by his side. Show him how he can use the glossary, sidebars, table of contents, etc. to quickly fill in his study guide or quickly determine what the most important aspects of the chapter are in order to prepare for a test.
c. As you are previewing a text (for the first time or an additional time), use a large sticky note to record what you find. Write the title of the text at the top, then make notes about what it contains as far as study and homework helps. Stick this in the front of his textbook and help him refer to it when he is doing homework or test preparation. You could even record a plus and minus system, such as
+++ means something is going to be really helpful---a +++ beside the Table of Contents, for instance
+ beside a word he writes in the front of his book tells him that this might be somewhat helpful—Example: +Some graphs
- No study questions at end of chapter—again, he can make a list in the front of his book (on a large sticky note), etc.
d. Help him “label” different sections of his book with sticky notes along the edges. For example, you could put a yellow one at the beginning of each chapter and a pink one on the page that has definitions for that chapter, etc.
2. Prepare your younger student for textbooks by using user-friendly non-fiction books
Maybe you are not in the textbook stage with your kids; however, you can begin preparing them for those all important study skills that I described yesterday with quality non-fiction books. If kids at ages five, six, eight, and ten, learn to navigate around Dorling Kindersley, Eyewitness, and Usborne books (among many others), they will be heads and shoulders above other children who have only been exposed to fictional stories (more on the benefits of fiction later!).
These outstanding non-fiction books have literally hundreds of topics that interest kids, but they are so colorful and alluring, you do not feel like you are “teaching” at all. Additionally, they have many aspects that your child’s future textbooks will also have: glossaries, Tables of Contents, sidebars, graphs, pictures, inserts, definitions, bold font, italics, etc. Reading these to and with your children when they are younger will provide a natural step into textbooks later on.
Note: We teach our students (in our home, our cottage classes, and in our language arts books) a simple memory device for remembering fiction and non-fiction:
Fiction=fake (both begin with f)
Non-fiction=not fake (both begin with nf)