April 2, 2015
High School Notebook
HSLDA presents High School at Home: Turning Possibility into Reality featuring Carol Becker and Diane Kummer, HSLDA High School Consultants. Register early as space is limited!
Carol and Diane may be coming to your area—join them at one of their upcoming speaking engagements.
April 16–18, 2015: MACHE—MN, St. Paul, MN (Carol and Diane)
April 23–25, 2015: MassHope—Worcester, MA (Carol)
April 28, 2015: Homeschooling to College Seminar Day—Williamsburg Classical Academy, Williamsburg, VA (Carol and Diane)
May 8–9, 2015: CHAP—Harrisburg, PA (Diane)
June 11–13, 2015: HEAV—Richmond, VA (Diane)
October 9, 2015: MAP Your Future, Indianapolis, IN (Carol and Diane)
November 7, 2015: HSLDA’s High School at Home: Turning Possibility into Reality—Purcellville, VA (Carol and Diane)
Check out Carol and Diane’s weekly Homeschooling Now Teaching Tips for Parents
Registration is now open for the HSLDA Online Academy. This fall 2015, the academy will offer both AP courses and a new Algebra 1 course and English 1 course.
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Study Skills: Your Teen’s Path to Future Success
One important facet of homeschooling through high school is developing your teen’s study skills. Not only do these skills benefit your teens during high school, but they also prepare teens for future success whether they enter the workforce, enlist in the military, enroll in trade school, or enter college. Let’s look at learning styles, organizational skills, note-taking strategies, test preparation tips, and time-management aids.
|Both of HSLDA’s high school consultants homeschooled their children from kindergarten through the 12th grade. Learn more >>
Although we throw out many suggestions, please don’t be overwhelmed! Use as many—or as few (!)—of these recommendations as you have the time and energy to implement. You may want to introduce several concepts each year of high school rather than trying to put them all into practice at once.
Space them out and cheer your teen on as he makes progress.
Eight Learning Styles
Before we discuss study skills we need to address learning styles because teens study best when they utilize their strengths. Homeschoolers can take advantage of much research done in this area. One book we recommend is How am I Smart? A Parent’s Guide to Multiple Intelligences by Dr. Kathy Koch.
The best study skills employ your teen’s preferred learning styles. Academic achievement depends upon your teen using his strengths to learn new ideas and concepts. Here are eight intelligence factors researchers have named. As you might expect, teens are often a mix of two or three strong learning styles. Koch’s book references the following factors:
- Linguistic or Word Smart: These students are strong in languages, writing, communication, and expression. Most teaching methods work well with these teens who enjoy expanding their vocabulary, discussing ideas, taking lecture notes, keeping a journal, and listening to books read aloud or on tape. These teens desire and thrive with constructive communication, so make time to invest your wisdom, knowledge, understanding, and appropriate experiences with them.
- Mathematical or Logic Smart: These students always ask questions because they are continually trying to make sense of the world around them. Challenge these teens with situations to ponder, events to predict, comparisons to make, data to analyze, contradictions to detect, and problems to resolve. Periodically, turn the tables and have these teens explain how they solved a problem because this helps them develop verbal reasoning skills.
- Musical or Music Smart: These students are strong with rhythms and melodies. Create jingles or lyrics to help teens memorize and retain complicated facts. For geography, Carol set the countries and capitals of the world to various Christmas carols and other melodies. Consider replacing the lyrics of any well-known song to remember history, math, or science facts as well as vocabulary (both English and foreign language words). Rapping and clapping also help students retain information in a fun way.
- Visual or Picture Smart: These students picture ideas in their mind’s eye. Associating ideas with vivid colors or fanciful pictures builds memory maps to retain and recall information. These teens exhibit good observation skills, which helps them comprehend ideas. Because students create and design inside their head, they can visualize information with eyes closed. This helps imprint and retain information.
- Kinesthetic or Movement Smart: These students learn with movement and touch because their whole body talks. They generally have great eye-to-hand coordination. Help teens imprint and recall academic information by encouraging physical drills, dance moves, tapping toes, and patterned stepping. To emphasize points, use hand gestures or facial expressions, which your teen can imitate. Consider studying or reviewing information while doing simple daily chores because these teens think best when their hands and bodies are moving.
- Interpersonal or People Smart: These students prefer to work with a partner or in a small group because they enjoy relating to and observing people. Talk over events to help your teen learn to interpret various situations. Whenever possible, adapt history, science, math, and literature around the lives of real people. For instance, explain that an author speaks to his generation through his novel. What is the author saying through this character, and why is he saying it? Highlight character changes, development, and choices within the book.
- Intrapersonal or Reflecting Smart: These students ponder their own behavior. They contemplate their past, probe their present situation, and plan for their future. When the time is right, encourage your teen to share his thoughts. Most of these teens are independent workers, who readily set goals for themselves. Usually, they dislike probing questions about assignments, and they appreciate choices and options. Usually, these students prefer assignments that can be completed independently.
- Naturalistic or Pattern Smart: These students tune in to their surroundings, especially outdoors. They notice birds, animals, insects, plants, clouds, shadows, tracks, temperature, breezes, and changing weather conditions. They categorize easily because they remember patterns, designs, textures, colors, sizes, and shapes. Challenge these students to identify relationships, compare ideas, detect contrasts, and find connections in history, math, science, and language (root, prefix, and suffix and foreign vocabulary). A calm setting either indoors or outdoors will help these teens concentrate.
Dr. Koch’s book offers evaluation advice on determining your teen’s strong learning styles. Here’s a free online questionnaire teens can take to help determine their preferred learning styles.
Help your teen learn to organize his schoolwork into a binder with dividers. Use tabs to keep track of assignments, notes, vocabulary, current work, completed work, and other paperwork. Also encourage teens to organize their study area. Being able to find assignments improves your teen’s ability to turn work in on time. This simple step will minimize the time lost looking for schoolwork. Although teens often spread their work around the house, work on a method to keep school supplies in a useful, accessible container.
- For 9th- and 10th-grade students, consider the 12 Organizational and Time Management Tips for High School Students.
- How to Teach Students Organizational Skills
Because reading chapters takes a lot of time, students save time in the long run by developing note-taking skills. College-bound teens must develop lecture note-taking skills as well. Students can begin practicing this skill on videos and progress to sermons or topical radio shows. When adults need to learn material quickly, they generally create outlines, and publishers write textbooks in a straightforward manner. This makes chapters conducive to outlining. Outlines are central to studying for a test, developing an oral report, or gathering facts for a paper. Tailor the following study skills to take advantage of your teen’s strong learning styles.
- Students who don’t read well will benefit from reading a lower-level book on the same subject to get the gist and vocabulary. Then assign grade-level textbook readings. Go online for suggestions to help students Improve Reading Speed.
- SQ3R is a pre-reading exercise that helps student get the most out of reading textbooks. Watch this video or visit this website. Look here for a concise printout.
- View five note-taking methodologies for both textbooks and lectures. Here’s a useful video of the Cornell method taught by a biology teacher.
- Note Taking Strategies and Skills.
- Students who enjoy working on the computer can benefit by learning how to create outlines in PowerPoint as a note-taking strategy. View this PowerPoint instructional video or this video. If your teen adds animation to each line of the outline, students can use PowerPoint to review and prep for exams.
- Listening vocabulary is a good predictor of academic success, so parents should add vocabulary building exercises to every English course. Consider Vocabulary for the College-Bound Student.
Tests Preparation Tips
High school teens need to learn review and test preparation study skills. Actually, taking tests helps teens hone these critical skills. Parents can work with teens to modify techniques. When a parent’s strong learning styles are compatible with a teen’s strong learning styles, then the parent’s honed study skills will greatly benefit the teen. The challenge arises when the teen’s strong learning styles conflict with the parent’s. Individualized homeschool instruction means parents work with the strengths God has given their teens and help them develop those skills and abilities. Here are test-taking sites that parents can adapt to suit their teen’s strong learning styles.
- Beginning Study Tips and Study Skills
- Steps to Improve Memory Skills
- Test Taking Strategies for the following types of tests: multiple choice, essay, true/false, oral, short answer, quantitative math, and open book.
- Reducing Test Taking Anxiety
Time Management Aids
Teens need to learn how to divide large assignments into manageable sections. Begin this process by giving weekly assignments for one of your teen’s courses. Monitor how the week progresses, because this gives valuable insight into your teen’s time-management baseline. Begin building skills from that baseline. Time-management skills are crucial to developing independent learners.
- For 9th-grade students, here’s a simple yet effective time management system.
- Dartmouth College has produced a free online resource called Academic Success Videos: Time Management, which discusses three effective time management skills and goal setting exercises. Successful students possess a clear awareness of what they want to accomplish. Although the video addresses college students directly, most teens will benefit from term calendars, weekly schedules, and daily to-do lists. Click for a printable Goal Setting Worksheet.
- Some teens struggle with perfectionism, which plays havoc with time-management. “Getting Past Perfectionism” helps teens understand the hidden costs.
Your teen needs help and encouragement to develop these study skills. Take heart and know it is never too late to begin teaching these essential skills, and reassure your teen that his skills will sharpen with continued use. Over time he will reap rich rewards for putting these skills into practice.
Join us next month as we jump into the topic of extracurricular activities and elective courses.
Grateful for you and your investment in your teen,
Carol Becker and Diane Kummer
HSLDA High School Consultants
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