How to Succeed in School

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Parent-Teacher conferences were last night. As a guardian of a high schooler, I got to listen to the teachers gush about how great my student is.

The highlights: Her English has much improved (one teacher attributed this largely to the fact that we've been reading-aloud at home, Sonlight style), she's engaging more in class, and she works hard.

The growth areas: She needs to keep working on her English spelling (I need to keep working on my English spelling), she needs to do her math homework (I had missed the fact that she'd missed several assignments -- bad guardian!), and she needs to study more for Anatomy (yes, yes, she does).

All told, her grades are predominately "A"s. She has the highest scores in several of her classes. And even in the classes in which she struggles, her marks are quite good (as long as she does her homework). This leads to four tips for how to succeed in school:

  1. Try - teachers like to see effort. You don't even have to be good at it, but if you're working hard, your teachers notice and reward you for it.
  2. Engage - simply participating in class improves your marks. My student tells me she's rarely even on topic, rambling about "random stuff" (which wouldn't surprise me), but her teachers love her. That ultimately translates into higher grades.
  3. Complete - do your homework. That alone can undo bad test scores; the practice often helps improve your test scores.
  4. Study - learning how to regurgitate the "right" information when asked is essential for the more "academic" courses.

These are actually four tips we could apply to our lives as homeschoolers:

  1. Try - we aren't perfect teachers. But simply starting down road of homeschooling unlocks tremendous benefits for us and our children.
  2. Engage - there are a growing number of computer-based, "hands-off" home education options ... and none of them will ever be as good as when we participate in our students' education.
  3. Complete - do your homework. Sometimes the daily grid can be overwhelming and we should take a break. There are bad homeschool days. But stick with it, even if you have to stretch out your school year just a little longer.
  4. Study - learn about how your students learn. Seek out advice and encouragement. You do this naturally as a parent, but I think we sometimes feel the need to have our homeschooling all figured out. It's good to keep learning, even when it comes to how to homeschool.

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Guardian

P.S. I enjoyed this video about what historians say about the resurrection of Christ from BibleMesh on this Good Friday. As always, I think there's a bunch of other interesting stuff in my Other Posts of Note.

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  1. Pingback: Learning While Ill | Sonlight Blog