Creating a Study Routine
Here at G3, we get a lot of questions about scheduling and time management. It makes sense! Many families who come to us are homeschooling for the first time. Others are venturing into the world of online learning for the first time. Most families are trying to help their gifted kids gain study skills and improve their executive functioning.
Children in traditional schools are used to meeting daily and working on regular assignments each night. When given only a weekly due date, many students will put off assignments until the day before (or even the morning of) the next class meeting. Sound familiar? This reduces learning to once/week, with 6-day gaps in between. For effective learning, we need to revisit material more often than that. Plus, we want our students to practice good study habits now so that they are prepared for the independent learning experiences of the college years!
After 10 years of teaching G3 classes, we have a few tips to help you create a solid learning routine with your students. (Our extended homeschooling and teaching experience doesn’t hurt either!)
- Make a schedule together. Don’t just decide what is best for your students – involve them in the process of creating the weekly plan. They probably have important input, such as feeling too tired after certain activities, or having the perfect stretch of reading time in the car.
- Start with the fixed times. Download our PDF template and fill in all of the weekly webinars, piano lessons, tutor meetings, etc. first. Consider highlighting these events in bright colors.
- Look for the clusters. Which days are especially busy? Which days have lots of open space? Try to maximize the use of the open space, rather than requiring the same number of “school hours” each day.
- Fill in homework times. Find 2-4 blocks of homework time for each class. Spread these time slots out during the week. Avoid scheduling homework time for a class on the same day the webinar meets – learning is more effective when topics are reviewed every few days. Plus, students maintain more meaningful forum discussions when they revisit the forums multiple days/week.
- Add in other events. Schedule music practice times and other events using a similar strategy. Add field trips, free reading, and playtime, too!
- Review and tweak the schedule. Sometimes the routine doesn’t go the way you planned. Scheduling can be a bit of trial and error. After a week or two, discuss the plan with your student and make adjustments so that the routine is manageable and efficient.
As a homeschool mom, I found that having a list of things that my student planned to do each day and then empowering her to manage her time during the day was the best approach. She felt micromanaged when I tried to schedule her by the hour. At the end of each day, we would review her work and discuss what she had learned, completed, and enjoyed. However, you may find that your student needs more specific guidance each day. Do what works best for your family.
Ultimately, we want our students to be able to create and execute efficient learning routines for themselves before they go off to college. However, most students don’t reach that goal overnight. It takes a bit of gentle scaffolding and support to get there.
Jaime Smith is also known as Headmistress Guinevere at OnlineG3.com. She is the President and CEO of Online G3, Inc., and she teaches literature and grammar at G3.