Every year, we (Artios Academies) receive requests on offering a study skills course of some kind or another. I’ve never understood this since this is a skill that should be being taught by every teacher and integrated within their subject. The idea of enrolling a student in a separate study skills course and then asking them to transfer that information into a content course is not nearly as effective as it being taught in an integrated format.
Dr. Beechick refers to this trend of requests in the following statement. “Recently the topic of study skills became an urgent subject in many public school districts. Surveys and tests showed that children were shamefully poor in these important skills, so schools added a separate course, trained teachers specifically for this, and thus an overcrowded curriculum grew more crowded.”
“Educators know that a better way is for the civics teacher to teach children how to read civics texts and the science teacher to help students learn the unfamiliar words. Anybody could tell them to organize their papers in a binder and to keep track of assignments. But nobody does.”
According to Dr. Beechick, we as home educators have a great advantage of teaching everything to our students and of having the ability to integrate study skills into the content being study. By doing this, our students don’t have the need to transfer a study skill that has been taught in a stand alone study course into a content class. According to Dr. Beechick, that type of transfer is not effective.
She then goes on to explain some of the skills that are useful for us to integrate within content courses. Obviously, if we do this our students will be empowered to take responsibility for their own course of study.
Manage the Study Environment
She describes our need to know and even monitor the study environment of our children. This would include the simple organization of a study space, the noise or surroundings of that space etc. She also includes our observing the “peak energy” hours of our student and helping them to manage their time and study schedule accordingly. Other insights include the lifestyle of our student: proper sleep, nutrition, and exercise.
Last but certainly not least, she mentions the factor of self-concept and a positive outlook but she is also careful to point out that this is not what is commonly perceived as the need to only give our students positive feedback on their work. “It is learning that helps self-concept”…..not the other way around.
I love that Dr. Beechick lists dictionary and reference skills and textbook reading skills as skills that we should be integrating within our content learning. But, the best part is that she goes into detail about HOW to integrate those skills into our homeschool and does so in a way that is easily understood and easily implemented. I would encourage you to read this chapter more than once and make plans to implement some if not all of her suggestions next school year.