The concept of defining and refining a System is something I regularly stressed with my girls during their high school and college years. The truth is that each person has a different way of planning, organizing, studying and remembering. What works for you in these areas might not at all work for your son/daughter. One of the most important things to accomplish during the high school and college years is for your kid to develop and refine a system that works for them.
If your kid bombs a test that they studied reasonably hard for, take a look at the system that was in place to prepare for the test. Did they study with headphones on or in a quiet room? Did they review all of their notes or simply rely on the review given by the teacher? Did they forget about the test until late the night before? You get the idea. And, by the way, I’m not down on headphones during studying if they create an environment that produces results. The focus in this case is on the test preparation system.
Here are some questions to ask your kid to help them understand what their system is and what other possibilities exist:
- How did you go about _______? (ie – studying for that test)
- What tools did you use?
- What methods did you use?
- Were you clear on the expectations ahead of time? If not, why not and what could you do differently next time?
- Did you try/do something that you don’t normally do?
- How do your friends go about ______? Are they doing anything different that seems to work for them?
This works for organizational systems that are hugely needed when your kid has to juggle school, org/sports participation and a job. It also works for budgeting and general money management. The key is for them to be aware that systems exist and to try different things until they feel their systems for various things are best optimized for them.
See my other blog posts on parenting here.