In this article on Barking Up the Wrong Tree blog, the author gives a great list of ways to improve your child’s academic performance.  Here are a few.

1) Get Good Sleep
While this may seem like basic knowledge, many students today are doing more and more activities which leads to staying up later to do homework or to spend time online.  Losing 1 hour can pull him back 2 grade levels while averaging 15 more minutes daily can make her more likely to get A’s.

Missing an hour of sleep turns a sixth grader’s brain into that of a fourth grader.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends 10-11 hours for ages 5-12 and 8.5-9 hours for teenagers.  Get into a good bedtime routine.  Ensure quality sleep by keeping the room cool, dark, and quiet and free of screens (tv, computer, phone, etc).  Read more about the importance of sleep here and bedtime routine tips here.

Another benefit of well rested students is feeling happier.  Happier students also do better than those who are unhappy.  Also happier kids come from happy parents so get your sleep too!

2) Engage in Active Learning
You can read basketball rules, tips, and strategies, but you won’t get better until you start actually playing.  The Gideon program is only active learning with the student always working on his individualized program based on his previous performance.  When the student needs to memorize +4 facts, he will practice them orally, write them over and over, and then be tested to do it within a certain time.  All these things are actively engaging his brain as opposed to having him simply read them on the page.

Along this same thread is to have your student read WITH you instead of you just reading TO them.  When reading a book together, point at the words as you read them, and later as they are able, have them read to you.  Ask questions about what is happening in the story to ensure comprehension.  Have her repeat any sentences she struggles with to aid with comprehension and confidence.

…when shared book reading is enriched with explicit attention to the development of children’s reading skills and strategies, then shared book reading is an effective vehicle for promoting the early literacy ability even of disadvantaged children.

3) Create Good Habits

From Charles Duhigg’s excellent book The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business:
“Dozens of studies show that willpower is the single most important keystone habit for individual success…Self-discipline predicted academic performance more robustly than did IQ. Self-discipline also predicted which students would improve their grades over the course of the school year, whereas IQ did not.”

Create good habits for you children while you can.  Decide which goals are important for your family and strive for them.  Do not give up with things get hard.  Teaching your children to persevere is a life lesson and will help them through adulthood.  Being great at something usually does not come naturally.  Mostly, these are well developed skills.

At Gideon, we stay on the needed topic until mastery is reached.  We believe each student can reach the mastery standards given extra practice.  Some students need more help in +4s but may need less in -4s.  Each student is different, but we never give up and assume he cannot do it.  He learns a lot about himself and hard work when he does reach that goal.  He needs to see that extra effort does make a difference whether he believed it or not originally.  This will aid him when he has challenges in his career and his personal life.

Listen to this TED talk about how grit was the determining factor for success in many different arenas.

Barking Up the Wrong Tree has another great post HERE about increasing self-control and willpower.

4) Believe in Your Children
We cannot agree more. If you believe your student is capable of more, you will push and ask for more.  This, in turn, will create a better student as she also will believe she can do more.  Don’t be in a hurry to move on.  Wait and let your child prove to you she can do it.  Children absorb what we tell them – good and bad.  They really hear you when you say, ‘I KNOW you can do it.”  And better yet, they believe you.

Read the other tips and rest of this article HERE.