Our children will only develop strong study skills to the degree that they have developed other strong habits and routines.
We had a rule of thumb for when “school” began in our home: When a child learned to obey and do the every day things required of him, he was ready to “do school.” This was not some half-baked theory we had. We knew that if a child could not be counted on to brush his teeth in the morning, he could not be counted on to do hard math problems. If a child did not come when he was called, he would certainly not follow through on his reading assignments when Mom or Dad was not there checking up on every move he made.
There are certain orders to things that just plain make sense. When we do this, this happens. When we are successful in smaller things, we can be successful in larger things. And on and on—all biblical principles that we see played out in all areas of our lives. Every time we fashioned a part of our life after these principles, we found success. Every time we tried to “put the cart before the horse” in some area, we did not.
In our home, each child got a morning routine chart around the age of three. This picture chart (links for many of these concepts will be given below) tells the child what he needs to do fist thing in the morning. Following through on these task, “reading” a chart and being accountable to Mom all help prepare the child for later “study skills.” Once the child has mastered morning routines consistently, he is ready to move on to “chore time.” Again, we used a picture chart for this.
After the morning routine chart and the chore chart were accomplished, we moved onto daily school charts—charts that showed what the child should do each day in the area of devotions, school, independent work, etc.
Obviously, if you have a five year old in school who doesn’t obey or brush his teeth, you probably do not have the option of going back and only doing these things until they become habitual. However, emphasizing those things, bringing in daily habits a little at a time, etc. will go a long way in helping your child also become a good student. A person who is lazy at home is nearly always lazy at work and at school. It is up to us parents to help our children become successful in life—and in school.