SCHOOL PAYS OFF!
Many children understand the importance of school and learning, but many just don’t. Students who don’t study or do homework are often referred to as underachievers. They simply don’t work to their abilities in school.
“Sometimes it’s difficult to convince
Sometimes it’s difficult to convince children that there’s a problem ahead for those who don’t study and do homework. By fourth or fifth grade, many children believe it’s “cool” not to do their schoolwork. They complain that school is boring, or the more sophisticated may describe it as “irrelevant.” Their music, computer games, or social life take precedence over their studies. They refer to kids who study too much as “nerds” or “dweebs.” They may fight their parents’ and teachers’ efforts to convince them that studying and doing homework will make a positive difference for them for the rest of their life.
Although financial gain should not be the main goal oflearning, economic security is important for success. The figure on the right may help you to convince your children that there’s money and success to be had if they get a good education. Furthermore, they’re less likely to be unemployed. Cumulatively, over a lifetime, the more education students get, the more total money they are likely to earn. For some students I work with, I remind them that “the nerds of today will own the Lambroghinis of tomorrow.”
Even more convincing information on the value of school learning comes from a study of high school dropouts. Among those students who did not earn a diploma, the more time they spent in school, the more income they earned. The study showed that the time spent in school could have been earlier entrance to kindergarten or a few weeks or months more in high school; the more school, the more their income. For parents and teachers, this should be a clear message to encourage their students to persist even if grades are low. Education plays a valuable part in lifelong success. No student should drop out of high school, and most students should set goals for technical school or some college work.
A recent Carnegie Report1 comments on the huge problem of underachievement:
HOW MUCH STUDY TIME?
Your children’s teachers can provide the best guideline for how much time you can expect children to do homework and study. My research on the childhoods of successful women found that during elementary school, their average amount of daily study time was 45 minutes. By middle school years, that increased to 90 minutes a day, and by high school, their average time was two hours. Incidentally, it was not surprising to find that those who studied more graduated higher in their classes, while those groups who studied less graduated at lower ranks. Studying does make a difference. If teachers don’t actually assign homework, ten or fifteen minutes of writing stories or math facts will reinforce children’s learning and teach them good habits that will make a difference for them.
“Turn the television off
All students, even primary school youngsters, should have a desk or table in a quiet place at home to do homework and study. Turn the television off until homework is done so your children won’t be tempted by the tube. Furthermore, as parents, you won’t find yourself having to nag your kids if you’ve established a good routine. Remember that it’s important to foster independence in encouraging your children to do homework. You shouldn’t have to sit by their sides as they work, but be available for occasional questions or to look over their work.
Kids who are reasonably organized are more likely to take pride in their work and turn that work in to their teachers on time. However, children don’t automatically know how to organize themselves. Teachers often provide some tips to students, but parents may have to reinforce those. Kids do need a regular assignment notebook to remember their assignments. Sometimes they’re even quite inventive in designing their own approaches. For more ideas on how to help children develop good study habits, parents and teachers will find the following two books helpful: Why Bright Kids Get Poor Grades And What You Can Do About It (Crown Publishing, 1995) and Dr. Sylvia Rimm’s Smart Parenting (Crown Publishing, 1996)
1The Carnegie Corporation of New York, (1996). Years of Promise: A Comprehensive Learning Strategy for America’s Children. Executive Summary, New York: Carnegie Task Force on Learning.
2Alan Krueger, Ph.D., Princeton University “Conference on Human Capital Investment From Infancy to Adolescence,” June 6, 1997 Sponsored by the National Academy of Sciences
©2011 by Sylvia B. Rimm. All rights reserved. This publication, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without written permission of the author.