6 Study Habits to Teach Homeschool Children

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Homeschooled children have huge advantages in many areas of their education, but a lot of children find themselves in shock when they are studying in a traditional setting (such as a co-op or higher education). For example, they may find tests, pop-quizzes,and research tasks intimidating because they have little experience with these academic requirements.

Luckily, with a few simple tips and opportunities to practice, any child can be taught to study effectively. These skills will benefit the child not only in a traditional school environment, but also throughout life.

Note Taking

When I was homeschooled, I almost never took notes because lectures were not a part of my education at home. Now that I'm a homeschool mom, I don't use lecturing at all with my children. But there are plenty of opportunities to practice and teach note taking skills: watching an educational documentary, listening to a speaker at a homeschool convention, or viewing the President's State of the Union Address. Instruct children how to identify key phrases, vocabulary words, facts, and main ideas in a speech. Ask them to create a test from their notes so they gain insight on the teacher's task and are better test takers themselves. 

Research and Fact Finding

I work with kids between 3rd and 5th grade, and research skills are lacking across the board in this age group no matter how a child is educated. However, research is one of the most important study skills a student needs in both higher education and in life.

6 Study Habits to Teach Homeschool ChildrenShow your children how to use an appendix, glossary, index, table of contents, and other parts of a book (or textbook) to find the facts they need. The Usborne books in your Reading with History and Science programs are perfect for this kind of activity! Have drills to increase fluency with this task and add a spirit of friendly competition.

Equally important to finding information in books is the ability to find and assess information online. Teach children how to identify keywords that are likely to produce the best search results. For example, if they want to know the various life stages of a butterfly, they could type butterfly life cycle into a search engine. Then compare the different pages offered in the search results to evalute which ones are more reliable sources.

For peace of mind, parents can implement safe search parental controls to prevent adult content from popping up during searches. Older kids need to be taught how to evaluate sources and avoid fake news.


I am surprised at the number of students who don’t know how to skim—an essential skill for faster study. Often the first and last sentences in a paragraph will contain the essential information of that paragraph. Bolded words, end-of-chapter summaries, and sidebar content also pinpoint the most essential information. Teach your children how to selectively highlight essential passages for easier study later.

Fact Memorization

Sometimes the best way to remember is simply to memorize facts. Teach children how to use acronyms, silly songs, or flashcard challenges to memorize facts.

Good Study Habits

Provide a time each day for your children (from about 4th grade up) to study alone using the techniques you showed them. Show children the importance of complete focus and daily study techniques.


Learning to summarize is essential for essays and tests. If a child can’t state a summary of the concept, then she hasn’t mastered the facts. After each assignment, have children try to summarize what they have learned. This is particularly helpful for reading assignments and is something integrated into your BookShark lessons.

No matter where a child is learning, learning effective study habits will improve grades, make school less stressful, and help children remember their work.

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About the Author

Brenda Priddy

Brenda is a professional writer and homeschooling mother to two girls in Dallas, TX, with a passion for books, DIY, and creative education. Her blog, Schooling a Monkey, is all about homeschooling, crafts, green living, and fun. Keep up with the fun here!