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Why the Smartest Kids Don’t Always Get the Best Grades… and Vice Versa

When you were growing up, where you one of those kids who studied every night and diligently started your research projects the night they were assigned?

Usually the kids who started early and put the most work into a project would receive the best grades and the ones who threw something together the night before the project was due, wouldn’t.

This has nothing to do with a student’s basic I.Q.– it’s a matter of being organized, giving yourself a lot of time to do the project, and being aware of the work that’s required. It’s more of a recipe for success than an indicator or anyone’s intelligence.

And that’s what good study habits are. They are a recipe for getting better grades no matter what type of student your child is, whether he or she is in Advanced Algebra or Remedial English. Everyone can use a little more organization.

But let’s go back to those super smart kids. You’d expect them to get straight A’s, right?

That’s not always the case. Even “super smart” kids need to get and stay organized.

When our oldest son started middle school, all of a sudden he had a bunch of different teachers and notebooks for each class. I had to buy him a bigger backpack that would hold all of his notebooks! (no lie, this is the one we got)

It would be hard for anyone to keep that much information organized. And then we discovered that he was just shoving his new homework in with his old papers and notes and would A. forget to do it, and B., forget to hand it in even if he did do it.

This resulted in a lot of B’s and C’s and even D’s. And a lot of frustration and yelling on our end because he does have the wherewithal to be an excellent student.

So he would promise to get better grades, and he would try harder for awhile, but his method was so awful that no matter how much effort he would put into getting better grades, he simply couldn’t. It’s like if  you want to lose weight and go on a diet but you don’t know good nutrition habits. You can cut down candy and sweets but if you’re still eating McDonald’s for lunch, you might lose a pound here or there, but you aren’t really going to shed those extra pounds.

Just like you’ve got to change your eating habits if you want to lose weight, you’ve got to change your study habits if you want to get better grades and be more successful in school.

Now the crazy thing is that most kids in middle school don’t even have study habits. They do their homework. That’s it.

Study habits are just that, study habits. According to Wikipedia, a habit is “a routine of behavior that is repeated regularly and tends to occur unconsciously.” When we had a consultation at a major tutoring center, we were told that our son should be studying an extra TWO HOURS each night in addition to doing his homework. That sounds crazy, doesn’t it? Plus, at the time, I didn’t even know what he could possibly do for two hours in addition to his homework!

Frankly, I still don’t. But, it was an eye-opening experience to think about studying in addition to homework. And it was eye-opening to realize that when a student adds “studying” to his daily routine instead of just doing “homework,” that’s when he starts to develop study habits, something he does regularly.

When our son started doing things regularly, like looking at what homework is going to be assigned in the week ahead, and going over his math notes each night, that’s when he started acquiring study habits.

And we started seeing improvement really quickly. You will be absolutely amazed at how quickly your child can develop a routine and expect to see the results that come with it.

Of course, there will be some setbacks along the way… it takes awhile for something to become a habit. But no matter where your student falls on the IQ scale, these habits will always lead to success.