The Importance of Study Skills

The fall term is only a few weeks away, and your student may already be nervous. Whether due to high school credits, standardized tests, dual credit classes, or his normal homeschool workload, this year is quickly shaping up to be a lot of work! Well, here’s some great news to alleviate those nerves: incorporating study skills into your homeschool routine will help your student not only retain all the information he’s learning, but increase his chances of high test scores and a great GPA. Here are some study skills to start working on this month:

Active Listening

This is where every homeschool mom laughs and says: “Listening? MY kids?!” Active listening doesn’t come naturally–especially to many teens. Yet to succeed in college and career, active listening must be learned and practiced.

Active listening requires engaging with the speaker, usually a lecturer, by looking for the main ideas and concepts expressed. Students who take notes (discussed in the next point) will find listening much easier to accomplish because they know for what they are listening. Active listening also requires feedback. Teach your student to get comfortable with asking questions and approaching authority figures—like future professors—to get answers if he doesn’t understand a topic.


Notetaking is a skill which, once learned, is not soon forgotten. It is useful for all of life! There are many different methods of note taking, but the most recommended method for college students is the Cornell Method, briefly described in this article:

Notetaking is an excellent way to increase the retention rate for material. Since retention rates for lectures can be as low as 5% of the material discussed, taking good notes—and reviewing them—guarantees the student actually learns from what is presented.

This article from Pepperdine University describes additional ways to improve retention:


The third component to effective study is review. Students should review their notes and materials within 24 hours of consuming it. This allows the facts to assimilate in their minds and make connections with the pictures, phrases, and concepts they’ll need to recall for exams.

Study skills make a great practice for a homeschool summer. They don’t take a lot of work to implement and can easily be integrated into a light summer curriculum.

Let us know your favorite study skill resources by emailing [email protected] or posting on our Facebook group here.