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Study Groups Help Children Learn and Parents Have Insight Into Their School Lives

22 Oct 2014 – 10:31 AM EDT

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For more than one generation “studying together” is often code for going somewhere to make-out or more with a school crush. Thus when kids want to participate in study groups, parents’ eyebrows often rise in suspicion. It seems with the internet and technology, kids should be able to do all the studying they want from the comfort (read: safety) of their bedrooms.

While this is purely a “gut” feeling, it seems to me as if my generation of parents are far more protective of our children than ours were or we would have ever tolerated at their age. Still there are numerous benefits to study groups and not all of them are academic.

Okay, there is some learning going on

Study groups are good for children for a myriad of academic reasons. There are of course the almost self-evident ones, which are that your kids will learn— through their interactions in the small group— how other kids approach learning. This can help them find other avenues to information they may not have previously known about. It also creates a sense of camaraderie when they see other kids can struggle with homework too.

But, there has to be room for fun

Another benefit to study groups is that kids can see it as a way to think about doing school work without a sense of looming dread. While you will want to monitor things and keep them focused on the tasks at hand, allowing them a few minutes to blow off steam or be silly with each other can help make this a “working time” that feels like fun.

You’ll learn more about their school than you might otherwise

In listening to the children discuss various subjects in their study groups, you will be able to better evaluate whether or not their in-classroom experience is satisfactory. Are your kids learning the subjects they are studying or simply how to pass a test? In a sense you will get to witness your child and his or her friends employing the skills they are (or should be) learning in the classroom. It’s the next best thing to sitting in on a class, but lessens the “embarrassment factor” as my daughter might say “times a billion.”

You’ll learn more about your kids and their friends than you might otherwise

I am always very curious to watch how my daughter interacts with other kids her own age. I like to see if I spy a little of my influence or her mother’s in certain mannerisms she picks up or jokes she makes. Study groups give you one of the best ways to really pay attention to this. Simply by listening in on them studying, you can get a sense of the inner-workings of their relationships and how they perform under stress with particularly tough assignments. What you might do with that information is another topic entirely, but there is no such thing about knowing “too much” about your children and their friends.