Why Grades Really Matter
The obvious reason grades matter is because you need good grades in order to get into college or graduate school. But there is another, more important reason that good grades matter. Becoming an “A” student changes you, and you are a different person as an “A” student than you are as a “C” student. You grow along the way.
In order for you to get that “A”, you will probably have to overcome some hurdles and challenges. You will have to develop will-power and self-discipline. Instead of partying with your friends, you may find yourself staying in and studying. Instead of sleeping in on the weekends, you may find yourself getting up early so that you can study before you go to work. You may also find yourself asking for help or working with a study group. Most mostly, you will have to manage your time better, because earning “A’s”, for most people, takes more time. If you were aiming for a “C” grade, you might not have to make these choices. But once you decide you want that “A”, you are “raising the bar” for yourself and bringing your game to a higher level.
The beauty of earning “A’s”, is that once you know how to earn an “A” and excel in one area of your life, you can do it in other areas of your life. Because of those “A’s”, you will have the confidence in yourself and your time management skills to let you do well in whatever area you choose, whether that be ballet, sports, writing, music or anything else. You will be thinking and acting like an “A” student.
Homeschoolers Make The Grade
A study published in the Journal of College Admission concluded that homeschool students enjoy higher ACT scores, better grades, and higher graduation rates, compared to other college students. Homeschool students also earn more college credits (14.7) prior to their freshman year than other students (6.0). And, college freshman who were homeschooled finish their first year in college with a higher grade point average -- a 3.37 GPA compared to a 3.08 GPA. They are also more likely to graduate from college -- a 66.7% graduation rate compared to 57.5% for other students.
A former Dean of Admissions for Stanford University described homeschooled students as having “academic vitality” -- a love of learning that makes them highly motivated, self-directed, life-long learners.
Make These Study Techniques A Habit
If you are a homeschool student, it is up to you to take advantage of the educational opportunity you have been given. Take charge of your education. You have the chance to learn at your own pace, learn in the way that works best for you, and master each subject as you go, instead of just racing ahead in order to keep up with the class. Here are some popular study techniques that homeschoolers use. If you make these a part of your daily study habits, you will have no problem getting good grades, because you will thoroughly understand the material.
Tip #1: Do not go on, until you have mastered the material
Make sure you understand the material you are working on, before you go on to the next level. If this means reading a chapter and doing the exercises twice, do it. This will result in you mastering the material as you go along and you will be well prepared for any essays or tests that come later. If you are in the chemistry lab and suddenly everything seems overwhelming, go back to where you were able to understand the material. Most likely, you have taken too big of a step and “bitten off more than you can chew”, so now you just need to go back and start again, this time taking “smaller bites.”
Tip #2: Look up words you don’t know
Whenever you are reading and come across a word you don’t know, stop and look it up. It’s time- consuming, especially when you first start doing it, but it’s worth the effort. An interesting study showed that if you do not stop to look up a word you don’t understand, the pages that come after it might as well be blank, because your brain is not able to take in the information. Experiment for yourself. If you are studying and suddenly find yourself “not getting it,” go back and see if there were any words you didn’t understand. Then take the time to look those words up and you will find that you are now able to understand the material going forward.
Tip #3: Make it tangible
If you find that you are not able to understand something, it often helps if you can draw it out. For example, if you are studying history and it all seems like a big blur, draw it out on paper, showing how one event or person led to another. If you don’t have paper handy, you can use pennies. Just anything to get the information out of your head and turned into something you can see and touch. You’ll be amazed how well this works.
Tip #4: First things first
“First things first”, sounds grandmotherly, but it’s actually a good rule. If you put off studying until later in the day, odds are you will get too busy or become too tired to get it done. But if you get your studying done early in the day, it will be done and you won’t have to worry or stress about it. If you study fi rst thing every day, it will become a habit and you will do it automatically, without having to think about it.
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is that grades matter because you want to think of yourself as a powerful “A” student. This will give you the confidence to dream big and set challenging goals for yourself, because you will know in your heart that you have the staying power to achieve them.
I still say the only education worth anything is self-education.
- Robert Frost
Rebecca Kochenderfer, M.A., is Senior Editor and Co-Founder of Homeschool.com, the #1 homeschooling site on the Internet, with over two million visitors a year. She is also the author of two popular homeschooling books: Homeschooling and Loving It and Homeschooling For Success.
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