So how do you take good notes? Just write down everything the teacher writes. Well sort of but good note taking takes work. Note taking is a skill and the better your homeschooler gets at taking notes the better your academic performance they will have. Let’s take a look at what a great set of notes looks like. Although we are focused on math the concepts I’m taking about in this article apply to any course.
When you take notes you must be neat. Trust me if you’re not neat you will not be able to read your own writing and the effort will be wasted. So if you’re naturally “sloppy” and have poor penmanship you will need to focus extra hard on being neat. I have found the best way to increase my neatness is to slow down when I write so I can focus on producing neat letters and words. At times you may be rushed to take notes because the teacher is going fast so write as neat as possible but focus on writing down what your teacher is saying. After class go back and “neaten up” your notes. Don’t wait too long as you will forget a lot of what your teacher said in the lesson.
Are your notes written on napkins, three-ring paper and post-it’s? If so it’s time to “upgrade” your notes into a work of art. When taking notes I recommend a plain note book with all the paper you need inside- you see these all the time at WalMart for .$99. You should have one notebook per course. Each chapter and section should be clearly labeled so you can quickly identify topics. Try to make your notes so well organized that you could give them to another student and they could learn most of what was taught in the course. You need to have high standards for your notes so ensure you have an easy and effective organization system.
The whole idea behind taking notes is to capture valuable information. Additionally the actual task of note taking is one of the top ways you retain information. Your notes should have most of what the teacher wrote on the board use your judgment if your don’t need to write something down – but if your teacher writes it chances are it belongs in your notes. Pay attention to areas your teacher stresses in the lesson and in your notes and you should place a “star” next to the item so you know your teacher stressed the importance of it. Also listen to what your teacher is saying not just writing. Often times a teacher gives valuable information by just saying something but not writing it. Those students that are paying close attention will benefit from these “gold nuggets” of information as they are often clues for test/quiz questions.
How is your note taking? Remember there is always room for improvement so keep working on your note taking skills the investment will pay off huge!