I can hardly believe we now have a child in high school. It hasn’t been the easiest of rides so far, but the road is gradually beginning to smooth and the bumps are becoming fewer, which is a huge relief. High school has been a major change for us all; we’ve been so used the relaxed nature of a primary school with very little homework, and I’m not sure if that’s an entirely good thing after all. The level of homework has been a shock to us all, and the end of year exams are now placing the pressure firmly down on our shoulders to say the least. The school are excellent at keeping parents involved with the teaching and learning goals for the kids, and we recently attended a revision meeting that left us with no doubt as to the importance they’re placing on the exams that are looming. As parents, we’re facing a new challenge- we need to make sure our eldest has the confidence, skills and application to sit down and revise for her exams, but at the some time we want to ensure that she remains cool, calm and relaxed as much as she can. I don’t want my 12 year old becoming stressed over her results, but I do want to help her do her best. This is what they mean when they say parenting is a constant juggling act, isn’t it? Here are my five revision tips for parents- let me know what you think.
Get a wall planner
My husband is the king of wall planners. Whenever I get stressed with work and have too many deadlines looming, he always cracks out the post it notes to make me one of his famous planners- and it never fails to help. Organisation is not my strong point, but it’s essential when it comes to revision. The revision wall planner is so simple and has helped our daughter to get her head around what she needs to do and when. All we’ve done is stick post it notes on the office wall: one for each day of her exams, and underneath those, another with the subject of the exam. This has helped to create a visual guide of what exams she has coming up, so that she can move along the planner with her revision. You don’t have to use post it notes, of course, as long as you have a planner that you can all look at and know what exams are coming up and what revision needs doing.
Get a timetable
Once we had the planner in place, we set up a timetable for daily revision. I used a document on my mac, but you could just use a piece of paper and a pen if you wanted to. We used our planner to create a realistic timetable, in blocks of no longer than two hours each day. We decided to focus on revision for the first set of exams, with shorter slots for the last set of exams, which she’ll build on as each exam passes. Our process isn’t really important; the main point of this tip is that you get a timetable that works for your child and covers all the topics that need to be covered.
Make it fun
Boredom is a curse and often goes hand in hand with subjects your child isn’t that enamoured with. Sadly, it seems near impossible to make some topics fun and even more impossible to convince my daughter they can be even slightly interesting! This makes revision hard work. A lot depends on her being able to sit down and motivate herself, especially if I’m busy with the little ones. I don’t want to be breathing over her shoulder either! We discovered that Education Quizzes can be an excellent way to boost her confidence, help with focus and keep her going when the going gets tough.
If your child is anything like mine, the competitive element of the quizzes is going to work a treat! It makes sense to us to extend the revision onto the screen because pens and paper aren’t always the answer for older kids- technology is a huge part of their lives, after all. As parents, we wanted to make revision as interesting and ‘fun’ as we could, to motivate and inspire her to do as well as possible, and these quizzes are
excellent for that. I love that they are short and easy to navigate and can be used as a way to test out what’s been learnt independently at the end of each revision session. If you don’t want to stump up the cost for subscription yourself, grab an army of parent friends and let your child’s school know- there are significant reductions for educational settings and kids can access the subscription on any device- phone, iPad, computer etc.
Take breaks and take it slowly
Don’t try to cram it all it at once, and don’t expect your child to want to sit at their desk all evening either. Would you want to? Make sure your child is taking regular breaks, and if you’ve planned out your workload and timetable already you can make sure the expectations aren’t too much.
As parents, we want the best for our kids and when it comes to exams we can definitely feel the pressure. One of the best things we were told was to forget everything we knew about high school and to not allow our own experiences to cloud our fears or expectations for our own kids. Personally, I was never fazed by exams, but this doesn’t mean my child won’t be. Likewise, if exams stressed you out as a child, don’t let this anxiety transfer. Stay calm, collected and confident and hopefully your attitude will rub off.
What are your top tips for helping kids though revision?
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