Revision can be tough for both parents and children when exams are looming. Children may find it hard to stay motivated and parents will often get tired of constantly nagging them to get work done. But there are ways mums and dads can get involved that will help ensure the advice they’re giving isn’t going in one ear and coming out the other.

Here are some tips to help:

1.Identify how your child best enjoys learning: Identifying if your child is a kinaesthetic, auditory or visual (KAV) learner and then revising within a learners’ KAV PREFERENCE can yield remarkable results.

  • Kinaesthetic learners enjoy learning by movement, such as gestures, dancing, counting fingers or even acting.
  • Auditory learners retain information best through sound, including songs, chants and listening to recordings.
  • Visual learners will learn best through picture stories, shapes, mind maps and even paintings. Your child will need help figuring out what methods would work best for them and keep them focused.

2. Get them to ‘sell’ it to you: It’s all well and good seeing your children’s faces buried in textbooks or furiously scribbling out notes, but sometimes the best way is for them to tell you what they’ve learned. Explaining historic events, justifying why Steinbeck was a fantastic writer or showing off a maths theorem are all great ways to use verbal reasoning to deepen retention of ideas. Get your children to sell their newly-learned facts to you and ask them probing questions to make them think.

3. YouTube it: The majority of children will be familiar with and enjoy spending time on YouTube. Why not search for short educational videos or documentaries online which focus on what they have been studying.  For example watching flower pollination through a vibrant, witty animation is much more fun than reading about it. However you must closely monitor whatever your children are doing online. 

 4. Learn with them: Why not read through their revision books and see what has changed since your time in primary school. You’d be surprised and intrigued by how much is new. This will allow you to discuss specific points and engage in a shared learning experience. Learning with your child could also involve helping them to make flash cards and testing them on questions – the more involvement from you, the more likely they are to stay focused. 

5. Mix things up: One of the most important things is to ensure your child has the resources to avoid revision being dull. Encourage your child to make notes, to highlight key points and words and to go over each topic several times. The more active and interactive the revision is, the more likely the information is to stick. The least effective method of learning is just reading the information through, over and over again; only marginally less effective is copying it out.

6. Find an engaging place for your child to study:  Will they be distracted by the TV if they’re trying to revise in the living room? Will there be too many temptations in their bedroom if they’re sitting on the bed? Work with your child to find out the best place for them to study, ideally somewhere quiet. Ensure that they have all the materials and resources they need, so no time is wasted searching for things.

7. Praise, praise and more praise: Revising is no fun for anyone, so whether you have to nag them to revise or not, always give them praise when they are working hard. Small rewards can be a real incentive to work. Also don’t forget to give them wind down time – sleeping well and for long enough to feel rested will help thinking and concentration. Keeping children up until 11pm supposedly revising then waking them up again at 5am is in no way helping the child. It will actually be having a negative effect on the child.

8. Cut them some slack: Not so much of a revision technique (but definitely something parents can do to ease the load on their children) is to be flexible. When your child is revising don’t worry about household jobs that are left undone or untidy bedrooms. If they’re a bit moody, stay calm yourself. Remember, exams don’t last forever.

9. Break up their revision time into small chunks: Rather than having your child sit down to revise with no structure, ask them before each “session” what they are going to do in that hour/afternoon. Get them to identify the bits they know and the bits they need to spend time on. They should know their aim for the session as well as briefly revisiting the notes they’ve previously gone through. Ask them to start each session with the hardest bit first so you get it over with first.

10. Get the whole family involved: For a short period it’s great to get all family members involved in helping your child revise. This could include sticking up colourful posters or notes around the house (especially for rote learning) and family quizzes during dinner times.

11. Map their progress: If your child is overwhelmed with the amount of different topics they need to revise, making a visual plan of what they’ve done and what they’ve got to do could be helpful. Make a map with all the main areas they need to revise written out. Tick them off when they complete each area. This is a great way to map how much progress is being made and celebrate each tiny achievement.

So now that we have some tips from experienced people in the field, our children’s revision examinations should not be a nightmare for parents and students alike. Primary school education is not rocket science & you will be amazed at what your children know.

Good luck as you try out these tips.

SOURCES: ARTICLES BY LORRAE JADERBERG (Co-founder JK Educate); VARIOUS TUTORS (Action Tutoring); ANN-MARIE O’LEARY (Editor-in- chief Netmums); PETER DAZELEY & WILLIE B. THOMAS. Articles in the Huffington Post.

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