Exam time- more like nightmare time. The pressure is nerve racking, the date sheet stares at you with a menacing glare from atop the fridge and there lies the school bag, sitting in the corner seemingly quite innocent with the tonnes of text books, note books, files, worksheets, projects and other things that surprise you (not in the warm and pleasurable way). The scene: You call your child to explore the given syllabus, flipping back and forth trying to make sense of where which topic is. You ask your child you give you a hand, and he looks back at you with big and helpless eyes.
Alas, it’s what we parents go through time in and time out, regular as clockwork, with the tension heightening near the finals. However, you can make life a little easier for yourself with some simple tips and tricks I’ve picked up over the years:
1. Consistency: Though it is a little late in the game to be saying this, but keeping consistent throughout the school year in regular homework and up to date learning, inclusive of constant previous revision, is the best type of preparation for pending exams. It’s the absolute sure fire method but requires a lot of dedication.
2. Study Place: Ever notice how the kids just won’t settle down for anything peacefully at an overnight bash at your sister’s? It’s all in the environment. I child can be honed into studying with better results if a fixed place and time is allocated to this task. It doesn’t have to be extra fancy. But a dedicated place that is well-lit, organized and free from distractions makes a huge difference.
3. Identify Problem Areas: Most certainly, children will excel at some content over other content. They may be good at grammar but may not be able to do creative writing as well, they could be good at long division, but not that great with mental math. Identifying the weak areas and then concentrating on those will help your child. Ask the child to be honest and identify these areas himself.
4. Co-ordinate with the Teacher: Teachers will often give you great guidelines on where your child needs the extra attention and even tip you in on how to go about and tackle the situation. If you have doubts, set up a meeting.
5. Time Slots: Some children have a tough time sitting it out for an hour or two at a stretch, this is especially true for younger children. Break up tasks in to 10 or 15 minute sessions. Provide a little snack in between sessions. Praise the child and build his or her confidence.
6. Get the whole Family Involved: If there are elder siblings, you can start informal discussions on your child’s subject topics at random. It’s a great way to motivate children and they feel special that they can answer and participate in the conversation. Siblings can also contribute by taking daily readings or help in spellings.
7. Get Interactive: These days there are so many great online sites that provide gamification tools for most subject matter taught at school. Used properly, these can aid your child to understand concepts faster and more effectively. However do not underestimate the power of your old-fashioned flash cards and other little creative activities that you can do. Here is one inter active site to try out:
My own page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/youngislamicminds
8. Study Group: Invite a friend and have a little pop quiz… they’ll love it. Have a reading competition, the more kids read out loudly, the more they will recall. Keep popcorn and ice-cream handy. It’ll give you a chance to clear doubts with the other mom as well.
9. Balance: Do not forget they are just kids, let them play, ensure a proper diet and plenty of sleep. Do not let them feel that test scores define who they are and how smart they are. Tell them they are so much more, but they must try their best to do well.
It’s naive to assume that children will do well on their own. At this stage when kids are so young, you- the parent- are pivotal to how the child does in his or her assessment/ test/ exam. Be supportive, try to keep your cool (you know what I’m talking about), take time-outs and try to make it enjoyable.
Here is a dua to read: