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Helping Children with Revision

by Mariella Camilleri, for kidsmalta.com
Whether your child sails through the year or not exam revision is important. Foundation is the key and it is vital that we get children from an early age to polish off their skills in academic subjects to prevent future problems when the load increases and the work becomes more challenging. Reinforcing all that children learn at school before the exams is beneficial for them, because they will sit for their examinations in a confident manner.
Of course revising with a six year old child is not as challenging as revising with older children but it is important to get into good habits. Schools encourage daily revision especially when it comes to older children, still young children are encouraged from an early age to get into the habit of reading, this improves their writing and spelling skills. No amount of vocabulary revision will yield the same results as daily reading in both Maltese and English.
When it comes to dealing with study subjects, like History, Geography, Science and Religion or Social Studies, it is important to revise the new topic at least twice during the academic year and in this way when the mid yearly or annual revision approaches most of the hard work will be done. It is important that children learn to study alone especially when it comes to study subjects, of course you can help by quizzing the child about the topics, don’t forget to compliment them when they get the answer right - children strive on compliments, it builds their self esteem and makes learning more fun.
If your child is forgetful, try and provide other ways of making him or her remember, riddles are a perfect example. Sometimes children learn through drawings, experiment and you will find ways that help your child to concentrate and remain interested. Prepare a timetable to help the child stay focused but never force the child to stick to it if  he or she wants to plan it another way.
Organising is a sign of maturity and should be welcomed. If your child needs to be reminded constantly and has short attention span  it might be good to give the child  breaks between one subject and the next and go for plenty of short revision spans rather than a study marathon.
Only remind your children of the importance of examinations if they are taking them too lightly. When tempted to apply pressure on your child, keep in mind that if they feel anxious they might panic - this could result in under performance.
Don’t be tempted to interfere- methods used twenty years ago could be outdated. The way children are taught mathematics has changed, so if you don’t understand the new method, don’t try to pass on your way of tackling a sum, because this is a sure way of confusing the child. Before you try to help the child find out the methods used and only if you understand the method should you attempt to help.  If the new  method confuses you and your child seems to have a problem understanding it send a note to the child’s teacher asking her to explain the concept again, most teachers would rather repeat an explanation then have the child confused further with older, outdated methods.
Give them the peace and quiet at home. Don’t have your friends round for tea or have younger siblings running around causing distraction. If help is available take it- let someone mind your younger child to provide a peaceful environment suitable for concentration. Make yourself available for any support the child might need. Knowing you are there for them helps the child to stay focused. Prepare the right food which can keep their energy levels high enough to aid concentration. Also make sure that they are sleeping enough and not going to bed too late. Studying well into the night is bound to do more harm than good, so make sure they are getting at least ten hours of sleep.
Finally bear in mind the exams are a way of assessing your child’s ability academically and while it is rewarding to see your child excel at everything it is ok to accept that most of us have our strengths and weaknesses. Compliment their efforts and their achievements. Reminding them that this stressful period is short lasted and that it will be over in a few weeks will help children stay motivated and help them ride through the tide.

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