Date: March 2, 2016
How do you help your kids to prepare for his exams?
- Must not be too much burden to parents
- Initiative, Self-motivate & Self-learning
- Plenty of fun
Preparing your kid for exams, i.e. CA1 can stressful or fun. It all depends on how you want it to be, and most importantly what your kid wants. Since last year, I have adopted a completely new strategies for Jay Jay. And finally I see it working for him this year.
He just finished his CA1 last week, and I am quite satisfy with what he has achieved. And clearly, he also realised it himself.
Here are some of the pointers I think it is important to contribute to Jay Jay’s little success story in this CA1.
Setting aims is very important. We told Jay Jay that we will be happy if he is top 25% of the level. We don’t want him to be No. 1, or No.3 but we simply says we will be happy if he gets into top 25% of the whole level. And every year, those who make it to the top 25% of the level, will received a letter or certificate from MOE. Setting such target does not gives a lot of pressures. Because you just need to be keep doing your best (of yourself) to stay where you are. This will certainly not going to make student feel any pressure.
Jay’s set his own target. He wants to scores so that he can remain in the top 2 classes in school level. Which is what he has achieved in P3 and P4. Next year, they are going to split the class again, and his aim is simply to remain in these 2 class.
No After School Enrichment Classes
Both myself and my wife are working. We cannot simply fork out so much time to sent the kids to enrichment classes. There are those who will help the kids to excel. But as long as you don’t set a high target or huge aim, your kid will survive with no enrichment classes. Again, it will be too taxing on parents if we have to drive the kids to enrichment classes. So, since long time ago, we have drop this idea. We sort of embrace the idea that whatever the school teaches is enough for Jay Jay to handle the exams. So, by doing so, you have very very happy parents. Because we don’t sent them to enrichment classes in the week. Except for Wednesday, Piano (music) lessons and Taekwondo lessons and sparring.
Jay’s Chinese Tutor
Jay has a Chinese tutor at home who will make sure Jay knows how to read all his text book. I shared this in my previous blog where, the Chinese tutor records his reading on the text book and make sure Jay can read, knows the words and characters. He also sometimes will teach Jay how to write composition. Besides that, he does not give any paper home work to Jay Jay. Jay Jay likes him because there is no paper home work, but every day, he is required to listen to the recordings of reading the text book and learn the text book this way. Fun, isn’t it?
The kids has to learn that doing home work after school is their responsibility. It is good that this year Jay Jay’s class name is “Responsibility 2”. The word Responsibility means a lot to the kids. Studying is their responsibility. They study for their own good. One thing to make it clear is they do not study for their parents. I blogged about doing the To-Do list when Jay and Kay are in P1. And it does not take long to make that a routine. When they come home, they will need to know what home work they need to do, and try to finish the home work. They will packed their bags. Then, we can go into play mode, like playing iPads and board games. That is the routines. I am so glad that we have managed to make them do their own homework, learn their own spellings. It comes to the time that we don’t even give them mock up spelling test any more.
The kids are very motivated when parents received a “Full Marks” in spelling message from the Class Dojo apps sent by the teachers. And that continues drives the kid to do their own homework.
Starting last year, I subscribed to Superstar Teachers. http://www.superstarteacher.com.sg. It is not a cheap subscriptions. But it does the purpose I want. I want Jay Jay to study on his own, not only from the school materials, but also from various other sources.
I actually asked Jay to run the Superstar teachers video lessons on his iPads and projected it onto the big screen TV. This is when parents need to be “totally stupid” to ask questions to your kid pretending that you don’t know most part of it.
My Jay Jay feel so proud to teach me his Science. Remember, the most effective way of learning is to be able to teach other people the same topic. So, before the Science exam, we actually watch all the Superstar Teachers’ videos. I was surprise that most of the topic I am not familiar with. May be because that I failed Biology when I was young? hahaha
The kid not only have to be self-initiative, they have to be exposed to various method to learn too. One of such method is using the Flash cards. Copy down important points and then tomorrow during breakfast time, review the flash cards again. For example after watching each topic of the Superstar teachers video, I ask him to jot down the notes on a flash card.
Don’t forget that MC Online as well as those E-Learning tools the school gave. There are pretty good stuff in there too. Jay will do those lessons and exercises.
Learning With Friends
In my opinion, Science is a very hard topic. So, sometimes the most effective ways to learn it is to learn together with friends. We are very grateful to have his best friend’s parent to revise Science topics with him and his friends together from time to time. This will print the Science concepts into their mind “permanently”. The important part is they are having fun in a close group to learn things together. Within smaller groups, they will ask more questions. As oppose to be in class, some time they don’t have the luxury to ask the questions to teacher.
No Assessment Book
We gave Jay Jay the decisions what to buy from Popular Book Store. This year, we didn’t buy any assessment book. Interesting. I know, assessment book is important to learn different kinds of questions the exam might ask. The school has a lot of homework for P4, and we simply don’t want to load up too much of his time too. And, Jay Jay is the one who set his own target, so, we let him decide whether he needs to buy assessment book or not. So, for this CA1, zero assessment book. zero pass years paper. All revisions are based on school worksheets, MC Online.
Plenty of Play Time
Jay Jay is still in Primary school. It suppose to be fun. They are not like working adults, they don’t need to study from day to night. So, let them have fun with friends and have lots of playdates so that kids are happy all the time.
Having a “happy mind” to take exam is very important.
So, as for my style, I always let Jay have a good 30min or more time each day to play his iPad games.
And because his mind is cleared by playing games. He feels less stress. And thus, the next day, he perform well in exam. And it never failed. 🙂
One more thing.
Prepare the Exam Early
Oh ya. 1-2 weeks before, I will spent time to go thru all his text books. By going thru the text book, as parent, we know what they are learning. And we use our best knowledge to teach them on things they are not sure about. And we can ask questions so that we test how our kids explain what they know to us.
This sort of experience is amazing. And I have actually done this 2 weeks before. So that we can identify where is the weakness and want Jay to go find answers after the revisions. It will help a lot.
So, this proves that the kids are able to learn on their own. Set their own targets and decides what scores they want to get. This is their destiny. This is their decisions and the more power you give to the kid the better the kid will perform in a natural way. This kind of foundation is important to be planted as early as possible. If you success to plant this foundation, the easier life you will get when the kid goes to secondary school or university.
Having said this, there are some weakness cannot be solved immediately this year, so, you will lay the foundation so that he can hopefully solve it next year. For example, composition, both Chinese and English, are tough. So, I better thing of some ways to improve it. Will share again.