Remember the times you sat down in class and the teacher said, “Take out a piece of paper. We’re going to have a pop quiz!” Waves of panic flooded your body as you stared at that blank sheet of paper. Even when you were confident about what you learned – there was something about a pop quiz – a test- that could rattle the best of us. Our kids are no different. And they take a lot more tests than we ever did.
Here are some things you can do as parents and grandparents, to help your kids get ready for test time.
- Be sure they know what they’re studying. Be sure your child understands what they’re studying and not just reciting ‘answers’. Be graceful as you gauge their level of understanding. No interrogation allowed. Some casual conversation about the topic should give you a good sense of how they’re doing. Get them to tell you stories about what they’ve learned. Have them ‘teach’ you.
- Draw things out. This kind of drawing doesn’t require any major artistic talent. And it’s not about the drawing. It’s about using images to help your child learn. Encourage them to write out spelling words and add pictures. Diagram the parts of a flower or the branches of government. Whatever the subject – drawing it out helps clarify any confusion, cements understanding and helps children recall information more effectively.
- Study in shorter sessions. Everyone needs a break now and then, but the length of time a child can study is directly related to his or her age and learning style. Rather than expecting one long study session, break the study time into several shorter sessions. Get a feel for how long your child can stay focused in study. Whether its 10 or 20 minutes- let them take short breaks to move around – so they can get back to the task at hand successfully.
- Keep it fun. No one is excited about test time. So while it is serious business, you can do a lot to lighten the mood and make study fun. Be creative. Make up songs about the people, places and things they’re studying. Make funny sentences with vocabulary words. Draw, bake or make things that demonstrate concepts and help memorize facts and figures.
Know that whatever ways you find to help your child study will reap huge dividends. It’s never about any one test. Life is all about learning and we all have to know how to press in until we get it.