Parents of schoolchildren all face the daunting task of reviewing our children for exams at least four times every year, so we know that it’s not exactly one of their favorite activities. Usually the parent expects the child to know the lesson by heart, while the child expects more patience from his parent. Most parents I’ve interviewed admit how frustrating this scenario could become, so how can we make study time less of a hassle and more fun both for parent and child?
1. Pick a time and place that is conducive for studying. A place that is free from distractions like toys, gadgets and noise is ideal. Make sure that your child is not hungry or sleepy either, and that the room has just the right temperature.
2. Consider the child’s learning style. In the same manner that people are born with different abilities, our learning styles differ as well. It is said that there are three learning styles in all: auditory, where a person retains information that he hears; visual, in which case it is best to use things that they see; and tactile, where a person’s sense of touch is most receptive. If your child is the auditory learner, simplify the lesson by reading to him the highlights. On the other hand, use pictures or things around the house to illustrate a point if your child is the visual type. Allow the tactile type to explore other modes of learning like drawing or role playing so that he can grasp ideas more easily.
3. Study the more difficult lessons first. When the mind is fresh, it can process ideas and remember them better. Prioritize lessons which your child finds most challenging, since these would require more time to study. Once that is done, going through the easier subjects will be a breeze.
4. Make a reviewer if time permits. The purpose of the reviewer is to weed out the unnecessary details and highlight the important points. It also helps shorten the study time. Initially the parents can do these, but as the kids grow they can adapt the same practice. Since it requires them to read the lesson first, then compress the idea in shorter form (e.g., bullet points), the repetition will help them remember the lesson better.
5. Take 15-minute breaks in between. The brain needs to rest every once in a while, so give your kid a short break periodically. He will come back rejuvenated and better prepared for the rest of the study session.
6. Remember to have fun. Come up with crazy acronyms for things that need to be memorized, as in ROYGBIV to memorize the colors of the rainbow. Or you can come up with a song or a tune to help your child remember a phrase. As with anything, studying becomes easier when you are having fun.