As we approach the close of the academic year, whether in preparation for GCSEs, SATs or end of year assessments, Everton Academy boys will all need to engage in some form of revision at home. Parents, siblings and host families can play a big part in providing the motivation to learn, revise and achieve. This month, the Education Department offers advice on how to support your son through this busy period.
‘Parental involvement in children’s education from an early age has a significant effect on educational achievement, and continues to do so into adolescence and adulthood.’ (DCSF, 2008)
You don’t need to be a mathematician or well-versed on the intricacies of 19th Century literature to be able to help with your son’s revision. Being available to listen to your son explain storylines, scientific concepts or even recite verb lists is a great support – all you need to do is read from their revision notes and confirm that they have retained the knowledge. This is also a fun way of involving siblings and other family members in the learning process.
A little praise can go a long way. Praising a child for their effort is arguably more important than praising achievement and can help to develop a growth mindset. This 5-minute video provides a great illustration of how praise and mindsets work.
Your son should be encouraged to create some form of a revision schedule in line with their exam/assessment calendar. You can support with this by making sure the schedule that they are following is realistic; help them work out how much they have to do, and the time they have to do it. Set reminders on your son’s phone and your own. This will allow you to positively reinforce what should be revised, when. Similarly, it will also help you keep track of when your son should be taking breaks. In general, revision sessions at home should not exceed 60 minutes without a break.
Create a positive study environment
Background music can help some students to concentrate, others find that it just serves as a distraction. Equally, the right lighting and temperature in a revision area will help to create a comfortable environment for study.
Computers and tablets are essential study aids, however, if your child is an avid social media user then try to encourage them to remove social media apps from everything but their phone. Then, ask them to put their phone out of sight. According to an article in the Guardian, ‘researchers found that the mere sight of a phone was enough to reduce a person’s ability to focus.’ As adults, we know that being away from our phone is a difficult request, however, if students can develop this positive habit, they will soon reap the rewards for their will power.
Refuel and Recharge
Stock up on healthy snacks (see our guide to cereal bars and recipe downloads). Commonly, when students are revising, they refuel with chocolate, crisps and sugary drinks to keep their energy levels up. As we know, this can be detrimental to both academic and sporting performance. Instead, ensure that healthy meals are eaten as a family whenever possible. In addition to providing the boys with the right nutrients, the social aspect of being together and engaging in conversation will provide a well-needed break from time spent at the computer or in front of their school books.
Quality of sleep is directly proportional to performance levels (both academic and sporting). Try to discourage the following bad habits which can be detrimental to sleep:
• Staying up late to ‘cram’; monster study sessions will not be as productive as shorter, more regular revision with scheduled breaks. By studying right up until bed time, your son will struggle to sleep as his brain will still be active and alert.
• Studying and sleeping in the same room. If possible, designate a study area away from your son’s bedroom as this will help them to relax at bed time.
• Computer games and social media time can work well as revision incentives, however, phones, tablets and televisions all introduce artificial light into the bedroom, which can affect sleep patterns.
Now it’s over to you….
If you have any tried-and-tested revision methods you use at home with your children (whatever their age), then why not share these with other Academy parents through the ‘Parent to Parent’ section of the PE&R website. Simply email your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.