This is a question I asked myself when my eldest went through her first set of exams in Secondary I (or what I still refer to as Grade 7 LOL!)
As you may already know, I am a firm believer that the kids’ schoolwork is their responsibility and that I take a hands-off approach when it comes to projects etc, because I want their homework to be their own. (Read Whose Homework is it Anyway?).
That said, I am also a firm believer that it is our job as parents to play a supportive role. For example, I won’t be providing the kids with what I think the outline for the project should be, but if they need bristol board & glitter, it is my job to get it.
With that in mind, I also believe in being as supportive as I can during exam period. I say as supportive as I can, because, let’s face it: The truth is that I’m not always knowledgeable about the course material, and if I once knew it, I’ve since forgotten much of it!
That said, over the years, there are a few things that I started to do during exam period that I believe helps exam period run more smoothly.
Here are some of them:
(1) MAKE SURE THEY ARE EATING WELL
- Stock up on snacks ( including, but not limited to, healthy fruits & veggies- “Brain Food”) that the kids like so that if they ever feeling like nibbling – there is plenty for them to choose from.
- I try to prepare meals that I know they love (for which I don’t anticipate any ‘push-back’ )- They need their energy and nutrition…Not the time to try new things, etc.
(2) CLEAR THE SCHEDULE
- Unless absolutely necessary, I do not schedule medical appointments during exam period
- Unless unavoidable, we turn down social invitations and plan to be home during exam period
- I clear my evening schedule as much as possible. Given my work, I am often invited to evening events but I try to be home during exam week.
(3) BE PRESENT ( as much as possible)
- I try to be home when they are home studying after their exams:
- To make sure they are studying (Some kids are natural study-ers, while others need more “prodding” – you need to know your child (we know ours) & we budget our parental energy accordingly.)
- So that if they need me I am around
- To make sure that the siblings are all respecting each other’s right to study ( keeping the noise level down, not starting trouble, etc)
- I make myself available to drive them if necessary ( pick them up after exam if the bus schedule means they will have a long wait before they can get home. Yes, they can stay & study in school, but truthfully, they’s rather study at home (plus, there are lots of distractions at school, especially when a frozen beverage with buddies is available up the street from school on a hot day….)
(4) ENCOURAGE THEM TO BREATHE
- We encourage them to take breaks…they need it.
- We encourage them to get out & get some fresh air.
(5) REMIND THEM THAT THEY NEED TO SLEEP
- We insist they get to sleep at a decent hour, but we understand that sometimes they need to stay up a bit later- each child is different and we manage on a case by case basis
(6) QUIZ THEM ALONG THE WAY
- My hubby & I try to make ourselves available to quiz them, etc. There are LOTS of CUE CARDS in our house at exam time!
- Which brings me to my next point – there are great APPS to help kids prep for exams- my high schoolers use Quizlet ( a cue-card- quizzing app) & MindMeister ( also known as total recall) which is a concept-mapping app. They are both great study aids. The kids are integrating the information as they create the cue cards or mind-maps and it makes it easy for parents to quiz, even if they don’t know the material very well.
I spoke about these & more in my segment today on Breakfast Television. You can click HERE or on the image below to watch:
What are some of the things that you do to make exam period go over more smoothly in your home?