I remember seeing an interview with David Blaine where he was asked how he manages to achieve his incredible feats, how he persuades his body to endure sixty three hours encased in ice or thirty five hours atop a pillar. His response was simple. He said that his stunts were just something he was going to do, like having breakfast or going to work, so when he got up in the morning he just said to himself, “so today I’m going to have breakfast, read the paper, and then stand in an ice block.” “How is this relevant to revision?” I hear you asking. Well, I think children respond well to that kind of structure. No bargaining or bartering about revision time, no distracting, no ‘umms’ or maybes – just part of the day. “So after school we’ll pop to the shops, then home for revision, then dinner and a film,” is going to work much better than, “We could do some revision when we get home.”
Structure is key here. This includes consistency of care too. Again, “Dad’s going to help you revise tonight,” is much more definitive than, “I need to find time to help you with your revision.” Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying you should be forcing your children into anything but, much like a doctor’s visit, revision should be non-negotiable. This will not only help with imminent exams but is also, in my opinion, an invaluable life skill.
So, set a structure for revision. I would suggest a slot every day but, depending on how many different revision methods you’re using, these slots need not always be long. You can find some tips for different types of revision exercise in our other blog posts. Remember, you know your child best of all, so do they respond best to short bursts or to long sessions, to hands-on interactive revision or quiet focussed time? Do they concentrate best at home or at the library, do they react best when given prior warning of something or when it’s sprung upon them? Incorporate this into their revision.
Ultimately, as parents (and unless you are very lucky) you will need to be a driving force, keeping revision momentum going and watching out for potholes. However, don’t forget you may sometimes need to apply the brakes. For thoughts on supporting the driven, motivated self-learners check out our blog post on it here.
By Emma Lomas, Principal, MagiKats Guildford, Cobham & Mytchett