With school entrance exams and GCSE and A Level mocks just around the corner, you may be wondering how to help your child with exam revision over the Christmas break. No student wants to be glued to their books during yuletide activities, so here are a few suggestions to make holiday schoolwork a little less Grinch-like.
Little and often is key
For children taking the 11+ or the 13+ in January, it is sensible to set aside a little time every day, or every other day, for revision. With younger children, it is important to keep things ticking over as tricky mathematical methods and difficult spellings are easily forgotten over the Christmas break. Short, regular revision sessions are likely to be more effective —and more fun —thanlong stints sitting at a desk.
Plan some treats
Whether it is a trip to the ice rink or a visit to some Christmas markets, make sure to intersperse revision with some festive outings. A few rewards will provide more motivation to study and —more importantly —give children the chance to enjoy their well earned school holiday.
Get the whole family involved
Nothing is worse than hearing everyone having fun together in the kitchen as you sit staring at a page of trigonometry. Revision doesn’t have to a solitary affair, however: take the time to quiz your child on arithmetic and spelling, and encourage other members of the family —older siblings, aunts, grandparents —to do the same. A maths problem shared is a maths problem halved.
Try to inject some yuletide cheer
Although an 11+ past paper may be the least festive thing known to man, do your best to make it fun. Hunt down some Christmas maths quizzes, or find a Noel themed English comprehension passage. Schoolwork will never be as enjoyable as eating mince pies, but it doesn’t have to be chore.
Schedule in some private tuition
If you have decided to hire a tutor, it is a good idea to timetable in a couple of lessons during the Christmas break. Whether your child is struggling with a particular topic, or is experiencing pre-exam nerves, a tutor will boost their confidence and help clear up their confusion before school starts again in January.
For young students, sometimes a game of Scrabble or Trivial Pursuit is just as worthwhile as agonising over a non-verbal reasoning test. Anything that keeps children’s brains active over the holiday is sure to be a good thing —plus Christmas is a time for families to spend quality time together.
Draw up a timetable
If your child has GCSE or A Level mocks in January, encourage them to make a timetable. It is hard for teenagers to know how much progress they are making over the holidays, and a timetable will make them feel like they are making real headway. It is important to be realistic — don’t let them schedule in 14 hours of Chemistry revision on Christmas Eve. But scheduling in a few hours in every day — and marking in some work-free days — is a great way for teenagers to make the most of the Christmas break.
Set some goals
Whether your child is about to sit the 11+ or an A Level exam, think about some key objectives they should aim to achieve over the holiday. These don’t have to be detailed, but it will help to avoid panic later in the day, and fill your child with a real sense of achievement once Christmas comes to an end.