School is about to reopen and, before we know it, it will be time for assessments and exams. That is when we will find children overcome with stress and anxiety, cramming for each test and studying late into the night. This can be totally avoided. To minimise stress and maximise productivity and result, a little planning, strategising and time management right from the start of the school year will go a long way.
Here are some guidelines for parents and their children to live stress- free schooldays.
Review Notebook: At the beginning of the school year, prepare a separate ‘review’ notebook for each subject. This need not be taken to school. At home after finishing a chapter in a subject, encourage your child to write notes and summaries in the review notebook. The lesson will still be fresh in the child’s mind and it would be easy to jot down important ideas. The review notebook will come in handy during revisions.
Cue cards: You could ensure that your child writes down key points learned from each lesson on cue cards kept handy in various places. Writing and re-writing important facts will help memory retention. Later, if the child wants, you can use these cards to quiz her.
Mind maps: Memory aids like mind maps and other illustrations are useful memory tools. The use of different colours and shapes add to the memory-retaining value of the diagram.
Voice recording: Give your child a digital voice recorder or similar device to record his notes while reading them. He could listen to this recording in his spare time.
Research: After finishing a topic in class, the child should try and read as much information about the subject. He should resolve all questions and doubts at the earliest. If he has to write essays later, such information may be handy.
Planners: Buy your child a planner (some schools provide the child with diaries) wherein he can log notes on homework, projects and reminders. This will serve as a valuable guide to plan work.
Study groups: Studying with friends and classmates outside the classroom is a good idea. This will allow for sharing of notes, thoughts and ideas, understanding and solving particular problems.
Study place: Set aside a special study space/area that is clean and not cluttered. Unwanted books or magazines, lying around, may distract the child. The place should be free of distraction and noise, from cell phones, computers, television, and music systems when she starts work.
Write less, Understand more!
Mind mapping is a diagram that gives an overview of important points and keywords (such as dates, facts, personalities) linked around a central idea or a particular topic. It can be drawn by hand or with the aid of the computer. The idea is to put down a chapter/lesson (from the book) on one page. This will help the child to quickly review lessons before tests or exams.
A guide to creating a mind map:
- Start by placing the main idea or keyword in the centre of the paper. On a separate sheet, list all the things that relates to the main idea.
- Pick out the different features/characteristic/parts that described the main idea and create a link (or stem) from the centre of the map. Remember that each stem should carry only one keyword or image.
- From each stem, add more detailed information about the subject. Minor stems can emanate from these stems for giving additional information.
- Use different colours and illustrations to make it more vivid and easier to remember.
- Keep it clean. Do not clutter your map. Make sure your links are easily identifiable and interpreted.