Teaching Tips for Moms for Kids Exams
By Madhurie Singh, December 14, 2009
This article is for moms who get overwhelmed at times or most while teaching their kids for examinations.
From tomorrow my son who is in 1st std will be starting his term exams.
Usually, when the school is going on regularly, it's not very difficult to keep his studies on track.
He would come home and after lunch, revise all classwork done during that day and complete any homework given. I really donot have to bother much as even at this young age he wants to complete his homework before play. 🙂
But damn the swine flu and all the chaos it has caused in the routine of my kids' studies. There are days when the school declares off or there are days when I do not feel comfortable sending them to their schools.
So the result is incomplete class-works and home-works. And when the kids are at home it's very difficult to make them sit even for an hour for studies. They want the "fun type" learning which I am pretty good at now. Thanks to my cellphone, copying the class / home works is not difficult task.
But you do not know where to start teaching when there is a pile of work right in front of you. When I was put through similar situation, I found a cool method to handle my problem. I am sure we do it always but still I will write down for my own good. ( When I need to teach my younger son , the same subjects).
The first step that I did was took the English text books and class notes from the teacher. Then I wrote down all the difficult words on a long sheet of paper. Which came to around 100 words including the spelling lists, opposites, verbs, homophones, etc.
The second step was to make my son read aloud each word with it's spelling, and then the whole word too. This way I got to know what words he knew very well, those I scratched off. Next I gave him a dictation of the remaining words.
There is one very important thing to keep in mind when teaching to the kids.
The brain will capture from different senses when exposed to new stuff. Hence all available senses should be used at the same time by the child to learn anything new.
So in case of spellings, reading aloud uses sight and sound, to register spellings in the brain.
The third step was, writing each words on a paper, along with saying aloud each letter and finishing with again saying aloud the complete word. The brain has by now received the same input from four different senses. Sight, Speech, Sound and Motor. And there is very little chance that a child will not remember that particular word or it's spelling. I have to include speech and sound as different senses used as the tongue plays an important part in producing the correct pronunciation which then is received by the ears and sent to the brain. If my son only heard from me a word and wrote it down without trying to repeat it aloud, the impact will be less on the brain. Also the chances of saying the correct pronunciation will be bleak.
Teaching Tip 1 .
Since handling a sheet of words is easier than carrying around books and notebooks, repetition becomes very easy and exciting even for moms.
I normally stick these sheets on my fridge with a magnet and while in the kitchen especially making chapaties, I quickly revise all the words with him.
Teaching Hindi was a tough cookie for me. There were several words which we do not use in normal conversation and hence it was a task of first making him understand the meaning of each Hindi word in my list. Here I used lots of hand drawn pictures and English words which he had to translate in Hindi. Again he had to first say the full word loud n clear, then write each letter while saying them aloud. Since Hindi has many more letters than English, it can be confusing initially if the letters are not pronounced correctly. And we all know how important it is to make a strong base for any thing right at the beginning.
For all the similar sounding Hindi letters, I made another list which I would ask him in between any activity.
I did the same thing with Science too. After knowing all the words by heart with their meanings, it's a cake walk to answer any question, match the following or fill in the blanks for a kid, be it yours or mine :D.
In Math I wrote all the questions like a mock exam paper and made him practice several times. The trick to learning as we all know is repetition.
And the best way to revise is by making them write every thing while speaking each word aloud.
Another Teaching tip 2, I learnt is to use a ball pen while writing the questions. Later, for practice, all that was needed was erasing his pencil written answers.
Teaching tip 3. Another very important point worth mentioning is to keep all distractions at bay. My cellphone is silent and do not allow any distraction during learning time. Kids being kids will divert, digress and distract themselves knowingly or unknowingly. I have learnt to put a stop to any distraction the moment it starts. Why ? Cuz, again we do not want to give the brain too many different unrelated things at one point. There will be the danger of the brain associating those distractions with the learnings.
Teaching Tip 4. I do digress to very short stories, drawings and examples provided they are relevant to the topic.
Teaching Tip 5. Another important point that I have found is that the attention period of each kid varies for sure but there are ways to find out when it's about to drop. Like in my kids' their handwriting will deteriorate and spellings go for a toss when they are losing attention / interest. That's the time, without keeping the books away, I share a short joke or story with them, allow them to share any thing they wish to. And there they are charged like an every-ready long running batteries.
Teaching Tip 6. I teach one child at a time. So my second son is either doing a coloring work or is writing alphabets and numbers silently. My younger one has to write all alphabets, numbers, hindi alphabets and draw any thing he feels like which he can relate to one letter. Now he is so pro at it that the moment I call them for studies, he starts his routine without even asking. Thanks my son! 🙂 for letting me teach the older one for his exams!
Now what is the genesis of this brilliant idea. My son's std 1 class teacher Mrs Rege. During the half yearly exams she gave us a sheet of all the spellings that the kids had to learn for their English exam. I found it extremely convenient. So during this study leave days, I tried it with all the subjects and with every topic.
Teaching Tip 7. Trust me it's the most easy and the most relaxing way to teach, if you yourself are chilled out. And to be so, it should be a method of teaching and learning that is least cumbersome.
Any thing which looks, seems or portrays complication will always put the mind off. And there goes all the efforts to teach or to learn with a mind that is already switched off. So the first task is to help out mind to be receptive.
Teaching Tip 8. Use simple tools, yes, a list of words is a tool too, that looks simple to the brain to grasp.
Teaching Tip 9. Follow up with a regular repetition when you and your child are fresh (I do it the first thing in the morning during off days and after allowing them to watch their favorite TV serial. Try it, it will work always.
Teaching Tip 10. Follow the instincts and be reasonable to the kid.
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