Do your part to help keep your child on the right track academically, even outside of the classroom. Depending on your child’s age, s/he could be preparing for everything from end-of-term and end-of-year exams to the Grade Six Achievement Test (GSAT), Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) or Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Exams (CAPE). If there are no big exams on the horizon, there are still homework assignments and projects to be completed, so take note.
- Create a special homework routine. Set aside a certain time and pick a comfortable spot for your child to work. This will create a routine that you and/or your child will get used to following. Parenting experts say routines give children, especially smaller ones, a sense of security and help them develop self-discipline. This discipline will become even more necessary as they get older.
- Develop a schedule. This is helpful for exam preparation and can also help children to keep track of assignments so they will be able to turn in their homework on time.
- Encourage proactive behaviour. Find out when assignments are due or when tests are scheduled so you can help your child avoid the trap of procrastination. The test or exam is scheduled for next month, or the assignment is due next Monday, but that doesn’t mean s/he can’t begin studying or working on it now, even if it means just gathering the materials needed.
- Review periodically. Every now and then, ask your child to talk through assignments or readings with you. This shows that you are interested in his/her progress and you will also be able to offer assistance with difficult topics. It will also help him/her to recall information and learn how to use it better.
- Get creative. Use study aids such as charts and diagrams. Make up mnemonics (memory aids) such as acronyms, songs and poems. Download relevant apps.
- Use a syllabus or curriculum guide. This allows you to have a clear idea of what your child is expected to learn and what s/he could possibly be examined on. This information will help you to keep your child on track, especially if s/he is preparing for GSAT or in high school.
- Pay attention to nutrition. As much as possible, ensure that your child is eating a balanced diet. Hunger or poor nutrition makes it difficult to concentrate and study. Also, avoid heavy meals before study or homework time as this leads to drowsiness.
- Encourage your child to rest and relax. It is easy to lose track of time during exam time, or when big assignments are due. Ensure that your child is still getting an adequate amount of sleep – six to eight hours nightly. Also, encourage him/her to make time for fun activities now and then.