Taking stock of the school term

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The first quarter of 2018 is over! Before you give your child a pat on the back, it’s a good time to review the school term to find out how your child fared, and to figure out what worked, what didn’t and what needs to be done. Here’s how to get started.

Pick the right time
Get your term review off to a good start by picking the right time to take stock. Choose a time of day where your kid has some energy (but not too much), and when you are free of distractions, so you can give your child your undivided attention.

Review the term
Together, take a holistic look at your child’s experience of the school term – don’t forget, this is so much more than just whether he scored enough As. Celebrate his achievements and consider the challenges he faced. Don’t presume to be the expert here – ask open-ended questions and do your best to listen to the answers with an open mind. Here is a list of questions you can ask instead of “how was your day” – good inspiration if you’re stuck!

Figure out a plan
With an idea of what challenges your child faced this term, now’s the time to put your brains together to figure out how to conquer them. Was your child bored? Lonely? Frustrated? Confused? Are there subjects he needs extra help in? Brainstorm potential solutions and pay attention – sometimes even in the offbeat or weird ideas your child comes up it lie the seeds of small, silent issues that he might not have had the vocabulary to discuss.

If he’s bored, does he need a challenge?

If she’s lonely, does she need help with a few after-school playdates or activities where she can meet new friends?

If he’s frustrated, are there any measures that might help? Such as a notebook for writing things down if he has trouble remembering things?

Make enrichment fun
In our high-paced, high-stress school system, there is always going to be an academic area that needs revision or enrichment. And even if your child is academically excelling, the school holidays are an excellent time to revise what he’s learned to further cement the knowledge into his mental foundation. The trick is keeping it lighthearted, fun and engaging – you want to harness your child’s natural enthusiasm for learning. Try the following methods:

Make it a game
Some board games cover academic subjects (Scrabble for spelling, Risk for geography etc.) or create your own version of Trivia Pursuit with questions focussed on your child’s subjects. Or simply play charades using key words or concepts.

Get arty
Create a bright, colourful poster that can be used as a revision aid. Include key words, concepts and plenty of visual cues to help your child remember.

Make it funny
YouTube is an excellent resource for funny, yet educational content. Try the True Facts series of videos by Buzzfeed (such as the excellent mantis shrimp one here) or simply google “fun facts + <subject>”.

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