Updated: Oct 12, 2020
If your child is preparing for the 7+ exam, the least we can do as educators and parents is to make the experience enjoyable! We all know that children learn best when they are engaged, so I’ve compiled my favourite strategies to ensure that children associate education with excitement!
· Channel your inner Bond
In a similar fashion to disguising vegetables into children’s meals, learning can be packaged in many exciting ways.
Instead of giving your child a workbook to work through, why not have work ‘delivered’ to your child in the post from a mysterious sender, challenging your child to complete a series of missions, should they choose to accept them. (Mum may or may not wish to enjoy a cheeky Martini at this point - shaken not stirred of course).
Also popular with children is role reversal, where the student becomes the master. Ask your child to mark your work (littered with mistakes) and challenge them to ‘up-level’ it – can they reproduce the work, making it much better than it was before?
· The world is your classroom!
Take learning away from the desk and incorporate it into everyday life. For example, your child could practice addition and subtraction using the numbers they can see on car registration plates, describe the setting of where they are using the five senses, or create shopping lists – not forgetting to check the total costs and calculating change, too!
Family games nights will also give your child a chance to work on their reasoning skills (and their gracious loser face).
Chess is particularly effective in developing problem-solving skills.
· Let’s make it snappy, people!
Any form of revision session should be more of a 100m sprint rather than a marathon. Your little Usain Bolt should aim to work in 30-minute blocks, when their mind is less likely to wander.
A “little and often” approach will help to maintain focus and timed activities also add an element of fun and challenge.
· Study buddies? The more the merrier!
As ambitious as it may sound, group work can be successful in helping your child to enjoy their learning and grasp concepts that they have otherwise found tricky. Children tend to be competitive in nature, so being able to see another child’s work or hearing a different approach to solving a problem may inspire them more than if they were solely listening to the drone of a boring old parent!
Asking children to edit one another’s work can also be useful as they often take more heed when feedback is given by their peers. A word of warning though – children are notoriously tough critics, so perhaps a lesson in diplomacy prior to the study session is a wise idea!
· Pop culture – pay attention
Is your child Harry Potter daft? Go the full Hog(warts) and use scenes from the films as creative writing inspiration, write comprehension questions based on the novels and create quidditch word problems for maths revision. Whatever their ‘thing’ is, harness it and use it as a base for learning.