Recently, I met up with a friend who has two daughters in p4 and p5. During the course of our discussion on revisions, she asked astonished, “you mean you let Lesley-Anne revise her work on her own?” It turns out that she and her hubby sit down to do revision with their kids for a couple of hours every night after dinner, conscientiously going through what was taught in school that day. This excludes homework, which would have been done earlier in the day! Gosh, my jaw dropped when I heard this. And I think SHE nearly fainted when she found out that half the time, I don't know what my kids are learning in school LOL!
Feeling terribly guilty for being a slacker mum, that day when I returned home, here's what I did in the space of 2 hours after dinner: Took Andre his spelling. Set maths paper for Lesley-Anne. Coached Andre in oral (with lots of yelling). Coached Andre in dictation and editing. Marked Lesley-Anne’s paper. Went through paper (more yelling). Gave lecture and pep talk.
I went to bed mentally and physically exhausted. I don't know how my friend does it! (By the next day, I'd regressed to my old ways).
Anyway, the point I'm making in this post is that we all have different methods for helping our kids academically. My friend's is the steady-pom-pee-pee style. Mine is the laissez-faire-last-minute-chiong style, meaning I just nag at my kids to do their homework, help them only when they approach me with something they don't understand, occasionally set some extra work, and then rev up to 4th gear nearer the exams.
I know I don't have the stamina or patience to do what my friend does. If I forced myself to, what would likely happen is that the daily sessions would degenerate into shouting matches, making them counter productive. For my friend, I think if she adopted my style, she would keel over from the anxiety. In other words, it's not about what works, but rather what works for you.
In the corporate world, the current buzzword is sustainable development. Well, I'm advocating sustainable revision, defined as "a revision process that can be maintained over the long term (and keep parents sane)."
Of course you also need to take into consideration the learning style of your kids. If leaving them alone means they'll toss their school work out of the window, then you probably need to hand-hold a little more. But in general, I believe that parents need to work around what they feel comfortable with, otherwise the revision process will be a dreaded chore and it's hard to motivate someone else when you're unmotivated yourself.
So there you have it - sustainable revision. I wonder if I can patent the concept...
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