Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Taming the Fear of Education

EEK! My 13 year old precious has got to try to defend Israel and its Nuclear Energy Programme at  a Model United Nations in March - In a region where Israel isn't even on the maps. Daunting, but I have no doubt she will do her best.

On a higher note today she borrowed someone's phone at school to call me and tell me she just got another A for her mid-term math assessment and 100% on her exam paper. Bam! Diddly Bam Bam! Not bad at all considering she got an E last year but WE (yes that's a capital W and E) did some serious daily revision throughout the summer and consequently she is now rocking it. She's come a long way from the overwhelmed and unsure 12 year old of last year.  

I can thoroughly recommend IXL for math it was, and still is, fantastic. Sadly, the other websites were boring or confusing (Khan Academy) or not really working so well (Study Ladder). BBC Bitesize is also excellent for all subjects.

For languages you really must try Duolingo it's truly amazing and is really fun. Download the app to your phone and do it in the car or over a latte in Starbucks.

A good Arabic language site is Busuu.

A few important lessons I've learned along the way:

You can not just rely on the school you need to be very involved.

Kids will mature and get more responsible about their school work as they age.

It is important to be real with your kids. Hard work equals good grades.

There will be a lot of tears and frustration but it does pay off. Seeing my child finally get math was a crowning moment in both our lives.

All kids are good at something. Don't beat them down or they will give up. Encouragement, perseverance and bribes work really well.

Tell your kid to pay attention in class because 90% of what is being taught will be coming in the exams. Teachers don't normally waffle on about unnecessary stuff. If kids can pay attention in class then homework and exams will be a whole lot easier.

Babygirl has just chosen her IGCSEs for next year and depending on her teachers we shall see which subjects she'll need extra tuition in. Sadly, not all teachers have the gift of sharing the information in a way that kids can readily absorb it. And if kids aren't understanding then they will start to tune out and get lost. Watch for those signs. Go through schoolwork with them or Google and find one of the plentiful resources on the web to help them understand (see above).

There are many kids at our school that are getting fantastic grades and they are all different kids with completely different attitudes. Some kids are already very mature, focused and super smart with undoubtedly very bright futures ahead of them. Some need more time.

I'm just so happy my sweety is starting to get it. She still has a long way to go and I don't claim to know it all, far from it, but we have learned some valuable lessons which I've shared with you. If I had a penny for every time my kid said she couldn't do math I'd be a very wealthy woman... albeit grey-haired and still doubling my BP meds. 

A big thank you to the fabulous teachers at her school and even the not-so-fabulous ones who have taught my child valuable life lessons. One science teacher who was unavailable for several lessons and when they were there my kid did not understand a thing. But as in life one has to rely on oneself and find a solution. My daughter went to the year head and asked for a new course booklet but requested he write all the correct answers in it (she was unsure if hers was corrected properly and it was incomplete). The year head obliged and gave them out to anyone who asked. My daughter duly learned it from front to back in a few days and got herself a B which was a great lesson for her in taking responsibility, working hard and being independent.

We're getting there.....

Very proud of my daughter and a huge thank you to Mr Kaimakkami who is the most awesome of math teachers.

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