Monday, August 24, 2015

How To Help Your Kids Get Ready For A Test

Hello Everyone!!
We would like to continue to talk about our children and their return to school!  Let us start by wishing all the little ones who will be taking their weekly tests on Friday, GOOD LUCK, YOU ARE SMART and YOU WILL DO GREAT!!

Weekly testing is now a very common event for our children, whether they are in Elementary, Primary or Secondary School.
Oh, I remember those days and I hated them.  My anxiety would always get the best of me.  I would stare at the paper and my mind would automatically go blank.   It really didn't matter how hard and how long I would study, the answers would go in my "locked box" to which I could never find the key in time to do the test.
Questions I knew the answers to, but couldn't remember single one response because of my inability to calm myself down to really think.  And if you add to that my fear that if I received a low grade, things were not going to be "good" at home.   Those two are very bad when they are combined together.
Our two children are so different, they may look like twins, but they are far from it.  My son reminds me of my younger self.  The way our son behaves usually tells me how he is feeling. 

 Our children's weekly tests are English: Spelling, Vocabulary and Math.   Our daughter who is in First Grade is also takes "Reading" tests. 
As parents we are able to help our children face any fear or pressure they may have when it comes to tests.
You don't have to study with them all the time.  While we suggest you "be there" for your child, it is also important that they learn how to study independently.  Let's be realistic, we cannot always be there.  BUT, it is important that we teach them how to study efficiently. 
While our son is learning the multiplication tables, our daughter is learning simple addition.  My husband is very strict when it comes to the subject of mathematics, the children practiced simple "math facts" during the summer therefore every day we practice "Math Drills".   
Math drills is what the teachers use in their classroom.  I suggest you ask your child's teacher which sites she uses in order for you to obtain "free printable math worksheets".   I simply start by giving them the 1 Minute Math Drills which contains 20 math problems, and then we move up to the 3 Minutes Math Drills which has 60 math problems.
It is important you remind them that "these are new problems, therefore, it is okay if they cannot complete them all", practice makes everyone perfect.   
You can find flashcards everywhere, but you can also print your own or you can even use blank index cards and write your own. 
I use the flashcards below for our son:

What I like about them is that on one side of the cards is a very simple problem but the other side has one that is a bit more difficult.   With these cards my son doesn’t feel overwhelmed at all.    
This is something that my husband and I don't see eye to eye.  While he believes in "doing problems in your head", I deeply believe in the use of a sheet of paper.  Now, encourage whatever technique works for your child.  
I always tell my son to use a blank sheet of paper and write/draw the problem out as well as to look/find and underline key words like "less than", "fewer than", "more than".  I don't think a teacher will ever deny him the ability to use a scratch paper.
I'm currently taking a different approach with our daughter with her reading, comprehending and spelling.  Ms. Bree's class is currently reading "Wizard of Oz".  I stay in touch with her teacher and she kindly tells me the chapters she is currently reading to the class.  Bree and I then read the same chapters at home, we do this every night.  We ask her questions about the story to make sure she is improving her "comprehension" skills. (i.e. "what color was the road?", and "who was OZ?", "who was the main character(s)?").
When it comes to our son, we are continuing to read "Magic Treehouse Series" (which we will tell you all about on our next post).  Google is a powerful tool and you can pretty much find anything!  In this case, I am able to find and print "Comprehensive Test" for every single book in the series.  Some of the tests are "multiple choice" while others require for him to "Describe" things in his answer.
Ms. Bree gets 10 Spelling words and 10 Sight words a week, while our son gets 20 spelling words, 5 Challenge Words. 
FLASH CARDS are great for this too!  Bree already knows her first 100 sight words, therefore, it feels like review time for her.  When it comes to her spelling words, we study 3 words per day by saying them out loud.  Then on Thursdays and Friday morning, we review all sight words and spelling words before I drop them off at school.
Little man so far has not required extra time to study his spelling words as he seems to know them all already.  However, we do spend extra time reminding him that he MUST take his time and write neatly so that his teacher won't mark his answer wrong.   It is important that they understand that they take the time to write clearly and to check their work at least two times before turning the work in.

Nevertheless, what works for our son is "repetition".  He writes the words from 3 to 5 times, we then take a "practice test" and we continue to do this throughout the week until he has them all.
At last, we pray for them… We pray for our children every day but we have a special prayer for them on Friday morning.

Dear Lord, here we are again, another Friday, another test,
We pray that you help our children do their best today,
Help them remain calm and serene so that they may
Remember all the things they have learned this week,
Help them remember that they will do great as long
As they believe in themselves.
Help them remember that Mommy and Daddy love them,
And remind them that we will always face our troubles
Together and that their efforts will be blessed by you
And celebrated by us.
Remind them to be kind, unselfish and loving to others.


We work hard and we play hard!  This is something I've learned from my husband. 

Every Friday evening, we take the kids out for ice cream (you may want to do something special, something your children would consider a treat). 

We talked about our week, about their work well done and we congratulate them for their effort.  

Even as an adult we often like to be "rewarded" or "acknowledged" for the hard work we do at our jobs.  Therefore, why not do the same with our kids.  

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