There is no denying that the summer holidays are longed for. Needed. Glorious. Six weeks, in some cases nine. The last thing on most families mind’s is school work and whilst I don’t want to be a party pooper here, they are also very detrimental to a child’s learning. Studies have shown that the summer holidays can lead to a loss of what has been learned in the previous school year and a chunk of the new school term is spent revisiting and re-learning the curriculum.
As children get older and move through school there is also a need to use the summer holiday, and in fact any holiday or weekend to continue with learning, or revision for upcoming exams. Particularly exams.
Children all revise differently. I have one child who has to write things out and stick them to the wall to learn, another who needs silence, another who needs music to revise. Allowing for all of those things to take place in a classroom setting is impossible, which means most revision is done at home. In fact revision for GCSEs was primarily done at home once exam season had started and school only needed to be attended for the actual exam.
So how can we, as parents help? Other than offering hot drinks and a steady supply of chocolate and soothing words of “no you are not useless” or “stop it, you are absolutely not going to fail every single exam” what can we do? Well I found that being involved with my three really helped, rather than letting them just do it alone in their rooms, or at the kitchen table. We found that by all sitting down and going through things together, saying things out loud reinforced the learning.
Which is why I am gutted I didn’t know about a great website called Education Quizzes when my three were doing their revision. As the name suggests the site is full of quizzes, all written by teachers, designed for children right through from KS1 to GCSE. For a subscription fee of £7.50 a month the site can deliver as many quizzes on whatever subject you need. You name it, there is a quiz on it. They can either be played on line, or printed and then done in a group (which I think is a great way of learning).
My three all did subjects that I knew nothing about so trying to come up with questions after reading text books they had thrown at me used to fill me with dread. Ellie is revising biology ahead of starting her second A level year in September so we can go over subjects covered in the GCSE such as anaerobic respiration, deforestation, thermoregulation and the reasons for anomalous results. And whilst the quizzes are not designed to cover the A level curriculum it is great to reinforce what was learned at GCSE and confirm that she does know it all! Building her confidence and reminding her of phrases and terms that might have been pushed to the back of her mind if not covered this year, or indeed forgotten in the six weeks she has now been off school.
The GCSE maths section even has a quiz on foreign currency and exchange rates, something I think we could all benefit from learning about ahead of our next holiday!
I am astonished at the range of quizzes on offer, and all can be scored so that you can see improvements if the quiz is retaken. And whilst we like doing them together there is nothing to stop students going off for an hour or two with the ipad and doing them on their own online.
I can’t help thinking how much easier things might have been if we had a subscription such as this back when my three were younger. It is certainly something I am now going to be talking about to teacher friends. Along with the fact that Education Quizzes are mindful of the fact that many families simply can’t afford the £90 a year subscription. So they have come up with a scheme whereby schools effectively pay the subscription on behalf of the families and benefit from a heavily discounted rate. Depending on the number of students in the school it could come down to as little as £2 per year.
Not only does it mean more engagement between the school and families but it might earn some brownie points for the school the next time Ofsted pay a visit! So if you know of any schools that could get involved and sign up, please do put them in touch.
Photo of students revising courtesy of Shutterstock