How To Help your Teen Achieve Revision Success! Part 2

Revisions strategies for teens 1This week our family have hit another parenting milestone; our 14 year old is about to sit his first exams! This has left me puzzling how I can best support him to accomplish revision success, without heading into the minefield of teenage resistance!

In Part 1 of my revision series I discussed how to identify the goals of revision and engage in a joint planning phase with your child. Today I’m looking at the how to of revision.

What does your child need to do to achieve revision success?

 What The Research Says…

As parents it’s easy to feel alienated by the technology that our children are using to study with. I know that when I was revising I created hand written notes, read paper versions of books and created colour coded index cards!

When my children are revising it often looks the same as when they’re relaxing – laptop open, headphones on and a glazed expression!

These strategies for revising have been popular for years:

  • Re-reading notes
  • Highlighting sections of text
  • Re-writing notes

These are certainly strategies that I have used, but it turns out that trying to memorise information is NOT the most effective revision strategy!

Research shows that the key to retaining information is to become deeply engaged with the material, in educational terms this is called a ‘depth of processing’, and helps the information get deposited for the long term in your memory bank.

My Favourite 5 Strategies For Engagement

If engagement is the key to revision success, how can we find activities that create this depth of processing for our children?

Here are my Favourite 5 strategies that increase engagement whilst addressing the goals of revision (understanding, synthesis, recall, consolidation and reflection).

  1. 3 Qs (Quick Quiz Questions) – create questions using your notes, write out a corresponding answer sheet then put the quiz away and test yourself in a couple of days. Research shows that repeated testing is a successful strategy for raising engagement, and leaving a few days between revising and testing is the most effective way.
  2. Quizletquizlet is an awesome online tool that allows you to make flash cards which you can then use in  activities against the clock such as pairing, questioning and testing. Research shows that practicing retrieving information is one of the best ways to retain it.
  3. SWOT Analysis (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) – SWOT Analysis is a great revision tool to encourage you to re-think ideas and make new connections, especially good for humanities and English. You can download a template here .
  4. Mind Mapping – this creative tool increases engagement by  finding connections and practicing retrieving information. Mind maps can be colourful and elaborate or simple and streamlined, Tony Busan (the father of mind maps) has some inspiring examples of mind maps here.
  5. Fishbone Diagram – this is a great tool to summarise multiple ideas and can form the basis of an essay plan for written subjects. Check out my example of a fishbone diagram based on this revision series below. You can download a template here.

fishbone diagrams ansucccesful revision strategy

So good luck to all the Mum & Dad’s out there supporting their teens through the exam minefields over the next few weeks!

And remember…

Hold on to your teen during adolescence

 

Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award

Sisterhood-AwardThank you to Reflections from Me for nominating me for this awesome award. This is a blogger nominated award where you can get to know others by answering some light hearted questions.

 

Here are my questions and answers:

1.What has been your biggest pleasant surprise about starting your blogging career?

My biggest pleasant surprise has been that people who are not duty-bound to read my writing (ie my Mum) seem to engage and enjoy it!

When I first started blogging whilst travelling I was amazed to find that my friends were avidly waiting for the next instalment. But it was after the kilometres were clocked up that my personal journey really began. I had been a Career Mummy and I don’t mean I had a career while I raised my kids – my kids were my career! I baked, played, created, socialised and immersed myself in being the best Mummy I could be. But before I could blink my babies were 12 and 14, they refused to call me Mummy, rejected my helicopter parenting and sought independence! So it is exciting when mummy2mum strikes a chord with readers and they comment, subscribe and share my work.

 

2.If you could sit down with one person alive or not, who has influenced your writing who would it be and why?

If I could sit down with one person it’d be my Dad. He has been the greatest influence on my thinking, and as my writing reflects my thinking it is his presence that I feel when I write. Dad died in 2009, but we shared a deep desire to find meaning and truth through our lived experiences. On my 12th Christmas he had an astrological natal chart drawn up for me and inside the front cover he wrote the ancient Greek quote

‘Know thyself’.

He inspired me to become a deeply reflective thinker, and I write with a desire to ‘Know thyself’; including the good, the bad and the ugly!

 

3.Describe your fashion style or lack there of.

Undoubtedly Quirky!

Fashion sense

A picture speaks a 1000 words!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4.Pearls, Gold or Silver?

Silver every time.

I like pearls on other people, but they are too conservative for me. My wedding band is rose gold and I have some gold on my Pandora bracelet, but that’s about the extent of my gold collection!
 

5.Favourite children’s author past or present?

J. K. Rowling is my favourite author, although technically she writes for ‘children’ I think she speaks to the inner child in all of us. I have read and re-read the Harry Potter series many times, and both of my children share my passion for her writing. I have also been lucky enough to share her work as a teacher and many of my students  have been enthralled and inspired by the world she weaves.

 

6.Five foods or dishes you can never say ‘no’ to?

  • Salted Red Rock Deli chips – my favourite thing with a glass of wine.
  • Strong cheddar cheese – eaten with dates and crackers.
  • Chilli-con-carne – made by my husband with lashings of guacamole, sour cream and jalapeno.
  • Crispy bacon – with BBQ sauce and hash browns yum!
  • Fruit flavoured jelly sweets (lollies for my Aussie readers) – especially lemon flavoured jelly dinosaurs!

 

7.The album or singer you are embarrassed to admit you love?

Lets put it this way, I’m not embarrassed to admit to loving Leonard Cohen, but I don’t exactly advertise it either! Why? Because people just don’t get it!! His music is soulful performance poetry at it’s best and it’s mine to know and nobody else’s to share!
8.Are you a party girl or a homebody? And you have to pick one over the other here ladies.

I’m a homebody, although that ‘home’ could be a tent hundreds of KMs from civilisation!! I love spending time with my family, whether it’s sharing a home cooked meal and then curling up on the sofa in-front of a movie, or lighting a camp fire and watching the embers glow. My home is where my heart is and my heart belongs to them!
9.What inspires you to keep blogging?

Five things that inspire me to keep blogging:

  • Personal fulfilment – I simply enjoy it!
  • Purposeful reflection – it gives me a reason to purposefully explore the complexities of family life.
  • Making connections – I’m a social butterfly and I love to connect with my readers and talk to other bloggers.
  • Achieving a dream – writing for a living is my dream and blogging is the first step towards achieving it  
  • Discovering myself – as a Mum I hear the voices of my family, as a Writer I find my own voice.

 

10.Final question. If you published your dream novel, what style would it be? Fiction, non fiction, romance, murder mystery, self-help, advice, horror, or other?

I have always loved the escapism of the fantasy genre so my dream novel would be a fantasy adventure, following in the footsteps of writers such as Tolkein, Robin Hobb and Christopher Paolini.

 

I will nominate:

Kamille at Skinny Jeans Mum

Liz at The Connected Life

Sami at Craven The City

Glowless at Where’s My Glow?

Mariet at Practicing Normal

 

The Rules

Here are the rules:

  1. Link to the person who nominated you.
  2. Add the award logo.
  3. Answer the questions your nominator has asked.
  4. Nominate up to 7 other bloggers and let them know via messages or comments.
  5. Ask your nominees 10 questions.

 

Your 10 questions:

  1. What’s the most challenging thing you find about blogging and how do you overcome this challenge?
  2. What is your favourite quote and why?
  3. Name one piece of technology that you simply can’t live without.
  4. What is one thing that really annoys you?
  5. Describe one of your most embarrassing moments?
  6. What’s your favourite website and why?
  7. Name one thing that you’ve never done but would love to try.
  8. If you were stranded on a desert island with one book what would it be and why?
  9. If you could travel back in time what period in history would you visit and why?
  10. On your blog, which post is your favourite and why?

It’s Funny How Things Begin…

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Find your open road and just go wherever it takes you!

Comfort zones, what wonderful things they are! Warm, soft and safe, you know just what to expect and nothing ever changes. I enjoy being in a comfort zone, but it doesn’t take me long to feel the need to stretch my wings and push the limits of that space.

It often begins with a luxurious feeling of contentment, rolling in like ocean waves on a calm day.  I relax, breathe and enjoy it.

My comfort zone.

But it isn’t long before I feel fidgety here. My fingertips begin to tingle, my mind starts to look beyond the present and I start to imagine something more.

That’s why I’m here today. Pushing myself out of the comfort zone of my once-a-week blogging, and into this awesome link-up Friday Reflections. Leading the way are two amazing women who open my eyes to new possibilities and encourage me to raise the bar, Janine Ripper and Mackenzie Glanville.

When I think about why I started blogging, I can’t help but think about those comfort zones.

Last year my family and I decided to travel Australia off-road for 3 months in a camper trailer, I quit my job and started blogging! I left behind 3 of my bread-and-butter comfort zones for challenge, adventure and freedom.

This was not gentle shift …I went ‘cold turkey’ overnight!!

  • I loved my job, finding it totally absorbing as a full-time primary school teacher, considering the 30 children in my class like my extended family. Although I left them as their teacher in July, they didn’t leave me until September! I dreamt about them and constantly thought about things I should have passed on to their new teacher!

 

  • Leaving the house and working from a camper trailer was not so hard, I love roughing it without electricity or showers, but leaving my phone reception behind was painful!  Because we had such limited internet access and opportunities for phone calls were scarce I starting to write about our travels in my blog Speedykniebe.

 

  • The blog was a way to keep friends and family updated and I thought my children would enjoy writing posts for it too. It’s funny how things begin, they don’t always lead where you expect! I should have known that writing is not considered pleasurable by many teenage boys, especially when there are campfires to be built and fish to be caught! So I took on the job of the blog.

 

Just Writing

I just wrote whenever the laptop had charge (which wasn’t that often), jotting down exciting new discoveries, unexpected break downs (mechanical and emotional) and stories about crazy characters who spoke to crows. I found that I was starting to look forward to writing, and prioritized it above other things, such as washing clothes or feeding the family!

But there is one moment I remember that particularly stands out as a turning point for me.

I hadn’t figured out how to enable comments on Blogger so although  I posted every couple of weeks I never got any comments on my blog. While enjoying the luxury of a phone connection in Cairns my gorgeous friend Karen asked me impatiently ‘when are you going to put up another blog post?’ She told me with some irritation that her family had been reading them all and were waiting for the next post.

That was my watershed moment.

Somebody was waiting, impatiently and expectantly, to read my writing.

 

Reflecting on this now I think it really captures everything that makes me passionate about writing. Cliché though it may be, I love writing!

It takes me to a place within myself that I didn’t’ know existed, and something creative just flows.

I get such a buzz from the process of refining and expressing ideas in words, that to find someone else who enjoys reading those words is pure joy. It’s like seeing friends enjoy a delicious meal you’ve created, it nourishes the soul and connects people though a shared pleasure.

So the blog has grown from a travel journal to a journey of personal growth. It’s constantly growing and changing, therefore so am I.

Comfort zones are easier to recognise once you’ve left them behind, so my advice is don’t stay too long in places where nothing changes.

FRIDAY-REFLECTIONS-250-x-250

In Celebration of Friends #friendsday

Besties

Besties

After bemoaning the fact that I was lacking inspiration on what to blog this week, I put the phone down to my Bestie and thought about what she’s said:

I love reading your blog posts, you always write something amazing, I don’t know where it comes from!

Don’t under-sell yourself.

That was just what I needed to hear – support, encouragement and belief.

 

And that got me thinking about friends.

What are they and why are they so important to us?

Most people seem to have at least one, some have more than a dozen.

There is definitely an invisible compass that measures the degrees of friendship, letting you know when you cross the line between good friend and BFF. Female friendships are more tricky than boyfriends, primarily because you (usually) only have one boyfriend at a time, but you can have multiple friends. Unlike multiple boyfriends, you can introduce your friends to each other and although it’s not necessarily a ‘match made in heaven’, a punch up isn’t guaranteed either!

I have shared my life with many friends from different countries, continents and cultures, and this week I’m reflecting on the complex beauty of those relationships.

My five favourite friendship quotes and how they define my friendships:

 

Fear makes strangers of people who would be friends.

Shirley Maclaine.

I’m a big believer in opening your heart to people and diving in! Fear of rejection, feelings of inadequacy and over-thinking things holds too many people back from making friendships that could change lives. Don’t make strangers of people who could bring you inspiration, joy and adventure!

 

I don’t need a friend who changes when I change and who nods when I nod, my shadow does that much better.

Plutarch

Well said Plutarch! I did not choose my friends to humour me, they are there because I value their opinions, individuality and originality! When I ask my friends what they think, I know I can expect honesty sweetened  with a measure of compassion when necessary! Because I respect my friends I work hard to be honest in return, even if that means having the difficult conversations when things aren’t quite going to plan.

 

Men kick friendship around like a football, but it doesn’t seem to crack. Women treat it like glass and it goes to pieces.

Anne Morrow Lindberg.

Wow, this one rings true! The simplicity of male friendships is enviable at times, but it’s the complexity of all that emotional investment that makes my female friendships so intense! I have had friendships that are like delicately blown glass, they are beautiful and absorbing, but so easily broken! Sometimes it’s a clumsy word, a miscommunication that shatters it, but the fall-out is usually messy and leaves more than a few scars.

 

One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and be understood.

Lucious Anneaus Seneca

These friends are the BFFs of my life. When I’m with them I feel like I’m on the same page, the same wave length in mind, body and soul. These friends understand my passions, pains and petulant moods! They are the cornerstones of my life and although they number few, they are as essential as breathing itself.

 

A friendship can weather most things and thrive in thin soil; but it needs a little mulch of letters and phone calls and small, silly presents every so often – just to save it from dying out completely.

Pam Brown.

‘Little and often’ is my personal motto; I thrive best when I receive regular texts, random acts of kindness and quirky birthday cards. I strive to give the same back but I confess that my long distance friends do suffer neglect at times. Those friends who depend on me finding the time to write an email, send a photo or make a phone call have had to survive in some very thin soil! And that is why I thank Mark Zuckerman for creating a tool that enables the lazy busy friend to connect and comment, share a photo and never have an excuse to forget a birthday! Thank you Facebook!

You help me to mulch, water and grow my friendships around the world.

 

Lets turn today into a day to celebrate a friend.

Mark Zuckerberg  #friendsday!

 

This post is dedicated to MJP my BFF with love x

 

Zombie Mum!

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‘Mum where would you go if there was a Zombie invasion?’

Berry asked me this out of the blue last week. The ‘Mum Brain’ kicked into gear and I ran through a few options for responses: –

  1. Reassure Berry that there’s no such thing as Zombies
  2. Ask him why he’s asking
  3. Tell him where I’d go

Option 1 seemed irrelevant to the question, which was hypothetical, option 2 can be saved for later and option 3 is much more fun, so I went with it!

 

Escaping a Zombie Apocalypse

‘I’d get a massive yacht and sail away from all land and stay self-sufficient until it was all over! Can zombies swim though?’

‘They might be able to walk under water,’ Berry informed me seriously. And that’s when I opted for response number 1 – ‘You know there’s no such thing as Zombies don’t you?’

Well it turns out that there could be. And I suppose that I have told him that anything is possible!

But regardless of the fact that I recounted to him that there has never, in all of history, been a case of the living dead eating people, he still holds to the possibility! Quoting Ebola as an example, he thinks that a disease-causing Zombie like symptoms could lead to mass infection and invasion (although I was at pains to add that victims of Ebola do not eat each other!)!

Oh dear…I thought watching Zombie Land may have been a mistake!

 

So If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them!

When are zombies most scary? When they’re chasing you! But what if the tables were turned?

It just so happens that my gentle, kind mother, who has spent her entire adult life terrified of the memory of a Zombie movie my Dad took her to in her 20’s, arrived from the Uk with some gifts yesterday.

And guess what?  She bought Berry Zombie Dice!!

Perfect timing lol!

But…I am here to tell you that they’re great! You are the Zombie, so it’s not remotely scary. The aim is to eat as many brains as possible without getting shot too many times!

I’ve never aspired to be a Zombie, but Zombies-R-Us, so watch your backs (or your brains)!

Merry Christmas from mummy2mum!

A Journey Beyond Kilometers

family-roadtrip-togetherWe recently travelled for 3 months around Australia and I began blogging, mainly to share news and updates with friends and family, but also to record a journal of our adventures. As we travelled it was clear that this was not a journey measured only in kilometres, but in personal connection and growth.

We covered great distances from Broome to Cairns but the further we went from home the more home was found within us. It was as if the distance created by pursing individual goals diminished as we worked to achieve shared goals. Gaps and silences that had been sliding quietly into the spaces in our lives became filled with laughter and adventure. And when I reflect on the real journey that my blog documents, it is the record of our family re-connecting and evolving.

Now we’re back in Perth, back to school, work and hum-drum can we keep the connection alive? How do we maintain our individual lives without becoming fragmented again?