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Helping your child to prepare for exams

Whether they’re facing practice exams or the real thing, most teenagers feel increased pressure as assessments approach. This can create added stress for students and others in their household. If left unmanaged, it may continue to build for some children, undermine achievement and, in the long-term, possibly cause health problems.

Here are some ideas for parents who want to support their son or daughter as they prepare for exams. Most are written as suggested tips for students, so you can share them with your teenager and find out which tips they think would be good for them.

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Help Your Child Do Better at School in 3 Easy Steps

As a parent, you have a key role in passing your educational values onto your children and motivating them to achieve success at school. If you aren’t involved in your child’s education, chances are that they will understand this to mean you didn’t value it at all, and won’t put any effort in studying and fulfilling their school duties. To motivate your child to do better at school, you shouldn’t nag and criticise them, but rather use the following, more constructive techniques.

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Education in New Zealand: A report card

New Zealand is the best place to live on earth. It’s official. The Legatum Prosperity Index ranks New Zealand first in the prosperity index . With nine measures that encompass business, health, social, and educational aspects, New Zealand rankings have consistently been high over the last 10 years. However, one of the lowest rankings is for education. When other aspects are performing so well, what’s happening with schooling?

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Make Study Effective

With the recent interest in the brain and how it works, some new suggestions have come forward for better, more effective study. And some of them are in complete opposition to the study advice that has been given for a long time – advice that I have given to many a student over the years.

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Being Opinionated

At this time of year, many parents ask about how they can help their child with their writing tasks. One writing task may be to write a persuasive text. Students have to argue their own opinion in a convincing way.

You can help your child with this by asking them their opinion on any topic that comes up - from the news, events at school, the actions of a character in a story/movie. ‘What do you think about that?’ ‘Do you agree with what he/she did?’ ‘What would you like to happen instead?’

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Is OK good enough?

When we ask parents how their child is doing at school, we are often told – “They are doing ok”. My question is – is ‘OK’ good enough for you as a parent?

Is your child aware of the level expected of them this year? Are they working to their best ability? If they are at high school, are they planning their homework and study time to fit in with their assessments? Assessments are held throughout the year and success is not solely based on the exams at the end.

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Learning Styles

The Importance of Learning Styles

Most educators recognise three broad learning styles in children - visual, auditory and kinaesthetic. Each style refers to a preferred way of receiving and processing information in order to learn.

When you help your child to learn, you probably favour teaching methods that suit your own learning style. That’s because those approaches work for you and you believe them to be the most effective. Taking a moment to discover and understand your child’s learning style, as well as your own, can quickly turn hard work into plain sailing.

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Is tutoring right for my child?

With the introduction of achievement standards, continuous assessment and higher entry requirements for tertiary courses, parents are focusing more and more on their child’s academic performance at school. A generation ago most parents just let the school get on with it, but today they’re a lot more involved and naturally concerned about how to bring out the best in their child, whatever that may be.

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The power of digital learning

Digital learning refers to learning that’s assisted by computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones. Over the last 10 years, their contribution to education has grown significantly. How, where and when children learn today is very different from what you experienced at school.

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How Pocket Money Teaches Money Management Skills

Do your children receive pocket money? We believe pocket money should begin as soon as children start developing number skills – even if it’s just a couple of dollars a week. It’s never too soon to teach children how to handle and manage money.

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Seven Ways to Take the Stress Out of Homework

Whether parents like it or not, primary and secondary schools continue to send children home with work to do. We can’t see this changing in the not-too-distant future, but we can offer some strategies to take the hard work out of homework.

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Seniors

For seniors, Term 3 is when the reality of looming assessments and exams begin to bite. Our experience has shown that senior students who have developed a well-organised study schedule by now are more likely to reach their exams feeling prepared and confident, able to achieve at their potential.

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Big Vocab, Better Stories

Lots of parents ask what they can do to help with their child’s English development, particularly their story writing. Consider this - If you want to build a fabulous house, you need fabulous materials. If you want to write a wonderful story you need wonderful words - and lots of them. In short, they need an extensive vocabulary

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School reports and interviews

No matter how well your child has been doing, school reports and parent/teacher interviews can be stressful for everyone in the family. If things haven’t gone well, or they’re just not quite as good as you expected, it’s important to avoid the blame game. The trick is to celebrate what has been achieved and focus attention on solutions to areas of weakness

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7 secrets to raising awesome, functional teenagers.

Teenagers are incredible. They are funny, smart, eager to please, and up for just about anything as long as food is involved. They have the most generous hearts and want desperately to be loved and validated. They are quirky and messy and have the best sense of humor.

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Helpful tips for exams

People practise content but they don't practise test techniques. The key criteria of tests are that they are unpredictable and timed. The work done in class and the homework based on class work is always predictable and rarely timed. Effective practice for a test will come from attempting unpredictable work in a timed scenario. At home, unpredictable questions might come from a different text book or past exam papers. Then you need to self-enforce a time limit during your practice. For exam practice, we are lucky to have past practice tests available for students to work through.

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4 Steps to a Positive Parent-Teacher Relationship

Teachers are wonderful creatures with an amazing insight into your child's development. To make the most of these interview sessions, I always tell parents to Accept, Help, Ask and Listen:

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Why parents should stop doing so much for their kids

According to a dietitian I heard on the radio recently, organic fruits and vegetables are healthier than produce grown with pesticides, fertilisers and other aids. The dietitian explained that because organic produce has to fend for itself, it has to work harder as a plant if it is to thrive and flourish.

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25 ways to ask your kids how school was today

... without actually asking them 'how was school today?'

It's the same every day - you collect your cherub from school and ask them how it went. The response rarely varies. 'Fine', 'Good', 'OK'.

You probe further, asking your mini munchkin what they actually did that day. 'Can't remember,' 'Not much, 'Don't know', 'Nothing really'.

BUT YOU KNOW THIS IS NOT TRUE!

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Change your words, change your world

I’m sure you’ve heard of this: ‘If you tell a person often enough that they are stupid, they will soon begin to believe it.’ The words we use, whether talking to others or to ourselves, have a profound effect on our mindset.

Mindset is, in effect, how you see the world and yourself in the world. With a negative mindset, the world seems difficult; small setbacks feel like failures; new situations feel daunting; trying feels hopeless. With a positive mindset, mistakes are for learning from; something new is an exciting challenge; hard work brings results; the world is a great place to be.

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Keep children’s brains active in the holidays

I'm often asked by parents what they should be doing to keep up their children’s learning in the school holidays. The holidays provide an ideal opportunity for parents to encourage their children to view learning as a life-long activity, not just something you do at school. Just as much learning occurs informally as it does formally in the classrooms and children need occasionally to be left to educate themselves.

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Holidaying with children

‘To travel is to live’ said celebrated children’s author Hans Christian Anderson. Seeing new places and taking a break from routine invigorates, refreshes and inspires us. Of course, Hans probably never had to travel with kids screaming ‘Are we there yet?’ in the back of his horse and carriage! Travel can be one of the best experiences you’ll ever share as a family, but it can also be pretty challenging. Family travel requires a lot more planning than travelling solo, but the rewards are well worth the effort!

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Supporting Your Child’s Study Habits

Here are some great tips from Linda Reid St Cuthberts Principal

The first of the year’s exams are not far away and students and teachers are working hard at the College to revise learning material in class.

Of course we all know that you get out what you put in, so how can you assist your child with revision at home? We’ve compiled a list of tips and tricks below to help you support your child’s success in exams.

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Parents are baffled by homework

According to the late, great Franklin D. Roosevelt, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Unless, apparently, you’re among the 17 to 30 percent of children who have maths anxiety! Or you might be among the parents who experience ‘maths homework anxiety’ when you try to help your child with the day’s assignment sent home from school. Trying to keep up with the multiple strategies that children must learn in order to do their homework is not an easy thing.

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Learning with fun

While popular slogans like ‘no pain, no gain’ and ‘genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration’ have some merit, there’s a danger they’ll send any kind of fun straight to the frivolous bin. And there’s a big problem with that, because fun is every child’s friend when it comes to learning.

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Two Teacher Tips

Recently, I cornered one of our English specialists and one of our Maths specialist and asked them, "What is one thing someone taught you that made a difference?" I thought I would share their responses. I hope it makes a difference for you like it did for them!

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The 4 ingredients that improve examination success

It's that time of year again. All over New Zealand, intermediate and high school students watch with varying degrees of anticipation or despair as exams loom over the horizon.

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Big Decision Time - Tips to Help With Choosing a New School

Changing schools and particularly making the move to High School is always a big decision for you and your child. You will be faced with a barrage of information from school Open Days to take in about the next step in your child's education.

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Name the picture

Study each picture and try and determine what it represents before looking at the answer below the picture.

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What you need to know about memory

If you want to commit multiplication facts to memory, it is worth taking time to look at some ways to make information easier to remember.

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Extending basic facts to estimating BIG number multiplication

This game is based on noughts and crosses, but can be played by 2 or 3 players. Instead of a blank 3 by 3 grid, draw up a grid of 6 by 6 squares and write into them (in a random order) the numbers: 70, 110, 130, 140, 160, 190, 210, 220, 260, 290, 300, 320, 370, 380, 420, 460, 470, 480, 530, 560, 610, 660, 680, 700, 750, 820, 830, 850, 940, 970, 1050, 1110 and 1250.

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Start with the answers

The common errors children make are mixing up the answers 63 and 64, and 56 and 54. If your child has a tendency to confuse the answers to 7x9 and 8x8 or 7x8 and 6x9, you can sometimes help them sort it out by working from the answer back to the factors.

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Patterns to make times tables easier

Some of you may find the pattern of the 4x table that I’m about to highlight so obvious that you wonder why I’m writing about it. Others will say “Wow I never noticed that” and the rest will probably think “But how could that help?”

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Spelling - Why is it so tricky?

Parents often say that they don’t understand why their child can perform so well on the school weekly test, but can’t retain the words for future use in written text.

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When reading predictions don't make sense

Read the following paragraph and reflect on your reading.

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Fostering a Love of Learning

Ultimately, we want our children to love to learn. A passion for learning is quite different from just studying to earn a grade or to please parents or teachers.

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Making the most of Parent Teacher interviews

Below are some ideas for questions to ask at parent-teacher interviews. If your child is in year 9-13 you could repeat the first five questions with each subject teacher, and the last three with their form teacher or dean.

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Our Children are Digital Learners

These days, digital media is one of the main conflicts between the adults in the house and the kids. Almost all houses ring with sounds of "Turn off the computer and come to dinner", "No, you've watched enough TV today", and "Tidy your room or I'll take away your favourite thing - Nintendo!"

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The Science Behind Learning and Having FUN!

EVERYTHING we experience is a form of 'stress' ... some of it good, a lot of it bad.

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Tips for sitting Tests and Exams

At the moment a lot of students are facing tests and exams. By now schools are well through the content they need to cover and are starting to revise for end of year assessments. How is your child’s study going? Does your child know their assessment dates? Do they have a study routine?

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Stop your child procrastinating over homework

Procrastination - we’re all guilty of it in some form or another. I believe it is human nature to procrastinate to some extent. In fact, if there was a Bachelor of Procrastination - I’d already have the certificate on my wall! I found this website very interesting as we consider how our children tackle tasks put in front of them. I've also summarised the main points below.

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Does learning stop when school stops?

Summer Holidays are fantastic! Remember that feeling of abandon as you raced out of the classroom on the last day of school, ready for those endless days of summer. No school, no homework, no assignments. Yesss!

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Graphics Calculators

If you have a child starting Year 9 High School you are likely to see “scientific calculator” in their stationery list. If they are still taking mathematics in Year 12, it will be “graphics calculator”. The graphics calculator will do anything the scientific one will do, plus a whole lot more.

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When Children Fail in School: Understanding Learned Helplessness

Learned helplessness is the belief that our own behaviour does not influence what happens next; that is, behaviour does not control outcomes or results.

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How can you help your early-primary child to master the basics?

To become proficient with both English and maths, there has to be an underlying foundation of basics permanently embedded in your child’s memory. While there will always be a need for figuring things out on the spot, your child can’t escape the need to rote-learn certain words and basic number facts.

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Back to School

A child that is mentally prepared, has all the right materials, and is supported by an organised parent from day one starts confidently!

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Apostrophes, and comma’s (spot the deliberate errors)

More than a hundred years ago, the great writer George Bernard Shaw refused to use apostrophes, however there’s still no sign of them going away.

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Success for the new School Year

Most children begin the new school year with hope - either hope that this year will be as rewarding as the last or hope that things will be a bit better this time around.

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Spelling with meaning

Most children begin the new school year with hope - either hope that this year will be as rewarding as the last or hope that things will be a bit better this time around.

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Student Assessment Information

Many of you will have heard your child or teacher talk about assessments like asTTLe or PATs to name a few. Information you may find useful when looking at these tests or hearing about the results from your child:

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Children's books become a healing tool

Book-jacket designer Raquel Jaramillo never intended her first book to take a stand against school-yard bullying.

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