When the great illusionist David Blaine was asked how he manages to achieve difficult stunts he admitted he says to himself, somewhat pragmatically; “so today I’m going to have breakfast, read the paper and stand in an ice block”. When your teenager looks a bit stuck about how to make time for revision, rather than say to them “please go and do some revision now”, it is better to say “today we will have breakfast, then you will do three hours of GCSE revision before lunch, and then we can all take a break watching a film or going for a walk.” The three part structure helps them see a beginning, middle and end to the process, which is like seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
How To Set GCSE Revision Goals
Revision goals must be sensible and achievable, and for many, time-bonded. Revision time can be like this, with the parts where the work gets done framed inside the nicer bits like having a lovely breakfast. David Blaine cannot enjoy standing on an ice block for hours, but just like revision, if it has to be done, it has to be done. The question begs an answer: how do I get my child to agree to set revision goals?
Think about What You Know
You know your child better than anyone else. Ask yourself, which approach they respond to the best? Is it short bursts of revision activity followed by physical breaks, treats, or games? Or are they fairly self-motivated but directionless, preferring to sit in their room for long periods of time reading the entire history of the Weimar Republic? Maybe they will be inspired by a visit to a museum, park or place of history. Perhaps they react well to careful planning and a revision timetable or prefer to have tasks sprung upon them. How long can they remain focused on a task? Incorporate their individual style into a revision programme and you’ll see an immediate positive response. Your child will realise you know them well and understand how to make what can seem a monolithic task do-able. Now you can set your goals together, gaining agreement along the way, so it feels more like a team effort than something being forced upon them.
Offer to Help
You may not be a subject specialist so think about what else you can do to support your child. When I watch David Blaine performing his incredible feats of endurance I remember one of his most famous quotes: “we are all capable of infinitely more than we believe”. Ultimately, you know what is best for your child and how to help them succeed when revising their GCSE subjects. Perhaps it is as simple as making sure they have their favourite dinners a few times, or that you record their TV programmes for them to watch later. We all work towards our goals when we can see a finish point. Having something to look forward to makes GCSE revision time more pleasant for everyone.