How do children learn? Certainly, it's our job as parents to send our kids to schools, be their advocates in getting a fine education, ascertaining special services as needed, and taking the time to learn how the curriculum is organized. But what about our role at home?
Here are Ten Ways to Improve Your Child's Education at Home
1. From the time your child is born, it's important to give them a reasonably stimulating environment. From mobiles above the crib to lively conversations while changing diapers, infants learn.
2. Reading to your child beginning with cloth picture books and advancing to chapter books once they read on their own shows your child you enjoy reading and they, too, will follow your lead.
3. Helping organization with homework is key to success. Helping your child organize their backpack so they can find that finished homework to hand in on time, sorting out papers for each subject into folders, and learning how to access assignments online all help your child prepare for success.
4. Being available to help with homework no matter how old your child is. Some kids learn and achieve very independently, but some need to have an adult nearby. The presence of an adult, even if not needed for the academic task, sometimes just gives the reinforcement needed to get the work done efficiently and effectively. If you hang around, a question here and there can be asked as needed.
5. Viewing each of your children as individuals helps them do the same. Children each have strengths to be proud of and weaknesses not to be ashamed of. Our attitude towards these pluses and minuses are identified with by the child. They seek parental approval even when it takes them longer to complete a task than their friend or sibling.
6. Everyday tasks offer educational opportunities. Figuring out a recipe for a cake means following instructions, doing things in sequence, measuring with math, using different utensils--all learning experiences. Similarly painting a wall, helping you put together their desk that comes unassembled, identifying plants and trees all provide learning experiences.
7. Visiting local areas of interest also further education from children's science museums, art museums, planetariums, and zoos, to visiting a city if you live in the country and vice versa.
8. Conversations improve educational opportunities more often than might be appreciated. Seek your child's point of view, learn their opinions, seek their advice on solving problems and they will learn how to think more effectively and you will have the benefit of learning how their minds work.
9. Car trips offer multiple learning opportunities, not just times to zone out with a video. Short trips provide opportunities for discussions about your child's and your own daily life and long trips provide sightseeing with stops along the way to see different areas of the country.
10. Teach your child sportsmanship when it comes to winning and losing. Help them see it's the process of learning for its own sake that's most important and long lasting than a single game or competition or grade.
Laurie Hollman, Ph.D., is a psychoanalyst with a recent book, Unlocking Parental Intelligence: Finding Meaning in Your Child's Behavior, found on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Familius and wherever books are sold.