Thursday, March 24, 2011

How to Enhance Learning at Home

Helping Your Child's Teacher Teach Your Child
Children attend school for approximately 8 hours a day, for 180 days a year. Teachers teach your children the school curriculum, in addition to manners, safety, social skills and much more. Although it is a teacher's job to teach his or her students, the learning shouldn't stop once the child goes home for the day. Daily lessons should be expanded on my parents at home in order for children to truly benefit from what they learn in school. Parents should block out time each day to expand on the academic lessons taught.
Parents should also speak with children about the activities they participated in throughout the day. Social skills are also a big portion of what children acquire in school. On a daily basis, children interact with other children, teachers, counselors and much more. Parents should speak with their child about who they spoke with and interacted with throughout the day and how they made them feel. Lastly, children spend another approximately 180 days at home either on weekends or summer and winter vacations. Even if it's for just five minutes, parents should still take time each day during off days making teachable moments and reinforcing what was recently learned in school.
Academic Lessons
After school can be a hectic time at home. Music, dance, sports and many other activities children participate in leave little time for quality time with parents spent discussing the school day. Even if it's for 5 minutes after dinner or a few minutes during bath time, parents should still spend some time discussing what was learned during the day with their children. For example, if your child learned percentages in math that day, help him figure out what percentage of his dinner he must eat before he gets dessert. If he learned spelling, use foam bath letters and have him spell out new words he learned in the tub. If your child learned a new exercise or game in physical education, take the family outside after dinner and have him teach everyone what he learned.
Teaching something that you learned is the best way to retain it yourself! Teachers also depend on parents to help their children with homework and continue the teaching at home. While this will not replace a teacher's role, it will add to it and solidify academic lessons because children have real life experiences to relate them to,
New Activities & Experiences
Maybe your child had to work in a group for the first time during the school day. Maybe he had to give a speech in front of the class. Either way, it's something he has not yet experienced in the past. Ask you child about his new experience and how it made him feel. Does he prefer to work alone or in groups? Does he prefer to work with certain children in his classroom or does he prefer girls over boys in his group? These are all questions that will tell you a lot about your child's personality and will allow you to learn something about him you may not have known before. Maybe your child was in trouble but it wasn't major enough for you to be notified by the teacher. If your child is used to coming home and telling you all about the activities he participated in throughout the day, he'll feel more comfortable confiding in you when good or when bad things happen.
Recess & Play Time
During the school day, children also have unstructured playtimes during recess and snack times. During these times, children interact with each other without guidance from other adults and often end up dealing with conflicts on their own. They form relationships, have arguments, learn to share and much more. This is one of the major parts of a child's school day because these interactions will be the basis for his or her adult relationships.
Weekends, Holidays and Summer Vacations
Although children get a break from school on weekends, holidays and summer vacations, this does not mean that learning should cease. Many children will forget what was previously learned if it is not repeated and reviewed at home on weekends or especially during long winter or summer breaks. Parents should invest in review books and materials that reinforce lessons learned at home. Books should also be abundant at home and parents should encourage reading at the earliest age possible, preferably starting when babies are only months old. Encouraging a love of reading at an early age will foster a love of reading far into adulthood.
The internet is also an excellent tool for parents. There are a variety of websites that offer learning tools free of charge. There are activity pages, learning games and much more all free of charge at the touch of a keyboard. Museums and cultural festivals are also a great way to enhance learning in children. Many museums have free days for children to attend.
Learning should be something that's fostered, nourished and encouraged as often as possible both at home and at school. Parents play an important role in ensuring that learning continues beyond the school day and that what is learned during the school day is maintained.

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