The first few years when the kids are at home, you teach them everything. From learning to walk to counting to ten and the importance of being kind and considerate. When they get into school, a teacher will take over the lion’s share of their education. Their whole world opens up, science experiments, prefixes, suffixes, nouns, quadratic equations.
But, whether you homeschool or your kids go to a school, there is so much that you can do at home to help. It used to be much more difficult to gather resources and stock up on great books and kits. But now, the internet has given us the ability to order everything from crystals making kids, to giant science kits – and so much more. You can even take math tests and calculate percent change with the help of the internet.
“You cannot make people learn. You can only provide the right conditions for learning to happen.” ~ Vince Gowmon
Not everyone loves to bring all the cakes to a bake sale. Just like not every parent wants to take part in the sports day. But, this isn’t about what you love and what you don’t. The reason we show up and give it our all – is so the kiddos can see us doing it.
When you have more than one child, it can feel like there is just wave after wave of things you need to do. Big projects, sports days, plays, competitions… and so much more.
But by getting involved in the school stuff, you’ll get more insight into how to translate it in the home. If they have an Easter bonnet making competition, you can spend hours or days creating something incredible.
One of the quickest ways to reinforce a negative mindset on learning is to agree with your child on a bad day. Sometimes we want to make them feel better, and soothing them is second nature. But, if you actively listen to the problem you might find that actually, you can put a positive spin on it.
Show them that you value their education and the time they spend in school. If you want to really show how much knowledge means to you, you can take a home course yourself. Simply setting a significant, positive example of learning, and academia will give them a boost.
That boost will be translated into how they perform in school. They will tackle things in a much more upbeat manner – and it will show. Learning can be enjoyable with the right mindset.
“Children are great imitators. So give them something great to imitate.”
No one ever said they love to read the same story every night for 3 years. But, reading with your child will give them an excellent basis for further reading. It will make them feel like reading, in any form is an enjoyable thing. A comforting thing. Once they have enough words under their belt, encourage them to read to you.
Reading is essential for all school lessons, even sport has some theory behind it! So lay those strong foundations for a love of words.
Sadly so many libraries are closing due to a lack of funding and visitors. But, they still hold a wealth of information. And, there is nothing as satisfying as walking the aisles of books that have been enjoyed by hundreds of people. Piling up a mix of educational books and ones just for fun, and checking them out.
It teaches a lot about responsibility – because they need to take care of the books, pay attention to when they need to be returned, and make the most of them while they have them.
Libraries can also provide a quiet study space for children (and you), they often hold special readings and sales of books that no longer can be borrowed out.
“If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.”
— Albert Einstein, theoretical physicist
Technology, like computers and tablets, are great for learning at home. There are so many programs that you can download – for free – that monitor their progress on things like math, science, and English. You can do the work together, or you can just check in on their progress.
While many parents still like to limit the use of tablets and computers, if you have a range of educational options, they will often opt to use them. Many are in the form of games and quizzes, which are a lot of fun.
It is still prudent to talk to your child about internet safety and set up the appropriate parental controls. But for the most part, you can have a healthy balance of tech usage that helps build their knowledge base.
If they are feeling less confident in like maths, you can arrange online tutoring or online learning programs to help give them a boost of confidence too.
A lot of the older years success is based on, the younger years foundations. Encouraging your child to maintain a good homework schedule and work during the same period each day will allow them space to work independently.
Establish simple rules, like the hour before dinner is for homework. And that if they aren’t at the table to work, that they won’t be reminded – they need to take the lead on their homework completion or studying for the test they have.
You can also have a list of things that they need to do each week, to help the house, and their school work, run smoothly.
Talk To Them
Or instead – let them talk. Kids always have 500 questions, and while some of them might seem totally out of the left field – they all have a place in their knowledge base. This will help you both learn how to actively listen when people are asking questions and when they are talking.
From an early age, talking to your child will build their language up. The more they have been spoken to, the earlier they tend to tackle words.
Be interested. We all do it when you have had a long day, and you just want some peace. That might be the exact moment someone needs to talk to you about what they learned in history class. Unfortunate timing. But, if you can, give them some space to talk about it. It will help to process and retain the information at a later date.
Talking is essential for language development too. Which means they will be able to articulate to you what they mean earlier. As well as follow instructions more easily.
Not everything your child will be interested in will come in a school shaped package. It might be time to check out what the additional options are. Encourage your child to explore different avenues. Horse riding, musical instruments, reading, writing, sports… The list is endless. But, when they find the love of learning, because they are interested in it, it kicks in their natural active learning instinct.
That active learning will be translated into their schooling.
Helping your children learn at home is a lot about encouragement. But, you don’t need to know all of the answers. You can use the library, or the internet to help them find the answers – and that means you are even teaching them to research (and that no one knows everything!).