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What Parents Need to Know to Support Learning at Home
by: Priyanka Raha ~ 5/9/2024


Discover simple tips to nurture your child’s learning and curiosity.

The world around us, as we see, is constantly evolving in how we learn and how we work. So the landscape of education is changing as well. Along with the role of teachers, the role of parents remains paramount. As a teacher and a leader of a learning academy, I've had countless interactions with curious, concerned parents eager to support their children's academic journeys. Through these conversations, I've identified common queries and key areas where parents can make a significant difference. With this article my goal is to shed light on these frequently asked questions and offer vital insights that every parent should be aware of, ensuring they are equipped to foster a nurturing and effective learning environment at home.

Common Questions Parents Ask

How can I help my child with homework?
Homework can sometimes be a battleground for parents and children. To assist without taking over, establish a consistent routine and environment for homework. Encourage your child to tackle assignments independently first, then review their work together, discussing any mistakes to reinforce learning. Use questions that promote thinking, like “What do you think this question wants you to do?” This helps develop their problem-solving skills without giving away the answers.

What should I do if my child dislikes a subject?
It's not uncommon for children to struggle with or show disinterest in certain subjects. As a parent, you can help by connecting the subject to their interests. For example, if your child enjoys video games but dislikes math, show them how game developers use math to create their games. Also, consider using different media like videos, apps, and interactive websites that make learning more engaging. Remember, attitude is contagious; show enthusiasm for the subject, and your child might follow suit.

How important is reading at home?
Reading is fundamental in developing not just academic skills but also emotional and social abilities. Encourage reading at home by integrating it into your daily routine. You can read about the benefits of critical reading in this article. Discuss the books your child reads, ask questions about the story, characters, and their thoughts. This not only improves comprehension skills but also helps you connect with your child on new levels. Moreover, let your child see you read; modeling behavior is a powerful teaching tool.

How can I encourage my child to write?
Encouraging your child to write can be approached with creativity and enthusiasm to make the process engaging and fun. Start by creating a 'writing space' in your home, which could be a small desk or a corner that is dedicated to writing activities. Equip it with colorful stationery, stickers, and various types of paper to spark interest. Additionally, introduce them to writing prompts that align with their interests, such as composing a short story about their favorite superhero or writing a letter to a character from a book they love. Read this article to learn more about six actionable tips to help struggling writers.

Another effective strategy is to involve your child in daily writing tasks. Ask them to help you write out the grocery list, or encourage them to keep a journal where they can jot down their thoughts or what they did each day. For younger children, this could be drawing a picture and writing a couple of sentences about it. For older children, consider introducing them to blogging or writing book reviews, which can be shared with family or on safe, child-friendly online platforms. By integrating writing into everyday activities, you help them see writing not just as a school task, but as a valuable tool for communication and expression in all areas of life.

How can I encourage my child to speak up or express themselves?
Encouraging your child to speak up and express themselves confidently can be greatly supported by creating a supportive and open communication environment at home. Start by regularly engaging in discussions on a variety of topics, showing genuine interest in what they have to say. This could be during dinner time or while driving them to school. Ask open-ended questions that require more than a yes or no answer, such as “What was the most interesting thing you learned today?” or “How would you have handled that situation?” This practice helps them formulate their thoughts and opinions and gives them the confidence to share them.

Additionally, consider role-playing games where your child practices speaking in different scenarios, like ordering at a restaurant, asking a teacher for help, or expressing an opinion in a group. This not only prepares them for real-life interactions but also makes them comfortable with articulating their thoughts and needs. Praising them for their efforts to communicate and gently guiding them to improve their clarity and articulation can further bolster their confidence. Encourage them to participate in activities like debate clubs or drama classes where they can hone their public speaking skills and become more assertive in expressing themselves.

How can I help my child manage stress, especially during exams or school projects?
To help your child manage stress, especially during exams or school projects, it's important to establish a balanced routine that includes time for study, rest, and play. Encourage your child to break down large tasks into manageable chunks and to set realistic goals for each study session. This helps reduce the overwhelming feeling that can lead to stress. Additionally, teach them relaxation techniques such as deep breathing exercises, mindfulness, or gentle physical activity like yoga. These strategies can help calm their mind and improve focus. Regular discussions about their feelings can also be beneficial, as it allows them to express any anxieties and receive reassurance and support, reinforcing that it's okay to seek help when overwhelmed.

What can I do to ensure my child is developing good social skills?
To ensure your child is developing good social skills, provide them with various opportunities to interact with others in different settings. Arrange playdates, encourage participation in team sports, or involve them in community activities such as volunteering. These experiences teach children how to cooperate, resolve conflicts, and understand different perspectives. At home, you can model effective communication and empathetic behavior through your interactions with family members and others. Discussing different social scenarios and role-playing can also be a helpful tool in teaching children how to respond to social cues and engage appropriately with peers. Praising positive social interactions and gently correcting missteps can further guide them in refining their social skills.

Things Parents Should Know:

The value of encouraging curiosity and questions:
Curiosity drives learning, especially in subjects like science and English, where understanding evolves through inquiry. Encourage your child to ask questions, and more importantly, teach them how to find answers through research and exploration. This habit helps them become independent learners and critical thinkers, skills vital in all areas of life.

The importance of a consistent study schedule:
Consistency is key in education. Establish a predictable timetable for studying that fits your child’s natural rhythms. For some, this might be an hour after school; for others, evenings might work better. Ensure this time is free from distractions like television and social media. A routine helps condition the brain to switch into 'study mode,' improving focus and retention.

Feedback over grades:
While grades are often seen as the measure of a student’s ability, they do not always reflect true understanding or the effort put in. Focus on the feedback provided by teachers, which is more detailed and constructive. Discuss this feedback with your child, understand their challenges, and celebrate their efforts. This approach not only motivates but also helps them strive for improvement without the fear of failure.

Maintaining Open Communication with Teachers
One critical aspect that parents should prioritize is maintaining open communication with their child's teachers. By regularly attending parent-teacher meetings and keeping in touch with educators, you gain valuable insights into your child's academic progress and the expectations set for them in the classroom. This ongoing dialogue not only helps you address any academic or behavioral issues early but also strengthens your support for your child’s educational journey, ensuring that you are aligned with the teaching methods and goals of the school.

Using Real-World Examples to Explain Complex Ideas
To help your child grasp complex concepts, try integrating real-world examples into your explanations. For instance, if your child is learning about percentages, discussing shopping discounts or cooking measurements can make the topic more relatable and easier to understand. This method helps demystify challenging subjects and can spark interest in topics that your child might previously have found daunting. By connecting school lessons to everyday life, you enhance your child’s ability to apply their learning in various contexts, which boosts their confidence and comprehension.

Exploring Educational Resources
In today’s digital age, a wealth of educational resources is available at your fingertips. Platforms like Khan Academy, Coursera, and National Geographic Kids offer interactive and personalized learning experiences that can significantly enhance traditional classroom education. Encourage your child to explore these resources, which can cater to their individual learning pace and style. These tools not only supplement what they learn in school but also encourage self-directed learning and curiosity outside the structured school environment, helping to develop lifelong learning habits.

The partnership between teachers and parents is crucial in shaping the educational experience of children. By staying informed, proactive, and involved, parents can significantly influence their child's attitude towards learning and their overall academic success. Remember, every child is different, and adjusting strategies to fit their unique needs will make your efforts more effective.

Finding new ways to inspire kids to stay curious, learn, and communicate effectively is one of my life’s work which is why I include many fun activities in our writing classes to inspire the next generation of thinkers and explorers. Want to learn more about our story writing classes? Check us out here.

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