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How can parents support learning at home?

David Kirkham
David Kirkham (17 posts) Principal, NAIS Manila View Profile

Throughout the school closure, the staff is working hard on producing exciting opportunities for children to study at home. It is essential to create an environment at home that supports the learning process.

How you prepare your child for learning at home is just as important as them completing the tasks. Ensure that you set a specific time during the day to work with the children and remember breaks are just as important to refuel and work off some of that boundless energy all children seem to have.


After the tasks have finished, and your child is eager to learn more, what can you do too?   

 

Here are some tips that can help you support learning at home:

bedtime reading

For our EYFS and Primary students:

1. Read to students every night

I'm not sure I can ever stress this enough. I've taught so many children whose first experience holding a book happened on their first day of school. They were miles behind the other students. It is a beautiful, quiet moment of imagination and fun to experience with your child.  Whether it’s a bedtime story, an article in a magazine or a children’s comic, reading is the foundation of successful learning.

2. Make the every day a teachable moment

Think of how often you use maths, reading, and science concepts every day. It's there in the clouds, in the dinner bowl, in the signs, in the environment around you. Ask your children questions, answer theirs, involve them in cooking, making a shopping list on a budget, and solving problems. You will be surprised by what they can do and what they learn. Small, simple things go such a long way. We learn best by doing, and they have the highest chance of doing by experiencing life as it is.

3. Be patient and let the child do it

I know how tough this is, especially when you are in a rush, but make an effort to pause and take an extra five minutes to allow your child to do the task themselves.  Let them brush their teeth, get dressed, sweep the floor, climb up and down the stairs, draw the pictures, try to read, or sound out their writing words. Empowerment is the best way to encourage a lifelong pattern of learning.

4. Be the enthusiastic learner role model

I LOVE learning, and I am sure I pass on a positive attitude to growth subconsciously to my children. Children learn by imitation. Show them how to be a good and passionate learner: be curious, patient, and optimistic; persevere through challenges and think aloud your approaches to problem-solving; get excited by your achievements.

5. Reduce screen time

We all know the dangers of too much screen time, be it the television or tablets. There's nothing wrong with it in small doses and at selected times of the week. Excessive screen time steals away moments of learning and parent interaction. 

family board game

6. Play more games

You've shut off the screens; now you can hit the board games. Board games are fun, they are a great way to spend quality time together, and they are full of learning.

7. Don't forget Dad's input

Traditionally mums have been the ones to help out with homework or volunteer at the school, but Dads encouragement and support are also vital. Dads love it, and the kids adore having this more personal interaction in a different way. They will care more about learning when they know both parents do.

dad and kid cooking together

8. Focus on process and growth, not results

Results are an essential measure for how we are growing, but it is not the only way. What is far better is to focus on the learning processes and improvements. So, when your child comes home with an 86% on a test, but you wished it was a 90%, focus on the applied effort and how it improved from the last test. You can then discuss how you could make it even better next time.

9. Cushion the criticism

We can't always hide our children from criticism; they do need to know the areas in which they have to step it up. But, if you start with the criticism, they will more than likely close their ears. So, start with a definite statement, then deliver the critique (in a constructive way) and then end with another positive comment. That way, they know you love and care for them and are helping them to improve.

10. Create projects together based on interests

Run with your child's interests. It's up to you to enhance that for them.

Create little projects around their interests if they love flowers, design, and build their small garden in the backyard. If they show keen artistic talents, set up a little art room and create projects they can do. 

shop project with dad

For our Secondary Students:

The Learning Environment:

Students need to be in the right frame of mind to study. Set a consistent time aside for them to complete their work. It needs to be a quiet, calm space and there should be no TV in the room. The fewer distractions the better.

Responsibility:

The students are independent enough to take responsibility to complete the work set by their tutor. They will know the success criteria and expectations for their work and they should be meeting those expectations for each piece of work.

Ask for help:

Teachers are available to support the students, use them!

Meet deadlines:

Time management is something that many students struggle with. It is an important skill to learn in itself. Ensure that students are meeting deadlines for work submission to allow staff to be able to mark and provide feedback quickly.

Remember this is a great opportunity for you to see how your child learns and how we approach learning at the school.

- David