The disruption of 2020 means that many children may feel less than confident about their ability to maintain what they’ve learned, particularly when it comes time to return to the classroom. To make sure your child is both ready and secure in that knowledge, there are several steps you can take to help them look forward to school in any format.
Use a Timer
Disruption is hard on children; distractions are worse. If possible, block out time when kids are unable to see things that they use for entertainment, such as games, television, or computer activities not related to school. Remind kids as you set the timer that for the next set amount of time, all they need to think about or worry about is school.
If your child is competitive, use the timer tool as the starting gun of a race. Your child wants to do well, and if you’re teaching, they want you to be impressed and pleased. A timer that offers the chance to check the countdown will add to the fun and reduce distractions.
Set Up a Defined Space
If your child is working on improving their reading, create a “nest” for them and their reading buddy on the couch or in a large chair. If you’re concerned about what books to use, check out the advice of the experts from the Reading Tutor Program Frisco TX to make sure your child is challenged but not drowning.
Your child may be nervous or anxious about reading out loud, particularly if there are multiple family members around. If your child is shy about the process, provide them a private space with a beloved stuffed animal or the family pet and put them to work reading together. It doesn’t matter which book your child reads with a non-verbal partner; in fact, this may be the time to pull out some old favorites to help them build memory and confidence.
Math as a Tool
For many children, math is frustrating because they use it for class but don’t repeat it enough for the structure to sink in. Consider involving your child in activities that use math as a tool. For example, take out your favorite cookbook and make a batch of brownies or cookies and ask your child to help you manage the measuring cup.
Have your child compare the difference between 1/3 of a cup and 1/4 of a cup. Ask them which is more. Encourage them to work with water alone and move water from the measuring cup to a glass jar and mark the lines for each with a pen. Then, when you’re next in the fast-food line ask them to figure out which burger is biggest, the 1/2 pound burger at Carl’s, or the 2/3 Monster at Hardee’s.
To get your child excited about science, consider finding a spot or a large pot where they can grow things from seed. Plant beans or squash seeds and keep them moist in a sunny window until they sprout. Study the leaves that emerge, the soil temperature, the watering schedule, and the growth habit. You can turn this into a practical study on nutrition by focusing on food transportation from farm to table and seasonal eating.
Add physics into the lesson by having your child return to the measuring cup and adding 1/2 cup of water to a used clear plastic bottle. Add a couple of drops of food coloring to make it interesting, then slowly layer a few tablespoons of oil on top of the colored water. Seal or glue the top tightly and encourage the child to rotate the bottle and study how the oil acts on top of the water. Consider turning this into an environmental lesson with a discussion on why oil spills in the gulf or at sea are so destructive as the oil spreads out over the water. You could also tie this to local lakes and the risk of poorly maintained boats and the risk they pose to water and wildlife.
Your child wants to do their work well and to make you proud. However, many adults struggle to find a way to work from home, so asking children to do it is a bit of a stretch. That being said, with focusing aids, a reading audience, and real-world science and math, you can help your child stay engaged.