It’s no secret that the school system in many countries is quite broken, leaving kids with very little motivation to participate in class, and especially outside of it. But still, they need to do their school work regularly and we, as parents, have the obligation to help them when it is too much for them to handle on their own. But we’re only human, and we don’t always have all of the answers, which makes it even harder to help our kids with their work. So here are some tips that might come in handy for both of you to make learning a fun and engaging experience.
Take it outside
Everything we learn started somewhere in nature, and the best way for us to learn about it is through nature itself. Use any opportunity you have to get outside of their usual learning environment and make it fun. This can be as simple as learning basic math through picking flowers and collecting leaves, to visiting a history museum (or a local historical site) to learn about our past. The idea behind this isn’t just to make it more fun, but also to show them that the things they are learning aren’t only theories that they will never need: it’s knowledge that can be applied in everyday life. From calculating how to climb a tree, to knowing how to grow your own herb garden, we can use the lessons from school and do something practical with them.
Find the right perspective
Learning about some random war from the past can seem quite boring to many kids, but learning that their ancestors fought in it and trying to find out more about them can put a personal spin on it. Trying to memorize the definition of photosynthesis is boring, but placing a plant in a dark place and seeing how it reacts gives it actual meaning and purpose. Try to approach everything from an angle that will make it important to the child to have the knowledge.
The journey or the destination?
There’s always been a debate over whether children should be taught to focus on the process of learning, or to understand the importance of good grades. But the bottom line is: every child is different and has different interests. Sometimes, they will push themselves to learn something that isn’t as interesting to them if one of the things they care about the most is how to get into an Ivy League School, but other times, they will want to put more than enough focus into a topic that interests them personally. Explain to your child that they can focus on what they love, but that grades are important too, and that sometimes, they simply have to push through something that isn’t their favorite subject.
Use different media
Reading from books just isn’t the best method of learning anymore, and most certainly isn’t the most interesting. And while watching movies may hold the kids’ attention better, it’s also a passive activity, and we learn best when we are actively engaged. Luckily, there are plenty of interactive ways to learn. One way is putting on an improv play, where the kids are all historical figures, different plants or represent different cultures. They will have to learn enough about that culture to be able to respond, in character, to different situations they are given. You can also use video games with historical figures, or guessing games which test their knowledge. If you don’t have the means to do any of this, then, at least, make learning and knowledge-checking into an interactive quiz with small rewards for the right answers.
Move your bodies
More and more research is proving how the classic “sit and listen” approach is one of the worst ways to actually learn something. It’s like we’ve forgotten that people have bodies that are more than just our brain! Combining learning with physical activity is a great new approach, because it will keep the kids awake and focused for longer. It can be as small as taking a walk while discussing the subject, to something like playing catch with every throw being a question or an answer on the subject. You can also try writing out the questions and answers on papers and taping them to the opposite sides of a room, so that the child needs to walk between them to check one and the other and match them.
Taking the time to come up with study methods that are interesting for both you and the child will make studying a time to look forward to instead of a boring chore, and will give you a chance to connect and bond as a family.
About the author Isabel William
She is a Consultant by day, and Freelance Writer by night trying to spread her blogging voice. And mother of two 24/7.
Her area of interest are well being, mental health, self improvement as well as beauty of millennial transitions in all aspect of life. She is also a lover of literature and philosophy, runner, and Tai Chi master. She believes that sometimes it is just enough to enjoy a really good book, smooth jazz and a rich cup of coffee to travel somewhere else.