How to Support Your Child’s Education from Home

Whether you're considering homeschooling this coming year or plan to have the kids back in private or public school, there are a few important aspects to consider regarding their education. Often, I hear parents worry about their child's attention span. Some child development experts suggest that the average child should be able to concentrate on one task for 2-5 minutes multiplied by their age. So, an average 6-year old should be able to focus on a given task for up to 30 minutes. Even when keeping this in mind, homework/school work can be such a hassle between parents and children. The "5 S's to Sanity" can help equip you with some of the tools to make this struggle a little less painful.

The 5 S's to Sanity

Schedule

Creating a schedule around your realistic expectations is important for kids' development. Rather than have them guess when mom or dad will ask them to do their homework, make it known early. Children often thrive off of routines. According to Dr. Peter Gorski of Harvard Medical School, knowing what to expect from daily life can develop a child's confidence. Being able to rely on past experiences in a safe environment allows your child to feel comfortable performing the same activities… on their own. Does it make sense to have your child sit down to do their homework after dinner? How about right after they come home and have some time to wind down? You know your family best. Whenever you choose to do it, make it realistic and consistent.

Supplies

Without the proper school supplies, children have a difficult time completing tasks and using their creativity to the fullest. Of the many benefits to having supplies such as pencils and crayons around, is improved fine motor development. This development will help your child with writing, buttoning a coat, and other tasks that require controlled movements. Make sure your kids have what they need to succeed in an easy to find space.

Here is a basic list of supplies for younger grades:

Pencil bag

Crayons

Colored pencils

Washable markers

No. 2 pencils

Pencil grips

Pencil sharpener

Glue sticks

Erasers

Blunt-tipped scissors

Plastic folders

Wide-ruled notebook or pad


Space

Part of creating a routine around schoolwork is having a space where your kids can focus on the task at hand. There's nothing wrong with the kitchen table or a small desk in the house. Children will come to know that space as their "homework station" which in return will help them from getting as distracted. Having a distraction-free environment and routine is key to allowing your child to have a productive at-home learning experience. Turn off the TV and allow the learning process to take precedence.

Snack

Keep your kids nourished and focused with a snack. Have some options available if you can. Children who are allowed to choose, learn autonomy and grow in confidence. Does it make sense to have a snack before homework, during, or after? Offer planned meals and snacks consistently throughout the day. A good rule of thumb is to offer snacks a few hours after one meal ends and about one to two hours before the next meal begins. If kids' basic needs are taken care of, they will be more likely to focus when it comes time for learning.

Social Time

Part of being realistic in our expectations for kids is knowing that an essential part of their development includes a need for play. Playtime is always important for children — and grown-ups! — and even more so in times of change and disrupted routines. Movement, laughter and creativity help reduce stress and strengthen bonds within the entire family. Play keeps morale up and can create happy memories during otherwise stressful times. Social time does not equal screen time. It means putting away the electronics (TV, phones, video games, etc.) and having fun together! These moments of connection and play can help lighten the mood and reboot children's focus.

The "5 S's to Sanity" aren't rocket science ideas, but the effort you put behind each will help elevate the effectiveness of learning time in your home and may even lessen the tug-a-war between you and your child. Create a schedule around your expectations and make them realistic for their age and personality. Make sure your kids have the space and supplies to have fun while also being productive. Keep in mind that snacks and social time are helpful for everyone involved.

"Children have to be educated, but they have also to be left to educate themselves." - Ernest Dimnet

Follow this link for more ideas on family fun.

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Sunday, 20 September 2020

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