Child Education: Why Understanding is the Strongest Tool in Helping Your Child’s Education
Integrated Learning Strategies is excited to feature child education opportunities in this guest post. While many of the recommendations below are great for select children and parents, some accommodations or exceptions may be made for children with learning challenges and learning disabilities.
Most people nowadays will admit that there’s something quite off about the way we educate the majority of our children. It’s far from a new thought that current education is about ‘hammering circular pegs into square holes’. With a lot of schools, it’s the one-size-fits-all approach and little else. All in preparation for higher education. But we know that higher education tends to be a lot more free-form. Students work in their own style. So shouldn’t we be doing that from a younger age? Shouldn’t we be helping to find our child’s ‘sweet spot’?
Finding the right environment
The first problem that many dissatisfied parents are going to point at is the school. It is true that the average school does not fit the individual’s best-suited style of learning. But they do help other kids. The point is to find the place that will help try to understand your child’s needs. Many will choose to make home-schooling a big part of children’s lives. However, we believe this misses vital opportunity for real social development. That’s part of the reason places like a Montessori school are becoming a lot more popular. They and others can offer a more understanding driven-alternative. One that aims to shape students positively more than anything else.
Be aware of their progress
You want to be flexible in how you offer education to kids, so that they’re able to find the path to tackling it that really benefits them. That’s an important step to make. At the same time, however, it helps to know the real milestones that you should be using to track your child’s development. There are milestones in math, reading and several other parts of education you should be keeping an eye on. To notice that a child is falling behind in these milestones is not a sign of their inherent ability. Rather, it just helps you better understand what parts of their education need a different priority.
Gauge their emotional response
It’s not just those objectives that can help you better adapt how they learn, either. Regardless of what age you are, your emotional response to experiences and stimuli is going to change your reaction and outcome. This is particularly true when those experiences come up as challenges. A lot of children will face issues with stress, anger, fear and anxiety in school settings. They will have a ‘rabbit in the headlights’ moment or act out. It’s important to be able to gauge their emotional response when you’re helping them with school work. That can be just as important a part of helping them with difficulties in education. Perseverance needs to come from you, you can’t expect them to just grow it out of nowhere.
Help them gauge it, too
At the same time, perseverance isn’t just a matter of ‘pushing on through’. Teaching them not to give up is important. But so is helping them understand their own emotional response, not just ignoring it. Make it clear that it’s okay for them to have these emotions when they’re facing difficulty. Help them learn how to process it. Help them learn that it’s okay to take a break from a question when stress is bearing down on them. That they can control their impulses and calm themselves down. Children can be a lot more understanding about their own emotions than we give them credit for. The truth is that many of us have just never thought to give them the tools to help communicate it.
Help them foster independence
Naturally, a child’s environment is going to have a huge effect on how they do at school. In particular, they may be susceptible to the influences they have from other students. You can hope and try to shape these influences, but in a lot of cases, your control over them is limited. What you want to do, instead, is to shape how they react to these influences. It’s important that they make friends. But it’s also important they can divorce themselves from those friendships when they need to focus. Help your child understand how to cope with peer pressure and other influences. Help them gain confidence and independence they need to value their education.
Engage their creativity
How you help them at home matters just as much at the tools you teach them for dealing with school. Learning never stops for a young mind. So are you making sure that they always have that opportunity to learn? Are you helping them explore subjects that might not get as much exposure in the school they go to? One of the most important ways a home-life can supplement an education is by helping to explore the more creative side of children. Schools can do a lot of good in recognising creativity. A few of them aren’t as good at providing a forgiving, non-judging environment for growing it in the first place. So find ways to engage their creative side at home.
Mirror the school
Of course, they will also likely be doing schoolwork at home, as well. The best recipe for a child’s education is for parent and school to work together. You have to value and spend time on the educational methods that the school uses. Providing that you add to that the understanding and careful monitoring of your child’s progress. Mirroring the school is all about making sure they have the right kind of working environment at home. They need to have a place where they can work without distraction. Of course, you should help them get comfortable with your presence when they’re going their work as well. Understand the objectives of the homework they have and what they’re supposed to be learning. Having that kind of insight can help you provide assistance. Assistance that’s a good deal more useful than just providing the answer to the occasional question. too.
Be prepared to notice differences in your child
You want to monitor how your child approaches and deals with work to ensure that they’re in the best style of education for them. But you also want to be able to identify unique challenges or aspects of their learning ability. A huge portion of children that fail in schools can have their failure traced back to disorders and conditions that aren’t adapted to. Dyslexia and reading conditions. Sensory and speech development. Fine motor skills. A lot of these can not only affect the child’s learning ability. They can have huge consequences for their emotional health. Be prepared to spot them early. This can help you engage with them and find solutions to leave your child’s education relatively unimpeded.
Show investment in the school
If you want to know that you’re giving your child the best education possible, you need to be prepared to know the school. Not only that, but you should be willing to help make it an even better place for them, as well. Volunteering at the school doesn’t just help lift some of the burden from them. It also gets you more involved in that education community. It can become easier to talk to and form bonds with your child’s educators. Schools tend to unconsciously look better on the children of those parents who give a bit extra.
That kind of importance placed on community and environment is something that you should look to teach your child, as well. When it comes to responsibility and teamwork, one of the most commonly used tool is sports. Sports can certainly be a great tool. But used unwisely, they can also teach a reliance on athletic privilege and put too much import on ego. Instead, think of introducing your child to more selfless acts of responsibility. For example, get into volunteering together with them. Help them understand how their actions impact other people and the world. Help them build the understanding that they can later use to reflect more soundly on themselves.
Give them the time to do their own thing
We’ve spoken a lot about how you can give them opportunities and experiences that can be important towards their development. However, just as important in the long-run is the opportunity for them to have time that is entirely their own. Unstructured play is another important part of a child’s life. It’s important to let them be able to explore their own world and curiosities (keeping an eye that they’re doing it safely, of course). It can help them learn how to collaborate, to share and to negotiate. Even when it goes wrong, it helps them learn how to deal with conflicts and grow more confident. Even when it seems like they’re not doing anything at all, it’s important to know that your child is learning.
No two children are going to have the exact same needs and preferences of an educational environment. That’s why it’s crucial that the parents are engaged with education. That they know what to look out for and how to deal with it. That can help them find the solution that will help their child go from struggling to flourishing.
Integrated Learning Strategies is a Utah-based center dedicated to helping mainstream children and children with learning disabilities achieve academic success. Our services provide kids with non-traditional tutoring programs within the Davis County, Kaysville, Layton, Syracuse, Farmington, and Centerville areas. Areas to find Integrated Learning Strategies include: Reading tutors in Kaysville, Math tutors in Kaysville, Common Core Tutors in Kaysville, Tutors in Utah, Utah Tutoring Programs
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