Written by: Julia Mitchell
When we think of learning and getting an education, we tend to think of schools and classrooms. While it is true that much of what a child learns happens in school, kids sometimes fall behind and need extra help catching up. Concerned parents often look for ways to boost their child's understanding of varying concepts but need to know how to get additional help. In addition, kids who are reluctant learners may resist traditional methods, which may help to find alternative ways to promote learning.
One of the best ways to encourage learning is to weave it into other fun activities. For example, parents with young children can help boost math skills by creating a treasure hunt with clues that involve math problems. Playing store with household items and real money can help kids learn how to make the change and practice problem-solving skills such as want versus need. Fun math apps for kids of all ages, games, and online programs can help your child learn and practice concepts while having fun.
If your child is struggling with reading, apps and programs are specifically dedicated to phonics, spelling, and reading comprehension. In addition, educational video games can help with critical thinking, math, and reading abilities. For the best gaming experience, make sure players have their headphones -- to avoid disturbing each other and anyone not playing -- and ensure your internet is up to the task. Most areas are now equipped with 5G, which offers ultra-fast speeds. High-speed internet can help you get the help your child needs, but if you need clarification on what is needed, it may be wise to seek professional guidance.
Children and adolescents can have a difficult time with learning, and it may not be entirely clear what barriers are getting in the way. One cause may be the home environment; if your child doesn't have a defined area where they study, consider setting up a "learning nook" that they have creative control over. It's important, too, that all negative energy is cleared out of the home, energy that may be impeding learning and the fun aspects of acquiring new skills.
If you notice that your child is struggling and would like to understand the underlying challenges they experience, consider having them assessed by a professional in the field of education. As you explore assessors, look for someone who is experienced and credentialed in assessment for your child's age range. According to the Learning Disabilities Association of Alberta, assessments can uncover learning disabilities and preferred learning styles, which can reveal important strategies for helping your child get the education they need.
Math Geek Mama notes that hiring a tutor can also be a wise investment in your child's education. Schools sometimes have lists of trustworthy tutors, and some teachers offer assistance after school or during study halls. Online tutors can be a helpful alternative if your child requires a certain type of instruction or teaching style. Accessing instructors online also enables you to expand your search beyond your area, which increases the odds of finding a well-qualified tutor who is a good fit for your child. Learning can be exciting for kids if their interest is piqued. Consider extracurricular methods of spurring interest in learning outside of school.
To better understand how to shape learning, you should also consider going back to school to pursue a degree in education. Honing your own skills and knowledge can be a gateway to improving kids' opportunities for growth. Skills you'll develop include instructional practice, learner development, and knowledge in particular subjects. Online degree programs make it easy to work, parent, and keep up with your studies. As you look at your options, check this affordable program that's administered by an accredited college that allows you to enroll 12 times throughout the year.
If you can spark a child's curiosity, they will be happy to learn. Sometimes it is a matter of finding the right in-roads. Trips (whether in-person or virtual) to museums, observatories, and historical sites are great ways to promote learning outside of the classroom. Children with special interests and hobbies may enjoy researching the roots of those interests and learning how the items were invented and made. Often in the process of learning about these topics, kids find out more about Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM), and this curiosity may prompt additional interest in these subjects and their applications.
While the above resources are a good starting point, there are many ways yet to get kids excited about learning and get help for areas in which they are stuck. Going back to school yourself to learn more about how to better help with their learning is a great start. Plus, monthly subscriptions to chemistry kits, mysteries, and coding projects can be a fun way to explore topics in new and unusual ways.
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