Kids can learn a lot at school when they pay attention, but that learning can also go by the wayside if it’s not reinforced at home. Think of all the lessons you learned in school, but have long since forgotten because there was nothing to anchor them in your mind. While you can’t quite expect your child to retain every bit of information she’s given at school, there are a few things you can do to boost her retention and reinforce the lessons she’s learning every day.
- Vocabulary Words – Make learning these words fun by inventing games or incorporating the words into existing word games. You can post the week’s vocabulary words in strategic places around the house and quiz your child on the spelling at different times. Use the words in sentences and spell them out instead of saying them.
- Reading – Take an interest in the books assigned to your student. Ask him about the books he is reading in school and hold conversations relating to the topics they cover. Kids may not have time for additional reading during the school year, but on holidays and vacations consider making suggestions. If your child shows interest in a particular topic, explore it with him. Not only will your interest help reinforce what he is learning in school, it will also provide you with valuable bonding time. You may find that you both have similar interests, giving you a foundation upon which to build a more meaningful relationship with your child.
- Math – There are plenty of math games that you can play with your child. If you are working with a very young child, you can reinforce simple concepts like addition and subtraction with items like pennies or popcorn. Older kids may enjoy helping you cook, and you can help them with measurements and show them how to work with fractions. Have your child figure out the math for doubling a recipe or cutting it in half. Experiential learning with real world situations has a tendency to stick.
- History – The Internet has an infinite wealth of information. You can take your child on a virtual tour of the world, visiting different eras without ever leaving your living room. There are many videos available on the various historical figures and periods. Sometimes viewing the right movie can have a long-lasting, positive impact. Also, if you travel during vacation time, consider going to some historical sites in your travels. Some families travel to such sites to make the history lessons real. The Gettysburg Address is probably easier to remember if you’ve actually stood on the historic spot, rather than just looking at a picture or two.
Helping your child to problem solve, think critically and develop a good memory will also help in reinforcing school lessons. Many school systems these days are less focused on teaching some of these skills, as more and more classrooms teach for testing. The problem with this method is that kids learn the information that they will need to know for the test, but once the test is over that information is quickly lost. When a child is taught how to think, comprehend and memorize, the lessons go deeper and less information is lost. You can help your child develop these skills by playing card games, board and memory games. Playing with your child will also help improve your memory as well, so you will both benefit by the practice. There are several types of memory games available on the market, or you can create some of your own. Teaching your child games like checkers and chess will help her develop critical thinking skills as she learns how to strategize and anticipate the other person’s moves. The abilities she develops through these games will assist her in her school work as she begins to learn how to see patterns and figure out the plan for solving the problems.
Reinforcing what your child learns at school doesn’t always need to be about the exact lessons that are being taught. Part of reinforcing the lessons is making them relevant to real life. Look for ways to make them interesting, sometimes showing how that lesson is a part of a bigger subject. Getting involved in your child’s education is an investment you can’t afford to neglect. Working with your child may help develop skills that will eventually create a lifelong learner, enriching both your lives and your relationship