1 Learn together as a family
When we do as many lessons as we can as a family it creates engagement as the children learn from each other and from their parents. Every person in a conversation or activity contributes to the learning opportunities.
2 Give a reason for the study
The more reason there is to learn something, the more engaged your student will be. Create real life projects, or connect subjects with a interest your child has. Learning isn’t just to finish school – learning is to equip us to live and contribute to the world around us.
3 Optimize Learning Styles
Use their predominate learning style to capture their attention – visual, audio, or kinesthetic though once they are into it encourage them to use all learning styles to dig deeper. Ultimately our kids need to be able to learn in a variety of ways but they should also know how they shine and when to optimise those skills.
4 Keep lessons short
Keep lessons short and finish on a positive note each day so they want more. A little every day means you make progress without the overload. When your student loves a topic, then you can spend longer there digging deeper, but while there is a struggle – keep it short.
5 Use Picture Books
Use picture books regardless of the subject you are studying – if they are older use a picture book to tease their interest then dig deeper (doesn’t matter what age my children are they all love a well written and beautifully illustrated picture book!) Picture books are perfect for capturing the imagination, and introducing concepts without the overwhelm of a text book.
6 Reduce where possible
Integrate language arts into every other learning opportunity and therefore reduce the need for language arts lessons. Ruth Beechick said, “Learn to read, then read to learn” and this is the basis for making learning real and applicable. Learn the skill and then use it.
7 Be Organised
Be organised and know what you are doing before you sit with the children (this doesn’t mean you have to know everything about your topic, just have an objective, have an idea where resources are and be prepared for hands on activities). Our children will lose interest if they have to hang around waiting for stuff to come together.
8 Be Flexible
Be flexible enough to go on rabbit trails and explore new ideas. There is a flip side to being organised, and that is letting go of the plans if our children start engaging, asking questions or want to know more. Be flexible enough to go with the flow when your student makes a connection.
9 Be Realistic
Keep output expectations (written work, projects etc) at a do-able level – don’t overwhelm your child with a large project; start small and let their enthusiasm grow the project. Once again a little is better than nothing.
10 Finish it!
Bring your unit to an end – don’t drag it on forever! You may be fascinated, but unless the child is – let it go. Just finish it. You can always come back and study some more another time if there is so much you want to discover with your kids.
Over to you:
Two things I’d like you to ask you:
1/ what has worked for you when your student gets bored and disengages and
2/what is it about your child struggling that puts pressure on you?