- Published on Monday, 03 September 2012 10:42
Guest post submitted by Lindsey Elton, abcteach.com staff
The importance of keeping young minds active and classroom skills practiced is widely understood. It’s no surprise, then, that parents constantly seek ways to improve their children’s learning capabilities, especially when it comes to time at home.
I decided to turn to a veteran educator, and an individual that definitely made at-home learning routine for her kids: my mother. (On a side note, my father was a teacher as well, so I was fortunate to reap the benefits of two very supportive, education-promoting parents.)
An elementary teacher of over 30 years, my mom was very proactive in her students’ acquiring of knowledge. She was equally proactive in keeping parents engaged. Each month, she sent home a newsletter with tips that parents could use at home. At Meet & Greet and curriculum nights, she would offer additional activity ideas, discuss ways that they could reinforce learning objectives, and then identify classroom opportunities for them to get involved. During those events, parents were also encouraged to write out their own strengths, backgrounds, etc., in an effort to reach out to and enhance the learning experience of every child in the class.
After retirement, my mom joined the abcteach staff team. The following is a combination of new thoughts, activities that she used with my brother and me, and ideas from fellow educator, parent, and abcteach colleague, Janie Quinn.
● Flashlight game - In your child's room, attach to the closet, door, window, etc., cards with a reinforcement topic that your child is working on. Examples include colors, numbers, shapes, spelling words, math facts, or any subject with a simple answer. After dark, turn out the lights and use the flashlight to "flash" a card and have your child identify or discuss the image.
● Family Activity Planners - These are fun, age-appropriate guides to help parents infuse learning into everyday moments. Broken down by subject and age-range, they provide activities for the whole family and include themes such as My Neighborhood, The Holidays, Grocery Time, In the Yard, At the Restaurant, and more.
● Using abctools, make a card/list with colors, numbers, shapes, spelling words, math facts, questions to a quiz, etc. Attach these to the refrigerator, mirror on the sink, TV, or computer screen. When your child is in front of any of these, have him/her say the color, number, spell the word, or answer the question.
● Daily Dish - While cooking dinner, have your child get in the routine of drawing a picture of his favorite thing from school that day. During the meal, have him discuss his picture and why that activity was special to him.
● Memory Logs - Each night, write down a summary of what was learned that day. For younger kids, use pictures and a chart to help them visually describe their day.
● Create "homework" calendars for early-childhood kids (they are currently available on the abcteach member site: Monthly Activity Calendars). These daily instruction guides help kids, at multiple ages, learn to be contributing members of the household. Activities include personal items, such as dressing oneself, cleaning the dishes, brushing teeth, etc. Behavioral items include articulating when anger/frustration sets in, practicing appropriate table manners, talking about what happened at school, and others.
Most kids (and adults) are apt to pay attention to the topics and hobbies that interest them. Find ways to incorporate discussions and learning activities around those items and go from there. The opportunities are endless.