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Problems with Homework

lead_960From time to time you may have concerns about homework. Meet with teachers early in the school year and ask them to let you know if difficulties arise.

Some problems which may arise are:

  • the homework can regularly be too hard or too easy
  • your child refuses to do assignments despite encouragement
  • your child has problems completing assignments on time
  • you would like your child to do homework missed through illness
  • neither your child nor you understand the homework
  • Read more …

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Practical Ways to Help Homework

asian21. Provide a quiet environment

Provide a quiet, well lit study area. Avoid distractions such as the television and loud music. Encourage other family members to be quiet, especially youngsters.

2. Have a Regular Homework Routine

Obviously household routines differ. Late at night is rarely a good time to study, as children are tired. You may need to be flexible if your child attends outside activities. Try to get a balance, but homework is a priority. If it is being rushed then consider reducing after school commitments or television viewing. Having a routine helps to avoid excuses such as “I’ll do it after this programme” or “I forgot.” It is important that a child learns to take responsibility rather than having to rely on reminders. Also do not expect your child to work on an empty stomach. No-one works well when they are hungry. Read more …

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How Do Math Manipulatives Help Children Learn?

countingStrong math skills provide the foundation for a wide variety of careers, such as computer programming, law, design and medicine. To really learn math, kids need to move beyond memorization to understand how the concepts behind the formulas work in real-world situations. Manipulatives help them make that leap by bridging the gap between concrete objects and abstract math ideas.

Useful Manipulatives

With a little creative thought, any small object can be used as a manipulative. You can use marbles, toy foods or toy animals to sort into sets or to demonstrate the quantities different numbers represent. Use small puzzles or food-to-cut toys to teach fractions or geometric shape tiles to help teach spatial concepts. Read more …

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How To Help Your Child Develop The Right Mindset For Math

Math is a part of our lives, whether we are getting groceries at the supermarket, doing the housework at home, cooking or planning a picnic. Few of us actually realize that we are using math more often than we realize. However, it’s sad to say that many children grow to dislike math for many reasons. Working with math problems can help your child become an independent thinker, effective problem solver and one that does not give up easily when faced with challenges. Help your child develop the right mindset and attitude towards math and they will learn to appreciate it.

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Develop the right attitude

Parents can be a positive force in helping their child learn math, but they can also affect their child’s perception and attitude towards math. If you are someone who constantly say things like “Mathematic is hard”, “I don’t like math too” or “I never did well during math tests”, chances are your child will not grow to like math too. You can’t make your child love math, but you can encourage her to develop the right attitude towards math by helping her to see how mathematics can change or improve her daily life. Direct her attention to the interesting and fun things she can do with math and be mindful of what you say around your child.

Take risks

Raise a risk-taker who is not afraid to try new experiences or solve a tedious problem by themselves. When working on math questions, give your child ample time to think and try. You can also encourage him to share with you on how he derives at the answer. It is a good way to help your child reflect back on what he did to solve the questions. You can also clarify and explain further on the areas that he needs help with. This will strengthen his cognitive ability and groom him up as a problem-solver.

Make mistakes

Children and sometimes, even adults are afraid of making mistakes. The fear of failing may hinder your child’s enthusiasm to learn or try new experiences. Help your child develop a love for learning math by telling them that making mistake is a way to improve their capability. Celebrate and acknowledge when they succeed, and encourage and guide them when they failed to do it right.

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Don’t Compare

Some parents can’t help it, but compare their child to the older sibling or to their friends. When you compare your child’s performance or results with others, it will tend to diminish her confidence and develop insecurities for that subject. It doesn’t matter if your child can’t count better than your neighbour’s child. Every child is special in their own ways, your child will have something they are good at too. Tap on their interests and ability to improve their mathematical awareness. Be more patient.

Balance

If you want to help your child succeed in school, you need to strike a balance between your child’s ability and your expectations. When guiding your child, be a supportive figure that guides them to perform up to their capability without placing too much pressure on their little shoulders. How can you strike a balance without pushing your child too hard?

1. Be a parent that is involved in their learning, but never overly involved.
2. Encourage your child to improve, but don’t overly stress them out.
3. Set limits for them to achieve, but provide them with the guidance they need.
4. Be there to guide them and yet still allowing them rooms to make mistakes.

Parents are the child’s first educator, and one that understands them better than anyone else. Use a variety of fun techniques like games, engage in math related conversations and plan a series of engaging math activities to teach and talk about math. Help your child develop the right mindset and a love for learning, and it will lead them towards success!


What Are The Important Skills My Child Needs For A Smooth Learning Journey?

The development of your child in the primary school years is fundamental as it lays the foundation for formal education.

For our younger students, it is really about growing their sense of curiosity, nurturing a love for the subject, and a passion for learning. Elements of play and games are infused into classes to make lessons more fun and enjoyable.

At the same time, we will also introduce hard skills such as listening, taking instructions and communicating effectively to instil confidence in your child and prepare him for the formal learning journey ahead.

For the older students who are in the kindergarten levels, we emphasize more on honing hard skills like reading, writing and problem-solving to set them on the right course for primary school.

What Can Parents Look Forward To In SMART Early Years Programme?

At Smart Excel, the focus for our Early Years curriculum is to help your child learn better, as we know that every child has different learning needs.

IDENTIFYING YOUR CHILD’S LEARNING STYLE

For a start, our programmes expose your child to various learning styles to help him or her better grasp new concepts. A healthy balance of skills and component mastery is also introduced to your child, depending on his or her academic level.

CELEBRATING YOUR CHILD’S MANY FIRSTS

We also recognise the importance of bringing out your child’s personal bests so that he or she can become a confident learner. Whether it’s witnessing your child independently writing his or her name or seeing him or her construct his or her first full sentence, every achievement is celebrated at Smart Excel.

BRINGING THE WORLD INTO THE CLASSROOM

To encourage curiosity in the classroom, we introduce captivating, real-world content to your child from an early age. Through our English, Math and Malay (available from K1 onwards) lessons, we develop your child’s awareness of the world through a range of topics such as Technology, World Cities and Animals. With our passionate and engaging teachers bringing each lesson to life, your child can look forward to hands-on activities and fun components that will make academics seem like play.

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Our K2 students who graduate from the SMART Early Years programmes often find their transition into Primary 1 a breeze. Many of them are adequately prepared for the rigours of Primary 1, not only in terms of subject mastery, but also emotionally and mentally.

If you are interested to speak with our enrolment specialists about our programmes, please email ask@SmartExcel.sg or call us at 9457 5811 and we will be happy to assist.

Registration for our classes is ongoing. | See Schedule Register - Free Trail


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44 Proven Ideas Parents Can Use to Help Their Children Do Better in School

DadSonReadingMaking Time Count

1. Put specific times on your calendar each week when you will spend time with your children. During that time, focus your love and attention on your child.

2. Use car time to talk with your children. There’s no phone or television to interfere. No one can get up and leave. And kids know they really have your ear.

3. Plan to eat at least one meal together as a family each day.

4. Look for things to do together as a family. Get everyone involved in choosing how to spend your time together.

5. Try giving children television tickets. Each week, each child gets 20 tickets. Each ticket can be used for 30 minutes of TV time. Any tickets remaining at the end of the week can be cashed in for 25 cents each. Parents can still veto a certain program, of course.

Reading to Your Child

6. Try relaxing your family’s bedtime rules once a week on the weekends. Let your children know that they can stay up as late as they want, as long as they are reading in bed.

7. Help your child start a home library; paperback books are fine. Encourage your child to swap books with friends. Check used book stores. Give books as gifts.

8. Want your children to be good readers? Let them see you read.

9. Try holding D-E-A-R times at your house. “DEAR” stands for “Drop Everything and Read.” During DEAR time, everyone in the family sits down for some uninterrupted reading time.

10. With young children, try reading to them during bath time.

11. Use the “Rule of Thumb” to see if a book is on your children’s reading level: Have them read a page of the book aloud. Have them hold up one finger for each word they don’t know. If they hold up four fingers and a thumb before the end of the page, the book is probably too hard for them to read alone. But it might be a great book to read aloud.

Building Self-Esteem

12. Have children make a “book” about themselves, with their own illustrations and wording. “A Book About Me” is a great way to help your child see themselves as “somebody.”

13. Help your child discover their roots by talking with family members during holiday and other visits.

14. Constantly look for ways to tell your children what you like about them, and that you love them. There is no age limit on this. “When I do something well, no one ever remembers. When I do something wrong, no one ever forgets.” Those words were written by a high school dropout.

15. Let kids overhear you praising them to others.

16. Try “King/Queen for a Day” for good report cards.

17. Help kids learn from problems, not be devastated by them. Many parents don’t ever use the word “failure.” They may talk about a “glitch,” a “problem,” or a “snag.” But even when something doesn’t work out as they’d planned, successful people try to learn something from the experience.

Discipline

18. In good weather, put two angry kids on opposite sides of a strong window or glass door. Provide each with a spray bottle of window cleaner and a rag. Then let them “attack.” Their angry words will turn to laughter…and your window or door will be clean!

19. Try role playing to eliminate constant fighting. For five minutes, have the fighters switch roles. Each has to present the other person’s point of view as clearly and fairly as possible. Odds are, they’ll start laughing and make up. Better yet, they may come up with a compromise solution that both parties like.

20. For better discipline, speak quietly. If you speak in a normal tone of voice, even when you’re angry, you’ll help your child see how to handle anger appropriately. And if you don’t scream at your kids, they’re less likely to scream at each other or at you.

21. Try a “black hole” to keep toys and other belongings picked up. All you need is a closet or cabinet with a lock—the “black hole.” When something is left out that should be put away, it gets put into the “black hole” for 24 hours. Once a favorite toy or something your child needs is locked up for 24 hours, there is greater incentive to keep it where it belongs. This works best when the whole family participates.

Solving School Problems

22. Try looking over children’s study materials and making up a sample quiz as they study for upcoming tests.

23. Visit your child’s school in a time of peace before major problems develop.

24. Make report cards a positive experience. Preparation: Ask, “What do you think your report card will tell us?” Getting ready is helpful. Perspective: Understand that a report card is just one small measure of your child. A child with poor grades still has plenty of strengths. Positive action: Find something to praise. Focus on how to improve.

25. Be aware that your attitudes about school affect your child. If you hated math, be careful not to prejudice your child.

Motivating Your Child

26. In addition to the three R’s, children need the four A’s: Attention, Appreciation, Affection, and Acceptance.

27. Some researchers believe every child is gifted, if we will just look for the ways. Helping children see their giftedness is very motivating.

28. Encourage children to read biographies about successful people. As children learn about the traits that made others successful, they are often motivated to adopt those same success patterns in their own lives.

29. Motivate your children in math by challenging them to figure out how much change you should get back from a purchase. If they get the amount right, they get to keep the change.

30. Praise children constantly.

Building Responsibility

31. Try a simple cardboard box to help make your children responsible for school belongings. Have them choose a place for the box, perhaps near the door or in their room. Every afternoon, their first task should be to place all belongings in the box. When homework is finished, it goes in the box, too. In the morning, the box is the last stop before heading out the door.

32. Help children understand, and take responsibility for, the consequences of their choices: “I chose to do my homework; the result was that I got an ‘A’ on my math test.” “I chose to get up 15 minutes late; the result was that I missed breakfast and nearly missed the bus.”

33. Try giving your child the responsibility of growing a small garden, even in just a flower pot. The positive and negative results of carrying out their responsibilities are very clear.

34. One way to keep children moving in the morning: After they wake up, begin to play their favorite CD. Give them until the CD plays through to get dressed for school.

Reinforcing Learning

35. Encourage kids to collect things. Whether they collect rocks, shells, leaves, or bugs is not important. By collecting, children are learning new ways to make sense of their world.

36. Estimating is an important math skill. We estimate how much our groceries will cost. We estimate how much time we’ll need to complete a project at work. You can help your child learn to estimate at home. Here’s one idea: As you’re driving, estimate the distance to your destination. Then estimate how much time it will take to get there. Use the odometer or a map to check your work.

37. Talk about geography in terms children can understand: Go through your house and talk about where things came from. A calculator may have come from Taiwan. A box of cereal may have a Battle Creek, Mich., address, or White Plains, N.Y. Talk about where the wheat for your bread came from. Where was the cotton for your blue jeans grown? Tell your children where your ancestors came from. Find the places on a map.

38. Show your child that writing is useful. Have them help you write a letter ordering something, asking a question, etc. Then show them the results of your letter.

Homework

39. Try playing “Beat the Clock” with your child during homework time. Look over the assignment and figure out about how long it should take to complete it. Allow a little extra time and set a timer for that many minutes. No prizes are needed. There is great satisfaction in getting the work done on time.

40. Teach your child to use the formula “SQ3R” when doing any homework assignment. The letters stand for a proven five-step process that makes study time more efficient and effective: Survey, Question, Read, Restate, and Review.

41. Here are tips to make homework time easier for you and your child:

  • Have a regular place for your child to do homework. Use a desk or table in a quiet room. Be sure there’s plenty of light.
  • Find a regular time for homework. You may want to make a rule: “No television until homework is finished.”
  • During homework time, turn off the TV and radio.
  • Help your children plan how they will use their time.
  • Set a good example. While your child is doing homework, spend some time reading or working yourself. Then when homework is done, you can both talk about how much you’ve accomplished.

42. Nitty gritty homework tips:

  • Do the most difficult homework first. Save “easy” subjects for when your child is tired.
  • Do the most important assignments first. If time runs short, the priorities will be finished. Do what’s required first.
  • Finish the optional assignments later, even if they’re more fun.

43. Look over your child’s homework every day. Start at an early age and keep it up as long as you can. Praise good work. Your interest will encourage good work.

44. Try having your child teach you the homework. The teacher always learns more than the student.

Author: Dr. John H. Wherry. 
Source: The Parent Institute.