Posted on Leave a comment

Discovering Our Children’s Interests

“We labor under a sort of superstition that the child has nothing to learn during the first five years of life.  On the contrary the fact is that the child never learns [afterwards] what it does in its first five years.”     – Mahatma Gandhi, 1925

son kiss mumI was reading the Great Parent Magazine sometime ago, – Dr. Stanley Greenspan, the wonderful child researcher, developed an infant assessment process he called “Floor Time.”  The parents and the young child would sit on the floor with Dr. Greenspan, and he would observe the child and the child-parent interactions.  He then began to realize that a variant of this process could be used to enhance the parent-child relationship.  He suggested that for about fifteen minutes a day parents get onto the floor with their child and allow the child to direct the activities.  The parent becomes a benign assistant.  This is the time for the child to show the parent what she wants to do, what interests her, and what she feels.

“Floor time is a warm and intimate way of relating to a child,” says Dr. Greenspan.  “It means engaging, respecting and getting in tune with the child in order to help the child express through gestures, words, and pretend play what is on the child’s mind.  This enhances the child’s self-esteem and ability to be assertive, and gives the child a feeling that ‘I can have an impact on the world.’  As you support the child’s play, the child benefits from experiencing a sense of warmth, connectedness and being understood.”

All of this promotes the notion of listening to the child.  Listening to the child gives the child the sense that he is valued, that what he thinks and feels and is interested in counts for something.  This in turn enhances the child’s self-esteem.

So, let’s get back to the issue of interest.  Listening to and validating what the child is interested in pays huge dividends throughout the child’s life.  If the child is made aware that  his/her interests are important, the child then can more clearly identify genuine likes and dislikes, leading more readily to choices of career, spouse, and so on.  It is a sad occurrence, but not infrequent, to have patients at 30 or 40 or 50 years old say they do not know what they want to do or what they are interested in.  They did not have the opportunity early in life to learn that what really counted was what they were interested in.

Technically, the key component here is the affect of interest, as we have discussed previously.  Interest operates on a continuum from interest (or its close cousin, curiosity) to excitement.  As psychologist Silvan Tomkins says, “It is interest which is primary.  Interest supports both what is necessary for life and what is possible.”  Interest is responsible for our learning, exploratory activities, and creativity.

To summarize, listening to the child’s feelings gives tremendous benefits.  Interest can be promoted early on in children – listening to them, finding out the things they are intrigued with and enjoy.

What a gift!

Posted on Leave a comment

Top Tips for Your Child’s Academic Success

child-studyingAcademic success is important in a child’s life as it can help to shape the future. There are many things you can do to help your child or children succeed and they all start at home. Keep track of your child’s school activities, set up a consistent routine and ensuring that they have enough rest are simple tips that will help them to excel in school. In addition, parents who are involved in their children’s education help to foster the learning experience.

  •  Start a homework routine. Set a certain schedule for your child to do homework every day. If there is no homework assigned for the day, encourage your child to study and review the week’s assignments. Constantly reviewing information helps to instill the knowledge in your child’s brain, thereby helping them to gain better insight into the lessons.
  • Sleep is important because it allows your brain to recharge itself. If your child does not get enough sleep, it will affect their performance in school and out of school. Sleep is necessary for the body to function properly so make sure your child gets at least eight hours of sleep each night.
  • Take an interest in your child’s academics. It may have been a long time since you were in school, but you should still be able to check your child’s homework and assist them when necessary. Reading with children is a good way to spark interest in learning; it is also a good way to spend quality time with your child in a low-key manner.
  • Keep your child organized when it comes to school activities. Have your child carry a planner for teachers to record assignments in. Also, keep a wall calendar in your house with your child’s schedule and assignments. This will help to avoid any missing assignments and will also let you know how frequently your child studies.

Helping your child to succeed in school is one of your biggest jobs as a parent. Without establishing a routine in the household for both homework and bedtime, it can be very easy for a child to lose interest in school work. Not getting enough sleep and not being organized can affect your child’s function in school as well. By utilizing the top tips you are helping to establish your child’s academic success.

Posted on 1 Comment

Being Engaged in our Children’s Education: – “What is it you do in school today?”

learning_stylesI keep remind myself the need for parents to be involved in their children’s education.

As a mum I want to know what’s going on with my son. And I had a number of interesting challenges to the very idea and I want to share it with you.

A friend repeated to me Einstein’s famous saying that “education is what’s left after you forget all the facts they taught you in school.” “Leave the teaching to the school and concentrate on educating your child” he said. To him, being involved in his children’s education meant providing them with parallel real life experiences and he couldn’t care a fig about tonight’s homework assignments; they are the responsibility of the child, and not the parent.

A mother of two teens commented that the best gift she could give her daughters was that of trust and self confidence. She wasn’t getting involved in the process of schooling. “Did you ever see the look of embarrassment, even horror, if your child unexpectedly sees you in the school hallway?”  “My child doesn’t want me to look over her shoulder” commented one of my daughter’s friends about her nine year old. These parents were taken aback by what they thought I was suggesting.

It is my contention that parents need to know what their children are doing at school and to become actively involved in helping facilitate their success. I am not referring to homework and test preparation. I am not referring to being cooperative with the school and teachers, which I am not denying it is very useful to engage with teachers too, to keep up and learn more about our child in school. I am more referring to make the child’s school experiences a part of the parent’s life. I believe a parent’s role is somewhere between coach and cheerleader; neither as critically involved as the former or as benignly enthusiastic as the latter. Allow me to elaborate.

Taking an active interest; or: “What is it you do in school today?”

Indeed, we forget most of the facts we cram for tests during our school years. What we are expected to retain are the skills with which will enable us to learn and discover for ourselves. Even more importantly, good teachers will have inculcated within us a love for learning to last a lifetime.

Learning skills do not develop in a vacuum; they develop through learning and internalizing the process. A love for learning develops from the satisfaction of understanding and the curiosity to know more. This too is a byproduct of learning and absorbing information, primarily in school. When a parent shows interest in the subject matter, his child is learning that says to the child: what you learned at school matters. Questioning a child about what he learned in school is an essential component in his developing a healthy respect for what he does all day; and he learns.

Questioning a child about school can be a tricky experience though. Ask a typical adolescent “what did you learn in school today” and the response, if you get a verbal one rather than some sort of primal sound, may be “nothing” or “stuff”.  The questions must be direct and specific for the child to be responsive. “What did you enjoy most about your Maths class today?” If he responds with a multi-word answer, the parent will have gotten a perspective of the child’s engagement in the Maths class. He may well say, “I didn’t enjoy it at all” — that speaks volumes too. Regardless, the parent has demonstrated interest and that the subject is important.

On the other hand badgering a child for information and interrogating him about precisely what he learned may be counterproductive from a parenting perspective. What the child might deduce from continuous pressured questions is that the less he says or pretends to remember the better off he will be. He perceives the questions as an invasion of his privacy; of course he will resist. A lot more information would be forthcoming if the question were put something like this “did you learn any interesting at the School Talk today?” or “How did the teacher like your social studies project?”

In a nutshell: the questions must be detailed and about the work rather that about the child. Specific but open ended questions will generally elicit a coherent response which can then

I did rather not head in the direction of the parent who spends the night studying with a child for a test and then asks “how well did we do on the exam?” Naturally, when taken to the extreme, that kind of “interest” will be more crippling than helpful.

Till my next post, hope this helps.

Posted on Leave a comment

How to make Children Love to Learn

HWAs parents would hope for the best for our children. There are various tips that are very effective so that children love to learn which makes a pleasant atmosphere. According to the results of research on how the brain controls the memory in the brain would be very easy to receive and record information that goes if it is in a pleasant atmosphere. children who may feel that learning is something that is fun to have a sense of want to know the great, and greatly affect the success of learning in the future.

Learn how to identify the type of child is the type of auditory, visual or kinesthetic. Break at intervals of 15 minutes rest is far more effective than learning continuously without any break. Results showed that children are able to fully concentrate a maximum of 20 minutes. more than that then the child will begin to decrease the power of concentration. Basically the child has an instinct to learn everything that is around. Children will be the spirit and enthusiasm in learning if the content of the material being studied children according to child development.

Study with periods of rest are very effective in comparison with continuously without any lag time of rest.

facebook icon 2

Posted on Leave a comment

Improve Your Maths Marks

This article is written by  Deb Russell, http://math.about.com.

Here are some quick steps to help you get better at doing mathematics. Regardless of age, the tips here will help you learn and understand math concepts from primary school right on through to university math. Everyone can do math, be positive and follow the steps here and you’ll be on your way to seeing success in math.

Understanding Versus Memorizing

asian2

All too often, we will try to memorize a procedure or sequence of steps instead of looking to understand why certain steps are required in a procedure. Always, always strive for understanding the why and not just the how. Take the algorithm for long division Typically, we say, “how many times does 3 go into 7” when the question is 73 divided by 3. After all, that 7 represents 70 or 7 tens. The understanding in this question really has little to do with how many times 3 goes into 7 but rather how many are in the group of three when you share the 73 into 3 groups. 3 going into 7 is merely a short cut. Putting 73 into 3 groups means understanding. The long division algorithm rarely makes sense unless the concrete method is fully understood.

Maths is Not a Spectator Sports, Get Active!

Getty ImagesUnlike some subjects, math is something that won’t let you be a passive learner. Math is the subject that will often put you out of the comfort zone, don’t worry as this is normal and part of the learning process. Try to make connections in math, many of the concepts in math are related and connected. The more connections you can make, the greater the understanding will be. Math concepts flow through levels of difficulty, start from where you are and move forward to the more difficult levels only when understanding is in place. The internet has a wealth of interactive math sites that let you engage, be sure use them.

Practice, Practice, Practice

Getty ImagesDo as many problems as is required to ensure you understand the concept. Some of us require more practice and some of us require less practice. You will want to practice a concept until it makes sense and until you are fluent at finding solutions to various problems within the concept readily. Strive for those ‘A Ha!’ moments. When you can get 7 varied questions in a row right, you’re probably to the point of understanding. Even more so if you re-visit the questions a few months later and are still capable of solving them. This too is key to understanding. Be sure to check out the worksheet section for lots of practice examples.

Additional Exercises

Getty ImagesThis is similar to practice. Think of math the way one thinks about a musical instrument. Most of us don’t just sit down and play an instrument. We take lessons, practice, practice some more and although we move on, we still take time to review. Go beyond what is asked for. Your instructor tells you to do questions 1-20, even numbers only. Well, that may work for some, but others may need to do each of the questions to reach the point of fluency with the concept. Doing the extra practice questions only helps you to grasp the concept more readily. And, as always, be sure to re-visit a few months later, do some practice questions to ensure that you still have a grasp of it.

Buddy Up!

Getty ImagesSome people like to work alone. However, when it comes to solving problems, it often helps to have a work buddy. You know the saying: two heads are better than one. Sometimes a work buddy can help clarify a concept for you by looking at it in a different way. Organize a study group or work in pairs or triads! In real life we often work through problems with others. Math is no different. A work buddy also provides you with the opportunity to discuss how you solved the math problem. And as you’ll see in this list of tips, conversing about math leads too permanent understanding and you know that understanding is key.

Explain and Question

Try to explain to somebody else how you solve math concepts. Teach a friend. Or, keep a journal. It’s often important to state either in writing or orally how you solved your math problems/exercises. Question problems, ask yourself, What would happen if…….I solved it this way because…..
Remember William Glasser’s findings:
  • 10% of what we READ
  • 20% of what we HEAR
  • 30% of what we SEE
  • 50% of what we SEE and HEAR
  • 70% of what is DISCUSSED with OTHERS
  • 80% of what is EXPERIENCED PERSONALLY
  • 95% of what we TEACH TO SOMEONE ELSE

Phone a Friend …. or Tutor!

Getty Images

Seek help when it’s appropriate. Don’t let yourself get stuck and frustrated. Seek extra clarification when needed, be your own advocate! Whether you have a friend or need to hire a tutor, recognize the point at which you need help – then get it! Most of us need help some of the time, if you let it go too long, you’ll discover that the math will only become more frustrating for you.

Learn how your child can benefit at his most at MathsExCEL!facebook icon 2