Tips for Teaching Kids at Home
Distance education is new to many who are now having to teach kids at home due to recent school closures. Some students are be already receiving online classes from their teachers. In other cases, parents are left to teach their kids using provided lesson plans provided by their school. Whatever the situation, here are some tips to help you enhance your child’s “at home” learning experience.
Teaching at home management strategies are different than a teacher in a classroom with thirty students. Nevertheless, teachers themselves continually wonder if there is another way to present information because a student just doesn’t seem to be interested or doesn’t understand a concept being taught. Whether in a school or at home, this is a universal challenge.
Some Learning Strategies Happen Naturally at Home
Providing quiet areas for independent older students who need to work on a paper is important, especially when younger siblings are being loud. Making the environment more conducive to study can also help. Using music, games, role playing or charts to present information are excellent ways to engage students. You can take it one step further by having them help create the games or make the charts to further engage through in active learning. Explore available STEM Books for Kids.
Breaking up the lesson into twenty-minute segments can help. Before returning to the lesson, review what was learned before moving on to new material. And of course, one should always give prompt specific feedback about a student’s work.
Allow for Flexibility Within Structured Learning
Interacting with adults is much easier to do at home, but teachers in classroom have also seen success in allowing students to move away from their desks and interact with classmates. This can be done in a form of activity or allowing the student to freely go for a drink of water throughout the day. At home, this is a good example of keeping things free flowing within a structure. Getting up and moving around allows for blood to flow and keep the mind alert.
This brings up another important point about exercise. While you may not be able to have structured sports daily, make sure to include some kind of exercise routine throughout the day. It can be simple floor exercises or going for a walk. If you find that your kids are having trouble paying attention, it may be a good time to stop the lesson and so some kind of physical activity for five minutes.
The Importance of Asking Questions
There are other strategies that might not occur so naturally at home, such as allowing three to five seconds of wait time after asking questions throughout the presentation. These pauses allow students to process the information before, during and after the presentation of the new concept. It will also help you determine what the student knows and correct any misunderstandings. Don’t be afraid to adjusting your presentation to re-teach anything that needs clarifying.
As kids get older be sure to ask questions that involve critical thinking, such as…
Do you agree with why or how something happened or is the way it is?”
How would you prove is there a better solution?
How would you rank the importance of various situations or options?
This helps students develop critical thinking skills. Using words like “evaluate, justify, support and critique” when discussing material can help them make judgments about reality.
Remember too that the high school student is naturally interested in questions that challenge the status quo. In subjects such as Social Studies, kids care about whether a proposed course of action was expedient or inexpedient. They care about whether someone deserves praise or blame.
If any of these suggestions are making you feel overwhelmed by the sheer notion of having to supplement or replace the teaching your child was receiving in school, start with the fundamentals; Language, Reading and Math.
The Importance of Open Discussion
Whether or not asking questions leads to a discussion about a topic, creating an environment for open discussion throughout any lesson is vital to keep students engaged and even excited about what they are learning. Discussions can help participant learn and stay interested in a way listening to a lecture doesn’t.
A focus on starting a discussion can also be what it takes get the ball rolling into kids asking the questions they may not even be thinking about. While this is going on, students are working out what they believe about ideas and concepts while being an active participant in learning.
Whether kids are receiving online teaching or tutoring through distance learning, parents can always enhance the education of their children. After all, the most important reason we educate our children at home is to form their minds and hearts. This can’t be done without conversation, so the best learning strategy is to talk to your children. It can often be easier to begin any discussion within an educational framework as simple as when you are helping them with homework.
Educational Resources for Parents and Teachers
Evan-More specializes in teaching resources for those teaching at home.
They also have a complete online resource called TeacherBox, which has something every child with activities from over 600 Evan-Moor books. Including hands-on learning games, reading activities and mini books, an simple STEM and Science projects. You can make learning fun with ‘ready to go’ arts and crafts, puzzles, games and fun projects. There are activities for every subject area.
Easily print pages so your child can complete worksheets independently or they can complete online through the TeacherBox interface. See visuals of some of the available resources in the video below.