I’m preparing to give a talk entitled Tons of Tips to Help Your Child Learn Better!
Here are five of my favorites:
- Read to them. Kids of all ages love to be read to. I even read to my SAT-prep students (11th graders!). I read them practice SAT passages and have them follow along with their eyes; this lets them hear what the passage is supposed to sound like and how to pronounce unfamiliar vocab words. Then we talk about the passage and make sure they understand it. I also often read to kids who get bogged down by their history or science texts. Often we take turns reading sections to one another. It moves them through the material, makes the content come alive and helps it make more sense.
- Let the teacher be the bad cop. Your child doesn’t know her multiplication facts well enough, but you dread the daily battle of getting her to practice? Ask the teacher to assign it. Ms. Miller says you need to practice your times tables for ten minutes every night is something your child can’t fight you on so easily. Then you get to be the good cop who helps get the the practice done, and not the baddie “punishing” her or “being mean.”
- Harness the clout of authority figures. Kids cooperate with just about any other adult more readily than with their own parents. Home schooling my own kids was the toughest tutoring gig I ever had! So, I joined a home school group and we took turns teaching our kids in small groups. Try setting up a Homework Club (with a few as two members!) in which parents take turns hosting and helping the kids with their assignments. This also gives parents a break from the daily homework grind.
- Harness the force of peer pressure. I also found that my own kids would listen to me and study if they had a friend or two at the same table. The other kids were behaving politely and cooperating with my lessons, and that forced mine to do the same.
- Sit with them when they do homework. For many students, simply having another human being sitting at the same table or in the same room, quietly reading a book or doing some paperwork, is a comforting and calming influence. It may help to go study at the library, where it’s peaceful and silent and the atmosphere is serene and studious.
[photo of The London Eye]