No doubt you are like most parents, wanting to give your children every opportunity in the world and protect them from failing. With a new school year underway and an ever-changing education system, it can be difficult to keep up with what is happening in the classroom. Grading styles and levels change, expectations and teaching styles change and the content in the classroom looks so different than what you were taught a child. How can you navigate this system and help your child adjust to new classrooms, new teachers, new expectations and new content? How can you help your child achieve success and self-confidence to ensure a continued curiosity and love of learning? Read on for some simple basic techniques to bring home that A+.
All Ages Techniques
No matter what age your student is, starting them on some basic techniques, year after year, will help ensure that as school and homework get more difficult they have the tools to succeed and to juggle all that work.
Basic literacy is something that, as technology becomes more prominent, is falling to the wayside. Picking up a book and reading is being replaced by playing computer games and iPads. Basic reading skills will help ensure your child understands directions, help to develop writing and spelling skills and ensure understanding and success in ALL subject areas. As students get older, poor literacy skills start to effect more than just English grades. Reading and writing are basic skills required for ALL areas of life. Follow these tips to help increase your child’s literacy level.
20 Minutes of Reading a Day
Ensuring that your child sits and reads for only 20 minutes a day can do wonders. This will increase reading speed and ease, help to improve spelling and help your child to understand writing structure and clarity. Lead by example and begin a ‘reading period’ at home. Turn off the TV and computer and have everyone sit together and read. It could be the paper, a novel or a comic book, it doesn’t matter so long as the child is reading.
Too add to the fun consider introducing Mark My Time Bookmarks which come in a variety of colours and patterns. These include a timer for students to track the time they spend reading and are available with a book light.
For teachers, trying to read handwriting and understand spelling is becoming increasingly difficult. Cell phones, auto correct, spell check, short forms and typing are all hurting our children’s handwriting and spelling skills. Encouraging your child to write in a daily journal will provide practice in each of these skills. Encourage younger children to draw pictures with their journal. Here are several tools we like to recommend --
Melissa and Doug Storytelling Paper includes guidelines for writing and letter formation and a space to draw pictures, storytelling paper is perfect for children to journal on, or to create their own stories from their imagination.
Melissa and Doug Learning Mats allow children to practice letter formation, adding, subtracting, multiplication and cursive writing. These re-useable learning mats (and the crayons), make practising basic skills fun at the dinner table.
Problem Solving and Critical Thinking
Besides helping in the math and science classrooms, ‘problem solving’ and ‘critical thinking’ can help to improve your child’s self-confidence and their ability to make good life-long decisions. Quick and easy strategy games are a great way to practice these skills at any age. Here are a couple we really like to recommend --
Triplica - Players compete by placing cards to line up three in a row of the shape that matches their secret goal. The first player to score five goals wins! But beware, placing a card can help your opponents as easily as it can help you.
Connect Four - A classic checkers game played like a vertical version of tic-tac-toe. Alternate turns by dropping colourful discs into a plastic platform. The object is to get four of your color discs in a row.
With some of the creative learning tools to be found in your neighbourhood toy store, learning the ‘ABCs’ can be as easy as 1-2-3.
Brighten Up is a member of Neighbourhood Toy Stores of Canada (NETS) and is located in Erin ON. Chris Bailey (owner) and Stephanie Giugovaz (Education Director) are proud to be part of the Erin community and committed to a mission of making learning and discovery fun for everyone. Brighten Up provides toys, games, puzzles, books and magazines as well as educational services and special interest seminars. Along with other NETS retailers they will celebrate Neighbourhood Toy Store Day on Saturday on Saturday, November 10 with loads of fun activities for the family!