Nowadays, school is extremely hard for children. The National curriculum is constantly changing and making it more about passing tests and achieving a blanket standard. Individualism is lost in all schools and with the rise of academies, it’s a pretty scary time to be putting your child through school.
As parents, you’ll have to jump through the hoops to get your child through the system and to achieve a ‘good grade’, but there are things you can do at home to make a child’s learning more fun and more personalised for their individual needs.
Take a look at some of these suggestions, try them out and let me know what you think.
For younger kids, they very much have to take your lead on reading, especially if they are starting from scratch. Read along with them and slowly build up to taking it in turns. See if they want to read or be read to on any given day.
It doesn’t have to just be books either, if they’re interested in what you’re looking at on your phone, read it with them and talk about what the words mean if it’s complicated.
Puppets are a great tool to keep younger kids interested if you’re not great at reading out loud. yourself.
When they get a little older, it’s fun to sing karaoke together using songs they’re familiar with. They can watch the screen and relate the words they already know to the letters on the screen.
Don’t put too much pressure on writing super neat or spelling too early on, all that’s important is that they’re trying.
Get the little ones to write to you and write them back, or leave notes somewhere interesting like the toilet or in their lunchbox and ask them to write a reply back. Make sure there is ALWAYS pens, pencils, crayons and paper available and put magnetic letters on the fridge.
When they get a little older get them involved in making scrapbooks and get them to write the captions. They can also help making shopping lists and writing a personal diary.
For a lot of people, maths is never going to be fun, it’s just a fact of life. Numbers are hard to deal with and younger kids often find it an especially hard concept to grasp.
However, saying that, it’s easy to incorporate numbers into everyday activities for younger children up to the upper end of KS1.
Get them to help you find numbers around the house and when you’re out and about – clocks, speed limits, house numbers etc and count them forwards and backwards if a pattern emerges. Make up number stories like “you have 2 dogs and 2 cats, you have 4 pets”
Get your child to help out sharing food “one for me, one for you”, or baking with measurements or teach them a dance that needs counting to keep rhythm.
As they get older, they’re going to start getting bored of the same books over and over so make sure you always have a pile of books of varying degrees of difficulty on hand to switch things up. Make sure they are working through words they get stuck on and encourage them to solve it for themselves – if they get stressed by what they’re reading then take a break and you finish the story.
When they get to the upper end, you can start having discussions about the books they’re reading. Share how you both feel about certain characters and ask if they can think of any deeper meanings to the story.
Continue reading with them, get them to read out loud and read more difficult books to them. Encourage them to search the internet for particular topics that interest them.
They should start becoming more creative at this point so get them to write a story with you. This can stretch out over a few days so if they get frustrated, you can always take a break and pick it up again the next day.
Word games are great at this point – particular hangman as this can help with spelling and writing.
Whenever you go on holiday, make sure they write a postcard to someone back home. Talk about what they’ve written and be interested if you don’t understand then ask them to explain it.
Get them to help out in everyday maths equations such as weighing fruit and vegetables at the supermarket or practising times tables.
You can start introducing more complicated jigsaw puzzles and introduce fractions when dividing up food.
Another great trick to do at the supermarket is to start looking at nutrition labels on foodstuffs. Get them to evaluate how much fat/sugar/salt etc there is and encourage them to decide on the healthiest choice.