Home Schooling Tip #2: Let children learn at their own pace
Children tend to enjoy their schooling and education if they perceive the learning environment as well as the learning content to be fun and engaging to them. Nelson (year of book publication) is of the view that children learn best when they choose what and when to do something. He suggests that for parents/facilitators to make children work on what is important, they have to make the options attractive and make it seem as though the learner is in control of the learning process.
In the teaching of learning areas like Maths, for example, a parent or facilitator can choose several activities that represent a number of key concepts that a child needs to learn. The child will then gravitate towards the activities that appeal to him/her first. The facilitator can then be removing those learning aids until the child eventually works through all the concepts, albeit at his or her own pace and preference.
The parent or facilitator also needs to take cognisance of the child’s attention span and be able to give the child bit sized activities that will keep the child involved. Overloading the child can be a great turn off and lead to ineffective or no learning in the process. Various learning methods also need to be used so that a child can find the learning process to be interesting and readily take part in it.
Lots of play and activity needs to be put into children’s learning. As the adage goes, children learn through play. Play and educative activities will help pace the child in his or her learning. Children need to be allowed to learn at their pace. They therefore need to be made to feel as if they are in control of the learning process if they are to be an integral part of it.
Written by Phumapethseya Nkala
Educational Advisor (Harare/Mashonaland West)
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CPS|Teacher’s Guides present Teach-at-Home (A Home schooling Guide)
School closures affect teachers, students and parents everywhere. At Consultus Publishing Service, our mission to provide teaching and learning material extends into these lockdown times by helping teachers and parents to keep children learning.
One way of continuing your children’s education is to turn your homes into little schools. This can be done in a structured and yet fun way for both parents and children. While our blogs refer you to creative and fun online resources, CPS|Teacher’s Guides can provide the structure and guidance to adhere to the national curriculum and condition your children to excel in curriculum-related assessments. Follow us over the next month as we bring you tips on how to teach your children at home without feeling intimidated. Using resources from the internet and references to CPS|Teacher’s Guides, you will find teaching at home easier and more effective.
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Home Schooling Tip #1: Create A Routine
How to Create A Routine
1. Start at the beginning.
Plan. Planning has several stages, and while you don’t need to overthink the process, it does help to tackle the phases in a certain order. Make it easy for yourself and check out our series on planning for a new homeschooling year.
Once you have a framework in place, it’s easy to have clarity on what you want to accomplish and which blocks of time are available each week.
2. Remember that a schedule is different from a routine.
Many people create a schedule, but stop there, assuming that a schedule will create order — until they hit a distraction that disrupts the schedule. Or they become completely immersed in a lesson that overrides the schedule.
A schedule is helpful and necessary, but it’s not the ultimate tool to use when you want to have momentum and significant progress. In order for a schedule to work, it has to align with your routines. Let’s be clear about the difference.
A schedule is a list of changing tasks and appointments that you set depending on a variety of factors. Doctor’s appointments, classes, playdates and due dates definitely need to managed in a schedule.
A routine is a kind of mini-schedule, but it’s more like a series of habits on automatic pilot. You move through these activities whether or not they’re on a schedule or to-do list.
Chances are, that no matter what time you wake up, you operate out of conscious or unconscious routines from moment you get out of bed. You head to the bathroom, brush your teeth, and then lurch to the kitchen for that absolutely essential cup of coffee.
If you want a daily schedule to stick, make it work with your default routines. In other words, don’t schedule a few minutes of quiet prep time when you know your spouse is hustling out the door for work. You’re sure to get interrupted with last-minute questions.
When it comes to creating your daily and weekly homeschooling schedules, think about your children’s routines. Do they blast through math and poke along at writing? Do they struggle with social studies? Are they devoted to science?
Resist the temptation to default to scheduling identical hour-long blocks of time for each subject. Instead, think about how your children respond to each subject matter, consider their strengths, and pay attention to areas that need more support. Then create routines around the transitions between subjects.
Creating a pattern for which subject follows the next is far more helpful than keeping an eye on the clock and worrying if you’re going to stay on schedule. When you create useful routines, you’ll still have the habit of moving from Mathematics to Comprehension to Science (or whatever progression you choose) even if you’re 30 minutes or an hour off your schedule, so the day won’t be completely lost.
3. Work with your children’s natural rhythms.
Are your children early risers or night owls? Do they have optimal focus and energy in the morning, or do they (or you!) need a couple of hours before their brains kick into high gear?
When you’re willing to take the high and low points of your day into consideration, it removes another level of tension from family life.
When my boys were young, I loved having easy mornings, so I let them have an hour or so of free time as I got breakfast ready and walked the dog.
Since they were more focused after breakfast than after lunch, we tackled the more difficult subjects first -- math for the oldest and reading for the youngest -- then transitioned to others. I reserved afternoons for free reading time, playdates and classes. I loved having the entire morning to tackle academic material, and then we all needed a break afterward.
There’s no right or wrong answer here, so please experiment and adapt your schedule to find the
4. Build in a feedback loop.
One item that should be in every successful homeschool schedule is a weekly review.
When Friday hits, it’s easy to close the books and rush off to freedom, but if you want to have a proactive year, take a few minutes each week to look at what went well and what areas need to be adjusted.
I found that Sunday afternoon or evening was the best time for my review. My focus and patience were at their peak after a couple of days off, and I could look at the accomplishments with more perspective. Sunday was also good day for me to plan for the week ahead and get the necessary supplies together.
I’m sure Friday afternoons would be perfect for other families, so please don’t get hung up on the idea that there’s a perfect day or time for this review. Just schedule a time slot that works for you.
Choose the rhythm of the week that fits your family’s unique situation. When you and your children feel free to design your days, it makes learning an adventure, not a chore.
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