I know I’ve said this before but I strongly believe that, as parents, we are just as responsible for our children’s education as their teachers and schools are.
For me though, it’s never been about actually sitting them down and teaching them, it’s always been more about turning everyday experiences into opportunities for learning. Miss Frugal is in college now and Master Frugal is in Year 10 studying for his GCSEs so I thought I’d share a few ideas on how you can do this yourself with your children…
Read to them
The first one is an obvious one but I couldn’t not include it! Reading is one of the best ways you can encourage children to learn and it’s always beneficial whether it’s reading bedtime stories to them when they’re little, encouraging them to read menus and signs when you’re out and about or even reading magazines. Master Frugal wasn’t a huge fan of reading a book but buy him a football magazine and he was all over it!
Don’t be afraid to use technology
I hate how some people get all judgey when they see children using phones and tablets because there are some really great apps out there that can teach your children while they play. The best kind of learning is when children don’t even realise they’re actually learning. For example, the language learning app Babbel can be very beneficial to your child’s learning process… and they can be fun!
Make learning fun by using games
You can make just about anything a game and encourage your children to have more fun with learning this way. It’s simple things like if your child is learning how to count, have them count the dogs at the park or their favourite toys. Get them to be a shopkeeper and sell you things, working out how much change you get. Just be a bit creative and have your kids be creative too!
Share your learning experiences
When you talk about learning in a positive light, your child will feed off your excitement. So share your learning experiences with your child, including what you enjoyed doing to learn and what it meant to you – I loved telling my children how we used to do research by going to the library rather than just being able to search online. They were horrified. 😉
Encourage passions, interests and talents
When your child feels encouraged to explore their passions, interests and talents it gives them the space to be creative, use their imagination and let loose.
Give feedback but moderate the constructive feedback
While you want to give your child feedback as they learn, it is important that you moderate the constructive feedback and maintain a positive learning environment. At the same time, you want your child to learn how to take and respond to constructive feedback, so it is all a balancing act. One of the most important things to remember is that every question is a good question while your child is in learning mode.
Go on outings that interest your child
Master Frugal went through a phase of loving everything World War 2 related so we enhanced what he was learning with the school by bringing it to life more, taking him to local museums and historical sites. It really helped encourage him to learn but he just thought we were having a family day out.
Have reasonable expectations and don’t be too demanding
Parenting is certainly not an easy task and, while we all want the best for our kids, it is crucial to have reasonable expectations and to not be too demanding. There is a fine line between encouraging, constructive and supportive and putting too much pressure on your child.
Let them know you believe in them
I always tell my children that I know they can do something, even when they don’t think they can and we celebrate every achievement. Getting 10 out of 10 on a spelling test is amazing but equally, getting 6 out of 10 is brilliant if every effort has been made. Not all children are 10 out of 10 children when it comes to results but they might excel in other areas so celebrate when they try their hardest and encourage them to work as hard as they can.
Don’t be afraid to resort to bribery
I know this one isn’t going to be for everyone but don’t be afraid to use a bit of bribery to encourage older children to do well. I did it with Miss Frugal and her GCSEs and it worked a treat!
I’d also add for you, as a parent, not to stress about whether your child is behind their classmates. All children learn at a different pace and the more you worry about it, the more you’ll make learning at home a stressful experience which won’t do you or your child any good!
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