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How Can I Help My Child Learn?


How Can I Help My Child Learn?

No school, however, good, caring and academically focused, can give each child much individual attention and it’s a rare child who effortlessly masters his times tables, reading and the finer points of comparative religion on his own.

The Good Schools GuideMost parents yearn to support their children but, apart from the ritual reading of, generally, mind-numbing ‘readers’ or repetitious “seven times four is...” it is hard to know what to do

Reading together is a must. But reading the words just for the sake of getting to the end of the page can be a pretty unrewarding exercise - especially when it’s a dull book. Read the school’s reader, as you must, but try to read books of your own too. Don’t make the mistake of reading something too difficult with your child. The important thing is to cultivate the habit and enjoyment of reading. ‘Hard’ books - for all their grown-up vocabulary - are more likely to turn a child off reading than encourage him. And then discuss what you read. Ask him questions. “Do you think Jonny should have done that?” ‘”Why do you think The BFG said that?” “That was a funny thing to do. What else might he have done?” and so on. In fact, anything you can do to encourage your child to think and question for himself is good.

Maths, too, can be helped by putting it into practice. Weighing and measuring while you make biscuits, playing with a clock to practise the quarter tos and quarter pasts and the “how long befores...?” and so on. And, “if we make a cake and cut it into ten pieces for your friends but only six of them come, how many pieces will we have left?” - these practical applications of maths principles can be fun, collaborative and helpful.

Finally - and much the most important - if you are worried, don’t pass on the worry to your child. An anxious child doesn’t learn easily - they are too busy dealing with the worry. Talk to the teacher, the head or a sensible person like the advisors in The Good Schools Guide Advisory Service. And remember that your role is primarily to be a Parent - not a Teacher!


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