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Tips to Improve Learning in Your Homeschool
Teaching your own kids brings both joys and frustrations. It can be a challenge to get a child who hates to write or do math to sit down and focus. But there are some ways to reduce the frustrations they have. Finding ways to make learning fun can also take some of the drudgery out of schoolwork.
Use Drawing to Reinforce What You Teach
Drawing can be a great way to reinforce content. Drawing and labeling maps and bones are obvious examples. But drawing and art projects can be used to help your child learn many different things. As an example, we recently covered cells in science. I had my 2nd grader draw pictures to help her learn the various parts of cells. I told her that a membrance holds everything inside a cells and asked her to draw something that holds things. She drew a plastic bag. I told her that ribosomes create proteins. She drew a factory to represent ribosomes. Your child is more likely to pay attention to what you are teaching when you give them something like this to do.
Have Review Days
I teach science, history and geography three days a week. At the end of every second week, I do a review day to cover everything we went over the previous 5 days. I use the drawings that were created as part of the review. I mainly ask questions during the review to determine how much my child understood and remembered. This way I know whether we need to go over something again.
Find Fun Ways to Teach Some Things
Learning can be hard work for kids. It helps to make some things fun. If you have a tablet like an iPod or Nexus, or an iPhone or iPod, apps can be a great way for kids to learn things like spelling and math facts. Drawing, like I mentioned above, can be another fun way. Having kids demonstrate concepts can help to. Have your kids do a hunt for common nouns. Play educational games like Math War. Have them demonstrate various verbs. If you can afford it, get a subscription to BrainPop or check out fun educational videos from the library. Check Youtube for animated educational videos as well.
Have a reward system for good behavior during school time. I give my 2nd grader an allowance but she gets a portion each day for doing schoolwork, piano practice and chores. If she complains or refuses to do something, she will forfeit that portion of her allowance for that day. I keep plenty of change on hand, so she can get what she has earned at the end of the day.
You could also use a sticker system. I did this in kindergarten. For each 5 stickers she earned, she earned a trip to the 99 Cents store to pick out a prize. For older kids, you could have them earn 30 to 40 stickers to earn a prize.
Youtube videos can make learning more fun
Teach Most Hated Subjects First
If your child hates math, teach that first while they are still fresh. Leave favorite subjects and activities until last.
Break Up Hated Subjects
If your child hates math, break up the work into different sessions. For example, if your child has 3 pages to do in their math workbook, have them do 2 pages in the first session and one in second second and save math facts for after lunch. This can be far less frustrating for your child. If your child hates to write and they have to write a paragraph, have them write two sentences in the first session and two more in the second.
Take Frequent Breaks
Children get restless sitting in one place for a long time, so it's best to learn in short chunks of time. Lots of breaks improve concentration. I usually start the day with a 45 minute session. After that, I do 30 minute sessions. Then we do a 10 minute break between sessions. Set a timer to ensure that the break isn't longer than that. We also do a 45 minute lunch break.