- Education and Science
Home Education for Children
A Girl in the Act
Children are naturally active people. Their lives are all about discovery, experimentation, achievement, failure, frustration and celebration. The remarkable thing about them is that they take all these experiences within their stride and aptly move on. What is fun for adults is usually fun for children too. Except that parents tend to forget that they already know a lot of things that children cannot make sense of. Consequently, it is important for parents to plan activities for their children, which will help them learn while having fun at the same time. Many parents usually carry out activities with their children that come spontaneously, without any deliberate planning. That is OK, but a little planning here and there will ensure that goals set by the parent are achieved by the child.
Montessori Based Activities for Your Child
The Montessori system of education for young children is devised on activities that are life-based. They are a great guide for parents who wish to engage their children in learning based activities at home. It may not be proper to carry the school into the home by importing all the Montessori activities. The children may fail to notice the difference between home and school and thus wonder why they have to go to school in the first place. However, the Montessori activities may offer a guide to parents on how to engage their children.
Some of the activities that may keep children busy at home are as listed below. Of course as parents, there is no limit to the number of activities you can create for your child. So this should only serve as a guideline on which other activities can be based. However, when other ideas are not immediately forthcoming, you can use the ones below as a starting point.
a) Helping Your Child to Make Patterns
The world is a pretty disorganized place. Humans always try to establish patterns out of this disorder to help manage their own lives. That is why pots and pans are arranged in a different place from the mop and dustpan in the home. Children learn to make patterns early. So the parents can involve them in arranging cups on a tray, fruits in a basket, clothes in a drawer or shoes on the rack. Care should be taken with breakable things such as glasses to avoid damage and injury to the child. Of course the idea of making of patterns can be constructed in the child’s mind using building blocks. Nevertheless, a real life application of the skill is an important learning curve for the child as well. You never know, you could be starting off your child’s career in engineering or architecture.
b) Arranging Letters with the Child
Words are created out of letters. It is important to help the child build words, and later sentences using letters on blocks. This not only helps the child to learn to create words but to read as well. Moreover, where words are already learned in school, this can be a good opportunity for children to showcase the skills already learned. An interest in writing can be cultivated in this manner.
c) Teaching the Child Ridding and Swimming
Children should be taught to ride bicycles or horses. This is mainly the responsibility of the parent. Ridding skills are important to establish a sense of balance and agility in the child. Moreover, the child may later in life need to get somewhere in a hurry, and the only ride available may be a horse or bicycle. Moreover, there are well paying careers for jockeys and cyclers.
As a parent you need not be the trainer. Engaging an expert would be highly advisable to ensure the safety of the child. However, once the skill is learned, you may need to regularly go swimming with the child to enhance the skill. If you can’t swim yourself, no problem, sitting by the pool and cheering is good enough. Just make sure there is a lifesaver nearby in case help is required. In the end, your child could be at the Olympics.
d) Using Computers, Singing and Taking Pictures with Your Child
There is no time like the present for your child to start using a computer. Just banging around aimlessly on the keys is a start. For older children, manipulation of the keys is learned better through computer games. There are many other skills learned through such games including following instructions, reading, typing and so on, depending on the game. However, remember that computer games keep the child sedentary for long periods and so the time spent on them should be strictly controlled. If you have some programming skills then children could be started off on these at the age of 5 or 6. After all you might seriously want to think of success stories like Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook and Bill Gates of Microsoft.
There is no kindergarten in the world where children are not taught to sing. Through singing children learn about sounds and pronunciation, rhythm and rhyme, melody and intonation, movement and dance. They also learn to play basic music instruments like drums. More advanced lessons such as playing the piano or violin can be taught later. Singing together as a family is usually very entertaining for children. Remember Elvis Presley started off early in life.
Children can learn to take pictures as soon as they can steadily hold a camera. It does not matter whether the camera is the one in the phone or tablet. The art of taking pictures is the same. Through such parental efforts, a photojournalist could be born.
Never Push the Child Too Hard
It is important to develop the child’s talents in different areas, so as to discover where the strengths are. However, the main idea is not to develop a professional in that area, it is simply to enable the child to learn. Many parents try to make of their children what they want in their own fantasies. This rarely works. The child has its own interests and will ultimately develop into what destiny holds for it. So, all these activities should be carried out without putting undue pressure on the child. Expecting too much out of the child too soon may make the activities tiresome and stressful and thus be counterproductive. The child may then rebel and refuse to participate in such activities, thus defeating the whole objective of the exercise.