Starting early on your child’s education can be both a great bonding experience as well as a great way to help them succeed in school over the years.
There are many ways you can do this, and a wide range of benefits that both you and your child could take from shared learning. Rossall School provide this guide on how you can bring education into the home, the ways you can do it, and some of the benefits both you and your children can take from the experience.
Making it enjoyable
The best thing you can do to make a young child invested in education is to give them some sort of incentive that will help them feel more fulfilled by the learning experience.
It doesn’t have to be physical things, like sweet treats or a bit of pocket money if they be good and finish their exercises or tasks. It could be as simple as finding exercises with a twist, such as being colourful and interactive, like a pop-up book that has musical elements built-in.
You might even be able to find some educational toys and games themed around your child’s favourite franchise, like a TV show or book they really enjoy — What better way to keep kids interested in education than using something they already enjoy to improve their experience?
Education doesn’t have to always be strictly academic either, like practising maths questions or handwriting exercises.
Consider just furthering a child’s interest in a certain topic, and generally doing so in an encouraging manner. Maybe they’ve suddenly developed a bit of an obsession with dinosaurs? Then helping them discover more about how dinosaurs lived, ate, and about their evolutionary process, for example, will get them even more interested in the topic, but also lead to wider educational benefits.
For example, they can develop their reading ability as they discover more about their topic of interest, develop an inquisitive and curious nature that will lead them to ask questions and learn more on their own volition, and learn to become more confident and social by talking about something they’re passionate about.
You could also consider having your child take up music lessons if they want to. Learning an instrument can help with a child’s mental development, and help foster the inner creative inside of them, leading to improved artistic ability as they grow older.
Keeping to a schedule
It’s important to note that “keeping to a schedule” shouldn’t be taken as a strict rule. Your child might end up being put off if they have two hours of educational excercises and tasks every day at 5:30, for example — especially if this comes after they’ve started school and they’ve already got a lot to take in and process.
Instead, stick to a rule like “in three days of the week, we will do something educational together”, or “At least twice a week, we will make sure to find out more information together about something my child enjoys.”
A lot of educational theory around child learning has led to the conclusion that learning is best when it’s less structured and more child-led. So having this sort of rule still creates a sense of educational structure, but keeps it fairly loose and flexible so as to not overwhelm the child.
Essentially, the parent should consider themselves less as a home-based second teacher, and more of a guiding supervisor, never forcing a learning experience, but gently, compassionately and encouragingly leading their children through their educational journey.