How To Better Approach Educating Your Child

Tuesday, January 5, 2021


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You don’t have to place your children in home education to spend time teaching them yourself. Of course, that’s likely all you’ve been doing since they developed the mental faculties to understand and carry out instructions. Even when you’re not intending to, you are teaching your child about life, as they are very perceptive and continually learn from you and the environment around them. What they see you do they will often emulate, or at least deem acceptable.

No pressure or anything!

Jokes aside, it’s true that thanks to how difficult and unpredictable last year and its associated national lockdowns are, many parents have become both home workers and home educators, helping filling in the gaps left by online education or other extra curricular activities that have been cancelled.

Here’s the unfortunate fact - you don’t have to be a bad teacher to struggle teaching your child. Just as it’s common wisdom that teaching your child to drive likely isn’t that wise due to the high-pressure environment, it can be tough to teach a child.

If you come to this guide looking for a bit of extra help, we’d love to give it. These following tips and tricks can help you make the most of this tough ask, even while you balance everything else:

Take Your Time & Take It In Stages

It’s important to take your time when teaching your child. Rushing through material will only leave you both feeling stressed, and the information will rarely attained. You might wonder just how teachers manage to go through topics in only one hour a lesson with thirty children in their classroom, and yes, that’s a question that only teachers can truly answer.

That said, you do have the added benefit when teaching your child, in that you have direct contact with them, one on one, at all times. For that reason, taking your time is a luxury a teacher may not be able to afford. Taking your time, breaking up the work into small periods with little breaks, can help you better mount this educational hurdle. We would recommend setting a watch of forty-five minutes and making sure you take mini-breaks between self-assigned periods. This kind of time management helps you stay more conducive to good work, and it’ll help you make the most of your teaching strategy.

Talk Through Problems

It’s very easy to find it tough when greeted with a problem or a question you might not understand. Even you, as the parent reading through the material, could be stumped. This is a great opportunity to take it easy and learn how to stay impartial. You can teach your child to slowly talk through the problems bit by bit, better understanding how to tackle tough challenges rather than reacting to them immediately.

The first or second time you successfully talk through a problem that seemed difficult, give it some time, took a break, and considered it, your child will learn something valuable. You too, will learn something valuable. It’s a lesson we can all stand to learn and relearn over the course of our lives. With this in mind, you’ll no doubt see why.

Regulate Your Emotions & Frustration

Of course, so far we have talked up the positive effect of taking your time, of speaking slowly, of being careful. It would be unrealistic to assume you could keep this up continually without any falter from start to finish. We are all vulnerable and flawed people, and when it comes to learning in a high-intensity, odd and unusual environment, it’s not hard to feel frustrated, tired, or like you have a lack of patience. Your young child may not be as patient as you either, which is natural for children.

In other words, if you find that you’re both becoming frustrated, or annoyed at your slow progress, or you feel misled by the material - take a break. It’s okay to admit you’re not happy at that moment, and that the environment isn’t conducive to work. Does this mean you need to take a break every time things get tough? Perhaps not. But it does mean taking your time and understanding this is a possibility. It doesn’t mean you’re a bad teacher, or your child is hopeless if you have a difficult day. Keep that in mind.

Use Worthwhile Resources

Of course, a lot of the heavy lifting has been done for you in the guise of workbooks, curriculum materials, and more. However, we would also recommend checking online for official and worthwhile sources of guidance, such as this excellent resource discussing the merits of phonics and learning when it comes to reading.

You may find certain YouTube channels aimed at exploring history (such as Crash Course World History) or podcasts you may like to listen to together. Resources can help you teach and learn in a better, more varied, more pointed manner. Don’t shoulder everything yourself. Remember, when home educating (or supplementing your child’s learning in this manner), you are taking on the responsibility of education that is usually split up between a good number of teachers. Make sure to use the resources they too might find useful.

Have Fun!

‘Learning should be fun!’ is certainly something that almost everyone of school age would roll their eyes at. We know that cramming, or learning about topics that don’t interest us, or feeling challenged by a problem are not experiences that feel particularly fun or even worth getting excited for.

But learning should be fun!

You don’t have to pounce into the room wearing a one-man-band outfit to entertain and keep your child focused. You can have fun with learning in other ways. Discussing history, for example, can be quite interesting and thoroughly engaging, particularly if you ask questions of one another and consider what life might be like in Roman times.

Perhaps you can have a go at arts and crafts from time to time, or learn lessons through the use of physical tools and learning kits rather than sitting with your head in a textbook. Driving around your local area, walking through the park and seeing the rock formations up close, learning about them through Google Lens or another excellent resource, can help you take your learning and make it more practical, more present, and more interesting.

These aren’t ‘techniques’. They are vital tools for learning. They help a subject not only seem interesting, but novel and alive.

Try Your Best

No one’s expecting you to send your child to Harvard as a result of your sole efforts teaching them. Of course, perhaps that will be a possibility one day, but you don’t have to shoulder that burden yourself. Try your best. Some days, it will be tough. Some days, you’ll really enjoy it. Educating your child is the work of a lifetime, and is often found in setting an example more than anything else.

Just try your best. That’s often enough. Your child will respond to this effort, because even if they’re not entirely sure of what you’re doing, or they’re struggling with subjects, they see your time and effort being placed in this endeavor. Parents often lambast themselves for not doing enough, but if you’re doing the assigned work, moving through the modules and asking for help when it gets tough can help you achieve the best result.

With this advice, we hope you can better approach teaching your child in the best way possible.

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