For all the time and effort you and your kids dedicate to school year-in and year-out, it can be hard to step back and look objectively at what your child is actually learning or even IF your child is actually learning. You can take a quick look at your child’s report card and come to a positive or negative conclusion, but is that really enough? Is your child applying the information they’re learning inside of the classroom to their life, or simply homework and tests? While it isn’t always easy to determine, taking the time to figure out what your child is learning, can be a key to figuring out how they best learn and what environment best serves them. The three tips below can help you get a clear picture of your child’s progress.
1. Are you Seeing Your Child Apply Things They’ve Learned In Areas Beyond That Particular Subject?
For example, if your child consistently scores well on spelling tests, does their written work in other subjects reflect that? Getting 100 every week on a spelling test is not terribly meaningful if the spelling is not applied in other writing. Can your child use math skills outside of math class? If you’re not sure ask your child to help you with an age-appropriate project and put him in charge. It can be something as simple as asking them to double a recipe, figure the area of a wall or a room or even count how many windows you have in your house.
2. Ask Them!
If your child surprises you with a new fact or skill, ask where they learned it! Really. You might be surprised to find they figured it out on their own or learned from a friend or a video. Mark Twain was onto something when he said, “I never let my school interfere with my education.” Your child might be lucky enough to have a teacher they truly connect with who inspires them to want to learn. If that’s the case, take time to get to know this teacher and learn what it is they do that works so well with your child. Tips from this teacher may be helpful in future years when your child has a teacher who does not inspire them in the same way.
3. Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff.
Try to get an overall picture of what your child is learning. This takes time and lots of deep breaths! All kids are prone to giving adults that deer-in-the-headlights stare when unexpectedly quizzed. If grandma starts tossing math facts questions at your child over Thanksgiving dinner, don’t be surprised if your child freezes or gives grandma crazy answers. This is not an indication that your child is learning nothing or has serious short-term memory issues. Watch your child over time and in relaxed situations to discover what they’re learning and where they may need help.
Kids are designed to learn. Encourage curiosity and independence. Have your older children teach their younger siblings new skills. It reinforces what the older child knows and cements a bond between the kids. Instead of just spouting an answer, help your child figure out how to get to the answer on their own. It takes more time but the results are lasting.
Don’t panic over natural ups and downs in your child’s learning. No one is “on” all the time. If you are seeing a pattern over time that troubles you, talk to teachers or other professionals about ways you can help. Even if you don’t homeschool, a simple Google search for special education homeschool resources will reveal simple ways to help your child get ahead while not in school.
Looking for a little outside help? Special Needs Tutoring can help supplement the curriculum your child with special needs is already being taught in their classroom. Sometimes, a little one-on-one help can truly make a massive impact and help get your child back on the path to academic excellence!