Tackling school work

My sons school believes in encouraging learning by rote. I dont want to change his school, but want him to get more out of his schooling. How do I help him?
All schools offer extra-curricular activities. Children, who participate in one or more, develop different skills and enjoy school life better. Children can also be encouraged to explore topics from their textbooks. Any topic in a textbook can be learned better by finding related information, activities and hands-on projects in an encyclopedia, library or the internet. This helps children internalize what they learn and understand textbooks much better.

My daughter has far too much homework for a fifth-grader, and keeps dragging it over the entire evening and night. She gets barely any time to play. At PTA meetings, teachers make it clear that the homework is essential, and that they will not reduce it. What do I do?

Its hard to get teachers to reduce homework if they believe its necessary. You could sit with your daughter and formulate a schedule/plan to ensure homework gets done efficiently. By choosing the right time to do homework, including five minutes of daily planning, it can be broken up into well defined time slots. This means that another time slot is opened up for free play or other activities. Once your daughter starts doing this, time wasted in procrastination can be eliminated. She will realise that working efficiently during homework time will give her time for other activities, which will in turn motivate her to continue this habit. The change wont happen overnight, but when you adhere to the schedule, and choose interesting activities for the ‘fun time slot, homework will be completed quicker.

My sons school gives no homework. Should I give him some?

Your childs school seems confident that it can ensure adequate learning without homework. This gives you the freedom to choose what your child needs, and you might find it useful to plan your own daily Learning Time, depending on your childs way of learning and habits. Get her to help you decide what needs to be done during this time.

If you think your child quickly forgets what she learns, you could get her into the habit of revising the days lessons in the Learning Time. Or, you could get her to work at a subject or skill where she needs improvement. If handwriting is a problem, daily practice could help. On one or two days, allot Learning Time to developing other skills like music or painting, or try out projects/experiments, or read together.

Learning the tables

Make up rhymes for difficult tables. Here is an example: Six and Six makes 36! Eight and Eight is much, much more, for eight into eight gives 64!

Your child can make tables grids at home and hang it at eye level. Or, make a colorful poster with your childs art work and tables and print it out. Circle the similarities in the table grid and highlight the differences. Point out that there isnt that much to learn as most tables are repetitive!

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