Discover your child’s learning style:
Knowing your child’s learning style would allow you to gain insight into how your child’s mind works, for you to establish the ideal approach to engage and hold their attention. The three basic learning styles:
Auditory learners prefer listening to explanation and learn better by reciting information aloud. For example, after explaining a concept to the auditory learner, have him “teach” you the same concept in his own way so as to ensure that he had understood that concept. Also, before working through a word problem on paper, ask your child how he would solve the question so you know his thought-process and whether he is on the right track.
Kinesthetic learners love moving parts of their body and learning through interactions. These type of learners prefer to be active while studying and may not be able to focus by sitting still. They prefer hands-on activities to better appreciate a concept. For example, when learning fractions, you can try building blocks or even his favourite snacks to explain the concepts of parts and whole. Do note however that kinesthetic learners would usually need to take frequent short breaks.
Visual learners, on the other hand, may grow impatient listening to lengthy explanation as they learn better by reading, looking at graphics or watching a demonstration. Strategies for visual learners include flash cards, drawing illustrations, colour-coding information, etc.
Sometimes, a child may require a combination of styles. Understanding your child’s learning style will help to reduce frustrations, making it easier for you to communicate with your child and to strengthen that parent-child relationship.
Support learning with the right materials
Piles of assessment books are a common sight on the writing desks of most school-going children. However, the objective of working on an assessment book is to improve on areas of weaknesses and increase the child’s exposure to a variety of question types-not simply for the sake of drills. More is not always beneficial. Be selective in the types of supplementary materials you provide your child with. Some materials you may find in the bookshops are quite similar if you study them carefully. Blind drilling is a waste of your child’s time which may better be put to use more productively. Therefore, before purchasing the next assessment book, understand your child’s area of weaknesses and spend time to select the materials to specifically fulfil his needs.
Give your child regular, specific feedback and reward him for his good work.
Instead of waiting till the end of the coaching session to say “You’ve worked really hard today”, give your feedback immediately after your child demonstrates an improvement – whether the improvement is in handwriting or in his ability to solve challenging questions independently, praise and reward specific achievement so as to motivate your child to continue with the positive attitude.
Make learning fun
Learning at home can go beyond just worksheets. Fractions are easier to understand and a lot more fun when you are sharing a pizza. When talking about shapes and volume, use a biscuit tin or colourful candies so that your child can better visualise. The more your child finds learning fun, the more likely he will be motivated to cooperate and work towards his goals.
If you’re feeling tired, take a break. It is better than letting your child feel that you are annoyed with him for not being able to solve the sum quickly or correctly. One of the key goals of tutoring is to motivate your child and to boost his confidence. So do not risk undoing all your good work by losing your patience when you are feeling tired.
Share the load:
As working parents, it is hard to find just one or two spare hours in a day to dedicate to a home tutoring session. Get the family involved by having each to focus on a specific area that they can help the child with. Older siblings, for instance, can help to mark the completed practice papers while your spouse covers certain topic which he or she is more comfortable with. The coaching sessions can turn into a fun competition to see who’s making the most progress.
Source: With reference to an educational magazine.