Whether your child has already been in school a full week or just started back this past Monday, there are ways you can help boost their confidence going into the new year.
These first few weeks of school are usually dominated by some review of last year’s lessons (or assessment of skills for kindergartners). This can lead to quite a bit of frustration on the part of the child who “knows all this already” as well as on the child who is afraid to admit they don’t remember any of this.
Employing Age-Defiant Skills
Remember when they were so little and the way they learned was through art and play? Don’t be afraid to introduce some of that into homework sessions – especially if your child is struggling to make sense of the material.
Science has proven again and again that our brains are hard-wired to respond to images first and to remember stories best. Therefore, the trick to helping your child deal with either boredom or overwhelm is to make it a game of art.
Studies have shown that when we actively engage in trying to draw a picture of the thing we’re trying to remember, we have a much higher chance of remembering it than when we are simply trying to commit the information to memory – such as in creating endless lists or repeating the words over and over to ourselves.
However, if we draw a picture of the scene, no matter what level our artistic skills might be, we can remember it much better.
When we’re little and leaning our ABCs and 123s, this works because we are actually drawing pictures of the letters and numbers themselves. Once we start getting a little older, though, the translation starts to break down.
Putting this in Place
Rather than practicing the same spelling list over and over again, try encouraging your child to draw a picture of the word using the letters it takes to spell it.
If this activity feels too frustrating, you can also have your child write out their word and then embellish it to create an image with the word that they can associate it with in their mind.
Or just let them make art of each of the letters in the word.
It may look like a lot of play, but that’s precisely why it works so well. Not only are the letters making their way into your child’s memory through a fun and open channel, they begin to associate learning with interest.
As their studies become more complex, encourage them to continue creating art that reflects the material they are trying to remember. Perhaps the numbers 1776 in association with the U.S. and British flags and an image they associate with freedom to help them remember when our country declared its independence from tyranny and the lack of representation for history class or a water droplet with H2O hovering inside for science.