Helping with homework
Your kids doing well at school is a reflection of the time you put in.
(Jade Photography)
At the end of last year, social networks were awash with parents singing the praises of their children’s scholastic achievements (me included). I shamelessly took a photo of Maddi’s assessment report, in which she achieved the best result possible, and posted it on Facebook. I’m not one to brag for the sake of bragging, but as any parent would know, the pride you feel when your children exceed your expectations is as intoxicating as the best natural high. So I guess we all accept that parents will behave like monkeys and scream and chatter about their kid’s achievements. No harm done and all is well. But spare a thought for those kids who didn’t make it, or who scraped by, or who battle with the basics.

Let’s ignore for a moment any child that has a proven learning disability, be it physical or mental. Normal, healthy children are born with the capacity to learn and flourish to extraordinary heights. Even kids born into squalor and misery sometimes excel to leave an eternal legacy, like Beethoven for example.

One of the key ingredients to keep our kids on the road to success is to ensure they get a good education, and it does not necessarily need to cost an arm and a leg. Maddi’s in a government school, while Hannah’s in a private school (she did amazingly well too by the way and got re-elected prefect by her peers for next year). The next important thing is that YOU have to be part of their learning process. You have to make time to help them with their homework, if not daily, at least 3 times a week, and even do some work with them at the weekend.

This has several benefits for both you and your kid. It communicates to your kid that you care and love them and that you believe in them and their success. It also gives you an insight into how their minds operate and how they learn. I discovered, for example, that once Maddi grasped the concept of adding by using her fingers, she ran in to trouble when she ran out of fingers. So I devised a system for her which involved a spare sheet of paper and scribbling down ones and bunching them into bundles of ten. This system seemed to make sense to her and the results quickly followed.

Language is a vital factor in education. An increased vocabulary helps your kid to understand faster and more comprehensively. The best way to increase vocab and improve reading is to read to them regularly and from as early an age as possible. Hannah is a voracious reader and a huge fan of Roald Dahl for example. She’s already digging in to books in excess of 600 pages.

None the above happened by chance, it came about as a direct result of me putting in the time to spend with them doing homework, reading to and with them.

The point I’m trying to make is that unless your kid has a real learning disability, there really is absolutely no reason under the sun for all of us to be reduced to chattering monkeys about the seeds of our loins on social networks this time of the year. Hope your kids did well this year!

How do you help with your kids learning progress?

Read more by Marlon Abrahams

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