Parents are naturally great teachers and we know that their involvement in education makes a huge difference. But we also know that families are stretched for time and that sitting down at a desk with a worksheet together doesn’t always go to plan…
So, here are Bella Learning’s top tips for supporting your primary-aged child in an easy and fuss-free way… You may be surprised at how it will help them progress.
- Read TO them
It’s easy to assume that early readers should be reading to you and that fluent readers should be reading to themselves but whilst this is important, it is equally important that they are still hearing an adult read texts to them regularly. Children need to have the reading process modelled to them well into their teenage years so that they can hear how sentences works, how to use expression, how to pronounce new words and to access and learn vocabulary beyond their own level.
TIP: You can read anything from a recipe to a leaflet, an email to a classic novel, but keep letting them hear you read!
- Get an analogue clock
With smart phones, tvs and microwaves taking pride of place in our homes, the analogue clock is on the demise. Pupils are, however, expected to be able to tell and calculate the analogue time, as well as convert to digital. So tip number two is to get an analogue clock, put it somewhere obvious and talk about it a lot! You will be helping teachers out too, as ‘time’ is notoriously difficult to teach to a class of 30!
TIP: For their next birthday, you might want to get them an analogue watch!
- Create meaningful writing opportunities
No one wants to write for writing’s sake and in the real world, no-one does! So create opportunities for them to write, or capitalise on their own ideas. Leave little notes for each other around the house, create a treasure hunt, write a letter to a friend. Make an invite list for a party, write a play to perform or explain to grandma how Minecraft works. Find what inspires them and don’t push too hard. Ideally, they won’t even know they are writing!
TIP: Don’t worry about spelling, grammar or the mechanics, just let them go for it!
- Head to a cash point
Ditch the credit card and start using cash more regularly. We may live in a digital age, but kids need to see and handle money to get to grips with its value. Show them (give them?!) coins and talk about how they relate to each other. Let them pay in shops and work out the change. Involve older children in budgeting and party planning.
TIP: Get a massive jar of coins and let them count the money in piles – hours of fun!
- Play games
It’s an obvious one, but playing board and card games is a fantastic way to apply their skills. Try games such as Monopoly, Articulate, Dominoes, Yahtzee, Scrabble.
TIP: It’s also a great way to practise social aspects such as turn-taking and losing gracefully!
- Practise maths facts on the go
Number bonds and times tables can be taught in school, but the practising element is down to the child. Never underestimate how important these are; they impact every aspect of the maths curriculum and provide a foundation for life. If you can help your child commit these to memory, you will be doing them a great favour. Play games and competitions on the go – in the car, on a walk, on the train. See how quickly they can answer your questions (out of order, mind you) and then get them to beat their own time.
TIP: Choose one or two facts a week to learn and build up as you go.
- Brush up on your own knowledge of teaching methods
Some areas of the curriculum have changed over time and one of the easiest ways to support your children is to make sure you are up-to-date with what and how they are being taught at school. Bella Learning offer parent workshops in phonics, calculations, grammar and tests/transitions to this exact end. Feedback from clients is that having the current knowledge and skills at their fingertips, means they can answer questions and help their child quickly, naturally and simply.