While we all think our kids are the most clever out of all the kids in their class, it gets to a point where as they age, you see that they may hit a sort of plateau in their learning. And then it’s confirmed during the dreaded parents evening, and it’s quite a blow to you as a parent.
This person who you’ve really tried to instill some good values and encouraged to read and do their homework isn’t doing as well as you think they would be. And that’s not to say that your children are quote-unquote “dumb” but because they spoke earlier than the other babies or they didn’t bother with the crawling and learnt to walk quickly, that these trends in being clever may continue throughout their whole life. And it made me think, am I doing enough to make sure that my children are learning all they can?
The problem is, with any child as well as when I was young, is that learning is not fun, and it’s just not quote-unquote “cool” is it? This will never change, but it made me think that if you are forcing your kids to learn things, then they will just rebel against it, so the trick is to be a bit devious in their learning. Much like when you get children to play in the park, they’re exercising, but they don’t notice it because they’re having so much fun, is there a way to get children to learn in this way too?
The first thing to point out is that, while it’s never a replacement for a good book, the internet is a great educational tool. But we do have to be careful of what we expose our children to. Depending on how old your children are, you can use the internet as a little distraction tool. A book is viewed as a tool for learning, and so many kids won’t go for that, but using online educational games, they can be great ways to encourage essential skills.
The Big Brain Academy on the Wii is a good example. It is a way to encourage competition between siblings and builds up on things like memory, numbers skills, and words. A lot of people talk about how computer games are completely unhealthy for our children because it teaches them bad habits or makes them more anti-social, but if you pick the right type of game and the right context. So instead of your children isolating themselves, they can compete against each other in a game that tests their spatial awareness or general knowledge, it removes the “I’m learning” attitude and helps you to sneak in some education.
The other way to help sneak in some education is purely by seeing the big wide world. Going to a place where there are lovely views but also an interesting story behind the place will make it a lot more engaging for the children. Things like battle reenactments or theatre shows that go to schools make it “come alive” a bit more, rather than a teacher regurgitating a bunch of facts in an uninteresting manner.
The topic of school trips are vital to getting your children to learn things, because of the context it’s in. Again, it’s more interesting to see something come to life instead of it being in a book. Iceland school trips, for example, can give the children an education, not just in geography, but also how a different culture lives. These are simple things that help to expand the horizons of children but also give them an education by experiencing another country and culture.
It’s funny, I don’t really remember having much fun on day long school trips, but for those long weekends away somewhere, it became a lot more interesting. And when I didn’t realise I was learning, that’s when I took in more information. It’s something to do with how we learn, and as children seem to have an allergy to learning, you need to find other ways for it to sink in. But based on my experience, if they demonstrate they’ve learnt something, it is best not to point out they’ve learnt something because they will do their best to unlearn it.
Like they say, youth is wasted on the young. Education is to an extent. And sometimes we won’t use what we’ve learnt in school, but some of the things we use on a daily basis. Much like some parents sneak vegetables into their children’s food, try and sneak in some learning into their diet too!
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