The education your child receives at home is some of the most formative he or she will receive, as it creates a foundation for future learning and reinforces any lessons that may have been given at school. Create some simple, but fruitful, learning routines that will serve to progress your child’s educational development. These educational routines do not need to be complex or rigorous to be effective. Simplicity and consistency is key to garnering long-term results!
- Reading Routine - If you haven’t established one already, start a regular reading routine with your child. The benefits of consistent reading are numerous and include improved language skills, early literacy skills, increased concentration, and a fostered love of literature. Not to mention, the time spent together with a book creates scheduled bonding time between parent and child. Right before bed works well for many families as it strategically allows the child to wind down, facilitating an effective night’s rest.
- Handwriting - Handwriting isn’t taught as rigorously in school as it once was, but practicing a few minutes of handwriting a day in a workbook is beneficial in several ways. It strengthens motor skills, aids with reading development, and builds writing endurance. Furthermore, it allows you to observe if your child is holding their writing instrument properly and gives you the opportunity to correct it, if necessary. Poor pencil grip causes unnecessary strain on the hand and can lead to writing aversion in the future.
- Number Sense - Number sense is a set of skills that help us to work with numbers. It includes estimating, understanding less, more, and equal, and knowing to count things one at a time. A simple way for your child to get familiar with number concepts is by exposing them to an everyday number chart: a calendar. Post a large calendar in the kitchen or living room and ask them a few number related questions each day. An example could include finding today’s date and asking your child to tell you what the date will be in 5 days. Skip counting (counting by 2’s, 3’s, 4’s, etc.) is also easily practiced with the visual aid of a calendar.
- Science Observation - One of the earliest science skills your child will learn in school is observation, something that will serve them well in many areas of their life. Create a simple and structured observation opportunity that your child can engage in at least once a week and make it “official” by having them record their findings in a special notebook. A few ideas include planting a seed and watching it grow gradually, taking a nature walk and having your child collect specimens to draw and label in their journal, or having your child observe a pet’s behavior around a certain activity each day, like feeding time.
- Life Skills - Life skills, although not technically academic, are an important part of a child’s education as it sets them up for success in many practical areas. Each week, choose a skill that will harbor independence in your child and concentrate on it a bit every day. Examples include dressing and cleaning oneself (check out Storypod’s Monster Collection for some fun reading material on hygiene and self-care,) learning how to fix a healthy snack, chores, communication, and safety procedures. Don’t forget to make sure they have their phone number and address memorized!