I found this very interesting, particularly the section entitled, “Behavior, Learning and Language”.
A lot of it seems like common sense, but even though we may recognize it as valid, it is probably something we don’t think about in the course of our daily interactions with our children.
I can remember T.’s early school years, when we would try to help her with homework and she (and we!) would get so frustrated. It was a constant fight. Later on, it got easier, but I can remember those struggles so well. We are already experiencing the same thing with B., even though she is very academically gifted, and this article triggered a light bulb for me; the homework isn’t the problem. It is the fact that we are tired, she is tired, nobody wants to be doing it, and we all get frustrated more easily as a result. The approach matters…we have got to pay more attention to how she feels and to using the appropriate language in that setting.
The last thing I want is for either of my children to look at learning as a chore or an unpleasant experience, something to be avoided. I have always adored learning new things and have eagerly approached any learning opportunity with nothing short of excitement. I want them to feel the same way, because if you know that there’s nothing you can’t learn, then chances are there will be nothing you can’t do.
I think we all need to take a little time to research learning patterns and approaches that will help us to bridge the gap between our knowledge and our children’s needs. This is not information for teachers alone – parents need continuing education, too. If you don’t know where to start, Google it! (What did we EVER do before Google?)
Many parents think of teaching as, well, the teacher’s job – not theirs. But the fact is – and it is a fact that is well represented in this article – that you are teaching your child, every second of every day, whether you know it or not. The question then becomes, are you teaching them something you want them to learn?
I don’t say this to make anyone self-conscious or to make anyone second-guess his or her every move. I say it simply to point out that teaching is most definitely not only the teacher’s job. The teacher imparts specific knowledge, but the subject of life is taught not only in the classroom, but every moment of a child’s life and by everyone whom he or she encounters. No one is a more powerful force or a more profound influence on that process than the parent, whether he or she knows it or not.
Take a little time to look into how your child learns. Learn a little bit yourself, about his or her brain functions and the ways in which the brain processes and stores information. You might find yourself thinking up a few new ways to interact, that might improve not only his or her academic progress, but your own relationship.
It’s worth the time. After all, you only get one shot at raising this child, and there are no “do-overs”. Kids don’t, unfortunately, come with an “undo” key.