Free Online Video Training

In February 2017, I will be releasing a 3-part video training focusing on how parents can build critical thinking skills in children preschool through second grade.

The training will start with explaining the “what” and “why” of critical thinking including it’s potential for academic motivation in preschoolers, struggling students and gifted learners.

Then we’ll review assumptions that prevent parents from fostering (and children from gaining) “good thinking” experiences, and the impacts of these pitfalls on a child’s ability to build proficient reading skills and math number sense.

The last video will give you some quick & easy tips to implement into your already (time-strapped) busy schedule. If you are interested in this training, just click here to you’ll be signed up to be notified when the videos are ready.

 

Smart Homework Tips.

Is your child failing their homework?

Three smart ways to help your child succeed on their homework.

Few students return from school at the end of the day full of excitement and eagerness about their homework. In my experience, even the most gifted students (sometimes especially gifted students) approach their homework assignments with a certain amount of anxiety, irritation, or distaste. After all, they just spent the whole day at school, why should they need to work more?

Motivating and helping your child succeed can be a daunting task, and no small number of fights have begun at the homework table. Rather than preparing for battle, I recommend taking the stress away from homework. As a parent, you fill the role of monitor and motivator. To do this successfully means implementing a few simple practices.

Blur the lines between learning and playing

So often young learners are restricted from “play time” until they successfully complete their homework. Essentially, they are told they are not allowed to have fun until they finish learning. It’s no wonder so many students are resistant!

Instead of holding fun over your child’s head as a motivator, reinforce the idea that learning is fun. Not only that, but it’s a part of everyday experiences. While homework may be a more formal version of learning, each game they play, every curiosity they satisfy, also teaches them.

Remind your child of this by integrating fun, learning activities into their routine and allowing homework to be a part of that.

Ask open-ended questions

It can be tempting to take on your child’s homework as your own burden, but it’s important to resist the urge. Instead of hovering over them, act as a facilitator. If they begin to struggle, ask open-ended questions that prompt them to think for themselves, instead of fishing for answers.

Questions such as, “How can you think about this in a different way?” or “What part of this problem is hard for you?” will teach your child to verbalize their difficulties while also approaching them from new angles. As an added bonus, when you monitor your child in this way you become less of a disciplinarian and more of a motivator. They can look to you for advice, but ultimately they are responsible for their own learning.

Incorporate breaks

Asking your child to do all of their homework at once may be hurting more than helping, especially if they’re bogged down by a huge amount. Instead, block off specific times for completing homework and encourage your child to take breaks frequently. Most young children have short attention spans, and when they become frustrated their ability to problem solve is greatly reduced.

Give your child 15 – 30 minutes to work on their homework in earnest, then break it up with an activity that requires some amount of movement or shift in thinking. Once they’ve had 10 – 20 minutes away from their assignment, encourage them to return to it. This will allow them to approach it with a fresh mind.

As your child gets older they may be able to work uninterrupted for longer periods of time. Be mindful of them as they work, and if they seem to be overly stressed or anxious, remind them to step back.

Are you creating a positive atmosphere around homework?

When you implement these tricks you allow your child to approach their homework with a more positive mindset. It becomes less of a battleground and more of a playground. While your child may never view homework as their favorite activity, they will slowly come to think of it as a part of their day-to-day routine.

Is your child struggling with math?

Even Numbers Have Words!Is your child struggling with math? Work on their language skills.

Tom has five apples and Sayid gives him two more. Later that day, Tom’s sister Jenny eats three of his apples. How many apples does Tom have left?

Do you have your answer? If you said four, you’re correct.

Now, what if I asked you to explain how you were able to solve the word problem above? It goes beyond simply knowing how to add and subtract – after all, the words “add” and “subtract” never appear.

To figure out how many apples Tom has, you need to call on a specific skill.

This skill, of course, is language. Continue reading “Is your child struggling with math?”

Why is building vocabulary important?

Chatty children make for successful students

How parents can improve their child’s vocabulary

You probably remember your child’s first words, and the excitement around them. You likely recall how thrilled you were to witness the transition from baby-babble to full-fledged words and sentences.

It’s an exciting time in a child’s development, and one of the most important. According to The Urban Child Institute the child’s brain grows to 80% of its adult size between the ages of zero and three. Not only that, but their brain is twice as active as an adult’s brain. During these years, your child is absorbing new knowledge at an incredible rate, and that includes language. Continue reading “Why is building vocabulary important?”

Parents of Preschoolers Mastermind

Make an early investment in your child’s academic future!

Join us for a Mini Parent Mastermind Event designed to help the most time-pressed, decision fatigue, parents promote their child’s school success and become more effective in teaching fun “thinking skills” during time already spend together at home.

This is an adult-only event open to parents and guardians of preschool and kindergarten children ages 3 to 5 years old.

We have simply solutions for busy parents!!! Continue reading “Parents of Preschoolers Mastermind”