Creating a Setting Conducive to Learning
Your home environment significantly impacts your child's education. The more ways you can create a setting that supports learning and encourages your child to value the education he receives at school and at home, the better his chances of success. Here are a few suggestions to strengthen the educational atmosphere in your home environment:
- Establish a consistent schedule and healthy routines. Help your child establish a daily after-school routine. Allowing for time to unwind and play is certainly acceptable and something to be encouraged. However, set aside a time when your child is expected to sit down and really dig into his schoolwork. If your child finishes his work early every day, have him use this time to read or engage in other educational activities. The nature of a routine is that it's consistent.
- Eliminate or at least limit distractions during study/homework time. Designate an area in your home that's quiet and free from major distractions as the place to complete schoolwork. Your child can accomplish more and do higher-quality work with fewer distractions to lure her attention away from her studies. Major distractors include: TV, video games, phones, loud music, and anything else that dilutes the mind's focus. As your child matures, she may become aware of environmental elements that enhance her focus and productivity, such as music, so engage in conversation periodically to determine what, if anything, helps her study.
- Provide access to essential materials and resources. Give your child easy access to pencils, pens, paper, markers, a calculator, a computer with Internet access (if possible), and anything else he may need to complete his assignments. Your child shouldn't have to stop doing homework to search for materials and resources. WARNING: Carefully monitor Internet usage. The Internet is certainly a useful tool for research, but it can also become a major distraction. If your child abuses the privilege of having this resource, remove it from the study area.
- Be available to answer questions and assist with schoolwork. Encourage your child to make an attempt to complete her schoolwork independently. Make yourself available, but don't insist on being involved in every assignment. When she has completed her schoolwork to the best of her ability, give a assignment a quick look to help your child correct careless errors and to be sure there are no misunderstandings. DON'T MAKE THE CORRECTIONS FOR HER. Just merely point out that there are corrections of such-and-such type that need to be made. Let your child find the errors and make the necessary corrections. If you notice big gaps in understanding, encourage your child to speak to one of her teachers at school the following day. Move on to another subject and get back to it the following day when everyone is refreshed.
- Attend to creature comforts. Studies show that people are more productive in a comfortable work environment, especially if they're able to personalize their area. That's why so many people display pictures and other knick-knacks in their workspaces. Encourage your child to create a workspace that's comfortable and inviting. This helps him feel at ease and takes away some of the bad stigma associated with homework.