Just as your child is one-of-a-kind, her learning style is unique, too.
The most positive effect of choosing the right school for your child is she won’t get turned off to learning, Adams says. “We’re happiest when we’re learning and applying what we’ve learned towards a goal. A school that reinforces a child’s passion for learning by fitting how they best learn is a school that will set them up well for the rest of their life” she says. “Deciding you hate learning at the start of your life is as devastating as deciding you hate drinking, eating, or breathing.”
Seek Outside Help
A major issue for students of all learning styles and abilities tends to be that a teacher instructs a class of 27-32 kids, on average, in one way, at one pace. This may be fine for some students, but for many others it may not be the right style or speed. “There are only three to five students in every class that have the magic formula that traditional classrooms are set up for…the rest are shortchanged,” Willis says.
Because of this, Wu advises parents seek out a tutor for their child, which will reinforce what he learned in school. Oftentimes too, the tutor will translate your child’s work in a way he can best understand it. To pick the right outside help for your child, Wu suggests two pre-emptive steps. First, understand what your personal goal is for your child, what your child’s goal is for herself, and what she is struggling with. Second, look at the education professionals’ experience and reputation.
There are two standard goals for your child when working with an outside educator, Wu explains. The first is to build his confidence and get him to recognize he can do it! The second is to achieve an improvement in your child’s results. The benefit of working with a tutor 1-on-1 is “they can really hone in on the strengths of your child and figure out new ways to explain things to really help your child,” Wu says.
Support Your Child at Home
There are steps you can take at home to help build and reinforce positive learning habits for your child. Wu, Willis, and Adams all agree that the best way to help is to engage her using the following techniques:
Create and encourage real-life learning experiences. Visit one of the numerous museums in the New York metro area and explore and talk about the exhibits, or go on a hike and talk about the native species you pass. The opportunities to create real-life learning are endless.
Ask him questions. Find out his likes and interests. Doing this creates the perfect opportunity to customize real-life learning to his interests.
Model good educational behaviors. David Norment, an educator for 22 years and father of three, stresses the importance of not only spending positive quality time with your children, but also being an educational role model. “If you want them to read, read in front of them. If you want them to prioritize current affairs, watch the news with them,” he suggests.
Establish guidelines and an environment for homework. Eliminate distractions, whatever they may be for your child, and create an environment in which she can best work. Some kids study best in short bursts with music in the background, while others prefer to get it all done in one sitting with nothing else going on in the room. Wu emphasizes the importance of setting clear expectations for your child as well as creating a system that includes a schedule. To figure out which environment and schedule works best for your child, ask. If the system doesn’t work on the first try, make small tweaks until you find the right fit.