As parents, we send our children off to school for at least 7 hours a day in the trusted care of educators, who we hope will help to fill their minds with knowledge. That knowledge, we hope, will allow them to grow into successful and capable adults.
But, how do we continue to cultivate what was learnt during the school day when they arrive home? How can we engage with our children to foster their educational growth using ever-changing technology to support them?
Below are 5 ways to boost your parental involvement at home.
Show interest in their school day
Whether both parents are working or one is at home, it is critical that we take a keen interest in our child’s day. Ask your child questions, “What was the most exciting thing you learned today?” or “I’ve been waiting to hear about what you were doing in science”. Keep the questions open-ended. Talk to them in an informal but one-to-one environment (making dinner, tidying up, taking the garbage out or going to get tea). This isn’t about getting 10/10 on an assignment – this is about them seeing you take interest in all that concerns them.
Involve your child’s teacher
Talk to your child’s teacher about the ways in which you can get more involved. This can be done face-to- face or via email. It could be by using technology at home. Find out what strengths or weaknesses your child has and how you might be able to use the methods suggested by the teacher in helping him/her to improve or develop. Their teacher is a great resource for you to take advantage of when helping your child at home. Learn from the person who spends the most time with your child outside of the home.
Choose a device
In the past, many of us encountered technology via the computer lab at the end of the school passage. Today, there are mobile phones, tablets, laptops and desktops, that are available at great prices. As a result of this, our children are exposed to technology a lot earlier and are capable of using a myriad of these technological devices. Pick a device where you will support your child. If it’s the laptop or an e-book or online worksheets, choose one device where you do things together. When you decide the mode, talk to his/her teacher about available sites, apps or downloads that are specifically available for your child.
Establish ‘tech-time’ at home
The use of technology should be supplemental in a child’s learning experience. Working on a device can be much more exciting for children than looking at a book or worksheets. Create a tech-time timetable that clearly states the days (Sundays and tuesdays) and duration (30 minutes) to be spent with your child doing online activities. Allow them to work independently but ensure that you monitor their progress. Let them show you what they are working on. Many online worksheets are available that are outside of the curriculum that can help you both – think together!
Understand what’s out there
When you have talked to your child’s teacher and decided on your device, look at the available options that are out there for you. Does your daughter like princesses and Disney? Have you discussed with her teacher what she is struggling to read?Disney Story Central is a great app for kids to encourage reading. They also earn trophies and awards while she progresses. Does your son like adventure but has difficulty with sequencing or areas of cognitive thinking? Check out Ansel & Clairs Adventures for quests and puzzles. Look at www.education.com as well for some amazing worksheets and online games.
Creating valuable and customized experiences with your child can change the way they view their education and their bond with you. Become more engaged!
By Mostafa Hassan
Mostafa (ArabBaba) is a teacher by profession. He has been an Arab stay-At-Home-baba (Dad) to his two daughters. He is also a blogger, who is on a mission to prove that Parental Engagement is vital to the process of children’s education. For more on ArabBaba visit www.Arabbaba.org