With a rise in the expectation of both child and parent in respect to how much learning should occur at home, it’s never been more important to foster a love for learning and a thirst for knowledge in your child.
A huge jump in the levels that children are expected to achieve by the end of primary school, and a significant rise in the national standard for GCSE, has meant that for most children a huge dollop of homework is given to them every week. This homework is given to ensure that they cover all objectives and topics needed by the time they get to these tests. This homework, for some, becomes a battle and a chore. Making learning fun for your child can have a big impact – here are eight simple ways you can do this at home!
8 Ways To Make Learning Fun At Home
1. Allow learning to be child led
A key to enjoying learning at home is allowing the work to be child led – ‘You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.’ The same goes for children and learning – you can’t force a child to engage with a task if they’re not interested or feel that they’re pressured into it. Allow your child to take the lead – what do they want to work on first? How do they want to do it? Can they be the teacher and teach you? Just allowing them to make the decisions and take you on the journey of discovery with them rather than being told to do something may be a game changer.
2. Introduce topic based projects
Topic based projects are great fun that can lead you down a number of paths academically. If your child is a huge football fanatic, turn it into a cross curricular project!
- What is the history of football, and who are the greatest players?
- Can you make Top Trumps cards for these players using Information and Communications Technology (ICT)?
- What statistics for different clubs can you look into?
- Are you able to work out the averages for a player or team?
- What about a biography for one of the players?
- Where on a globe do they come from?
If a child is having fun or using a topic they love, they may not even realise they are learning!
3. Remember children are kinaesthetic learners
Children need to get hands on to help them to learn. Encourage some movement in their home learning. Why not use their weekly spellings to play a pairs game? Can you have a race to a whiteboard to complete a times tables grid? Do you need to complete a forfeit if you get a maths question wrong like jumping jacks? Movement is good for the brain and aids memory retention.
4. The computer generation
Children are now much more technically advanced than any other generation has been. ICT and computing can play a big part in making their leaning fun. Just typing their written work rather than writing it can provide a subtle change that encourages children to complete a task.
Educational games can be found at the click of a button on the web, and have developed greatly over the last couple of years. Use these games to have fun with your child. The ‘on-screen’ generation will take great pleasure in beating you at a game on ‘Bitesize’ or ‘Mathsplayground.’
5. Introduce rewards
Using a rewards system to encourage learning and make it fun is a fabulous way of showing your child that there’s an end goal. The reward could be toy-based for a younger child, game or computer-based, a trip out somewhere or an item of their choosing.
A star chart or sticker chart is an easy way to keep tabs on their achievement and a good visual reminder that they are aiming towards something. It’s a happy moment for both parent and child when it’s time to add a sticker/star to the chart. This positive reinforcement will support a continued love for learning.
6. A family affair
A visit to granny’s house was always a treat for me as child, so make the most of other family members. Can other family members get involved with your child’s learning? Could a big sister take charge of times tables drills? Is dad able to work on Geography? Can granny help with reading and write in your child’s record with them?
Showing your child that everybody cares and is on the same page with their efforts to support them is crucial. It introduces an element of fun when different individuals have a different take on how to support them. One adult may play games; another might provide a comforting, quiet place to work. Someone else may use colour and artistic methods to aid memory retention. Use a host of adults for support as it provides a change of scenery and allows precious time to be spent with the key adults in their life.
7. Liaise with school
Making learning fun at home could easily link into a rewards based systems that works at school. Use a home/school diary to allow teacher and parent to comment on the child’s achievement. It may be that alongside home rewards, additional house or team points are given at school too.
Learning that is acknowledged and rewarded accordingly is fun and enjoyable for everyone. Get a heads up from the class teacher about what topics are coming up in the term, it’s a great way to get started with building knowledge. Your child will feel like an expert when the topic comes around in class. As a result, they’ll love being the star of their class or the buddy helper to others.
8. Don’t forget to have fun too!
If you’re having fun learning with your child, they’ll enjoy this time with you. When you’re stressed, or trying to rush through tasks, you’ll both feel the negative energy, so take the time to make the the activity enjoyable.
Let them beat you at a game of hangman to practise their topic words or deliberately add up the last column in a calculation wrong. Read characters in their book in silly voices. If you’re having fun and laughing while they point out your daft mistakes, they will be too!
What ways do you make learning fun for your little ones at home?