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Get Ahead Kids - Vol. 3, No. 6 - November/December 2011

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Learning at Home

By Dr. Joan Brien

During the school holidays, children usually do not want to do any studying, and that is understandable!

However, it is a good opportunity to help your children "catch up" on any learning that they may have missed out on during the year. The big question is...

How are you going to do it without them knowing what you are doing?
Here are some ways in which you may be able to get them "thinking" about schoolwork without them realising it.


Money -
Many children have trouble doing money problems in their mathematics. In lots of cases, they have difficulty relating the pictures of the coins in their books to the "real thing". While you are out shopping with them, take every opportunity to let them be the ones to pass the money over to the shop assistant. This gives them practice in thinking about money in practical terms. You can then ask them to work out if they have to get any change, and if so, help them to work out how much they should get back. Don't make them feel that they are being "tested" because that will make them reluctant to have another go at it later on. Rather, do it as a "helper", so that you actually work it out with them.

Tables - As we all know, most of the calculations we have to do in life involve knowing how to multiply or divide numbers. For a number of children though, learning their "tables" seems "too hard". While shopping for groceries, you can ask them to work out how much it might cost for six sweets if each sweet costs four cents. They may have trouble with this, but you can help them by asking them to "add up" four plus four plus four plus four plus four plus four. They will probably come up with the correct answer of twenty four cents. You can then explain to them that it takes a while to do these sorts of "adding up". Then you can explain to them that they have really just worked out "six times four" which is part of their tables. Try to get them to understand that our "tables" are really just a short way of "adding up".

Spelling - This is often a very "abstract" thing for children to cope with. They often learn their spelling words as part of a "spelling list" but they are unable to spell the words correctly when it is in a different context. While out travelling or shopping, ask them to see how many of their spelling words they can see on shop windows or road signs. You can make this into a game if you have more than one child in the family. They can have a competition about who sees the most words from their spelling lists.

These are just a few ways that you can get your children to "learn" without them realising that they are "learning". I am sure that using these examples, you will be able to come up with some other great ideas that will teach your children in "real life" situations.

More Information

Dr. Joan Brien
Irlen Diagnostic Clinic
Suite 2/136 Nelson St
Wallsend NSW 2287
P: 02 4955 6904


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