Supporting your Child's Learning
Sponsored by Swiss International School Qatar
There are many pleasant ways to do this as opposed to being the homework police! The aim is to demonstrate that learning happens everywhere, is not limited to the classroom and is a life-long endeavour. Shared here are a collection of strategies suggested by educationalists and psychologists based on research, experience and good practice.
Set an example
As a parent, you are your child’s first role model of a learner, and by continuing to learn yourself, you can inspire and demonstrate that learning is an ongoing activity. As your child observes you, they begin to appreciate that learning can pose challenges; it requires grit and time, but it can also be fun, exciting and gratifying. Try learning a new language, taking up a new hobby, training for a distance run or another challenge, or setting personal targets and share them with your children.
As children get older, parents become learning coaches, giving guidance and encouragement from the sidelines. The aim is to support children in being organised and taking responsibility for their learning; the failures as well as the successes. You can encourage this by giving them specific responsibilities that promote organisation such as packing their school bag, setting the dinner table, sorting laundry, caring for houseplants, managing a weekly/monthly money allowance, or monitoring their own screen time.
Tune into your child’s learning life and be a consistent supporter, not just a factor when a discipline matter arises or a problem needs to be solved. Know their daily schedule. Be aware of special events. Keep informed of current units of inquiry and topics being discussed in school. Observe how your child best learns.
This knowledge will enable you to connect your child’s learning in school to everyday life and current events. You can point out maths, language and science concepts all around and talk with them and share opinions about news topics and local issues.
By demonstrating a genuine interest in your child’s learning, your conversations can become more natural rather than a face-to-face interrogation at pick-up time, when they probably just want a hug and a snack. You can encourage conversation by sharing something funny that happened to you during your day but don’t forget to listen either. Be prepared to talk about friendship issues even though this can be tough stuff for parents to hear.
Promote independent problem solving
Hearing your child is super important, but the goal is not for you to provide instant solutions. We all feel good when we solve problems ourselves and children need their own set of tools to learn to be resilient and independent adults. Your child will gain skills if you are a listener, not a fixer. If you help your child to focus on solutions rather than dwelling on the problem and encourage them to try different strategies and openly discuss what does and does not work, you will help them build critical skills that they will need as an adult.
Being a supportive parent may not always be easy, but it does make for a wonderful and precious journey. Enjoy!
Susan Anderson is the Head of Primary School at the Swiss International School (Doha, Qatar). Susan has been on the leadership teams of international schools across Eastern Europe, Central Europe and Western Europe for the last 18 years and has extensive experience and knowledge in delivering the IB curriculum. For more information about Susan and the school, please visit sisq.qa.
ADMISSIONS FOR SEPTEMBER 2019 ARE NOW OPEN AT THE SWISS INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL. INTERVIEWS AND ASSESSMENTS ARE BEING CONDUCTED AT THE MOMENT.