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Parenting on Purpose

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Bigstock photos

When you were going to school, did you cram before every test? If you did, you probably reread the chapters and notes in hopes that you would remember for the test. And often you did, but where’s all that information you learned today?

Scientists will insist that that information is not lost; rather, it’s
somewhere in your brain somewhere. But can you actually recall it? Probably not.

Some of the things your kids are taught in school may not seem important to you. After all, when was the last time you used geometry?

Whether or not the exact lesson is crucial to their future happiness or career, you can coach your kids to have better learning skills. This will allow them to more easily recall the lessons that are important to them, even if they didn’t think the lessons would be critical in later life at the time.

The key for long-term learning is repetition and an interest in what’s in front of them. This takes some involvement on your part as a parent, especially when your kids are younger. Repetition is not merely the act of reading over and over. It includes testing their memory repeatedly.

Remember flash cards? That’s one way you used to test your memory, and they’re still a standard learning tool today. Give your children the opportunity to discuss what they’re reading and learning at school. By actively listening to what they tell you, you can modify the questions you ask to help them remember the details.

This doesn’t mean that I’m suggesting you grill your kids about school from the minute they walk in the door until their heads hit the pillow – that’s no fun for you or them.

The point is to engage and listen to your kids. Make their learning part of your daily conversation. It’s also good to model this behavior for them. You can talk about things you’ve read in a favorite book, magazine, or newspaper. If you saw something interesting on television, talk about it with them.

If a topic comes up that is particularly interesting to you, you can even have them quiz you on it. Ask them, “I really want to remember this story, will you help me by asking me some questions?”

This can be a good way to demonstrate that everyone has to exercise their minds in order to learn and remember new things. The key to remember is this; you will remember what you had fun learning. Make them aware that what’s fun to them will have a long lasting effect.

There are still going to be subjects that your children aren’t interested in learning. There may very well be subjects that your son or daughter still don’t do very well with in school. Helping your kids exercise their minds isn’t about the grades. This is about real, life-long learning.

By teaching your children how to learn, you give them a skill that they’ll be able to apply their entire lives, beyond school and into their adult careers.

Tell me what you think.
© 2014. Sharon Ballantine. All Rights Reserved.

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