Extra Curricular: 10 Ways To Boost Your Child’s Learning

Learning is not just about the classroom. Though a considerable amount of desk time is required, there are many other ways to enhance your child’s education. Not every child thrives in a traditional classroom setting, so varying their learning experience is important. Children are constantly learning, in every situation that they find themselves into. Their brains are like sponges and absorb everything that their senses give to them…

Different Types Of Learners

Learning styles can be split into three main areas; visual, auditory, and kinesthetic. Visual learners need to see or visualise what they’re learning. They respond well to charts, illustrations, pictures, and colour. Auditory learners use hearing to make sense of information. They ask questions to clarify and benefit from reading aloud. Kinaesthetic learners work best when they are ‘doing’. Using models, moving around, and acting all help this learning style. I have a real mix bag of learners in my house. Willow learns well via auditory, Olive is a kinaesthetic learner, while Ivy is more visual. Myself, I’m a Kinaesthetic kinda gal.

Find out what kind of learner your child is and then tailor activities and experiences to their needs. Don’t focus solely on this style. It’s important to vary techniques.

The following activities will help boost your child’s academic education and allow them to have some fun at the same time.

  1. Toys

    Toot Toot

All kids get hooked on fads at some time or another, and it’s easy to bow to the pressure. But in addition, think about toys that will help them learn as well as having fun. Many companies offer educational toys across a wide range of ages.

We love practicing fine motor skills with beads and train tracks, reading skills with alphabet blocks or artistic skills with Playdoh and craft sets.

 

  1. Money Skills

The National Curriculum includes requirements for Pythagoras, geometry, and trigonometry. Though in later life when your kids come to budget for the first time or fill in a tax return they may be stumped. It’s important to teach kids the value of money from a young age. There are many ways you can do this:

  • Get them a piggy bank to teach them about saving.
  • When they’re old enough, encourage them to open a bank account
  • Provide them with spending money but insist they carry out chores to earn it.
  • Encourage them to save for toys they like, rather than buying them yourself.
  • Be firm about gifts and don’t cave in when they’re having a tantrum in the shop.
  1. Educational Trips

Field trips or educational trips are invaluable. They bring your child’s learning to life, allowing them to experience the things they have read about or learned in the classroom. Schools offer lots of opportunities for day trips or just a few hours out to visit different attractions or exhibits. However, it’s also possible to look for local events in your area. Some of these are mentioned below.

  1. Farms

Bantam Mc Bantamface
Bantam Mc Bantamface

Children who live in towns and cities often don’t have a concept of where their food comes from. They just see it packaged at the supermarket and don’t make connections about how it is produced. With serious issues like climate change and increases in child obesity, it is important that children are offered a healthy, unprocessed diet. Understanding where food comes from can help educate them in this area and encourage them to make healthy choices throughout their lives. Many urban farms are now popping up around the UK, and offer a great opportunity for city kids to visit.

  1. Growing Their Own Food

    olivetoms
    Olive picks tomatoes

Following point four, another way to get kids interested in where food comes from is to encourage them to grow their own. Even if you have a relatively small garden or none at all, you can grow fruit and vegetables in containers. For example, tomatoes and herbs can be grown easily on your window sill. Many of my regular readers will know how passionate I am about getting kids outside and gardening. A child can learn a lot about the world when they have a go at growing their own fruit and vegetables. Read my Top 10 fruit and vegetables for kids to grow in ANY home.

  1. Pets

Family pets benefit children in so many ways. A lot of research has been done in this area, and it has been found that pets can help children develop confidence, trust, and empathy.

We have 2 dogs, 3 cats, 10 chickens and 2 fish. It’s a handful, but the kids know exactly how to help!

Suzie and Poppy
Suzie and Poppy

All pets, whether you opt for a fish or a dog have basic requirements. They need a place to live and sleep, and access to food. Exposing children to pets and getting them involved in their daily care, teaches them about responsibility. Pets like hamsters, cats, and dogs will require additional care such as exercising, changing litter trays, and cleaning cages, etc.

Children often put pressure on their parents to get them a family pet. In the early stages, they are only too happy to get involved. However, after a while, their interest begins to wane. This is the point where they learn about care and responsibility.

Pets are also great for kids who are introverted or shy. They make great confidantes and provide them with a loyal companion. This is in no way a replacement for human contact, but a source of comfort and support.

  1. Museums And Galleries

    mammoth

There are lots of educational opportunities right on your doorstep. Local museums and galleries frequently host events aimed at young people and families. Exhibits are becoming more child-friendly, with the opportunity to touch and get involved. Keep an eye on your local newspaper for forthcoming exhibitions or join a few mailing lists.

Many museums are free and quite often have special attraction days with extra activities for the kids to do.

  1. Musical Instruments

There are many benefits of learning a musical instrument. For example:

  • It’s a fun and pleasurable experience
  • It teaches discipline and refines organisation and time management
  • Learning an instrument increases the capacity of your memory
  • Playing with others improves social and team skills
  • Playing music improves coordination and mathematical ability
  • Music can help relieve stress
  • It is a great way to boost creativity
  • Mastering an instrument provides a sense of achievement and increases confidence
  • It boosts listening skills

If your child expresses an interest in music, explore your options and find the right instrument together. Willow and Daddy play guitar together!

 

  1. Read To Them

I CANNOT stress this enough! Reading to your children from a young age helps them developmentally and educationally. It’s a great way to spend time together and deepen your bond. Plus, stories are fun, and there’s no better reason than that. Parents who read to their children on a regular basis are helping them with language and comprehension. They are helping them to increase their vocabularies and expand their knowledge and experience.

Willow’s reading level is exceptional. She has been reading and writing for a long time. She only started school in September, but had received a few badges from her Head Master for her excellent literacy skills. It really does give kids an extra boost when you dedicate time each evening reading to them.

  1. Spend Time With Them

The best way that any parent can help their child is to give them their time. Spending time with kids lets them know that they are important and that they are loved. This, in turn, improves confidence and helps them to make connections of their own.

There are lots of ways to enhance your child’s learning experience. You don’t have to be academic or knowledgeable in lots of different areas. All that’s required is spending time with them and having fun, and keeping your eye out for interesting opportunities.

How Much Does Your Home Reflect Your Personality?

We’ve been in our home for 6 months now, and downstairs is pretty much finished when it comes to the decorating. I think our house completely reflects my family- frugal, old fashioned and practical.

If there’s one thing that’s more important than anything else when you’re choosing how to decorate and design your home it should be personality. We all know that strange feeling when you walk into someone’s home and just feel… nothing. It’s as though there simply isn’t any life in the entire place. A lot of the time this ends up happening because the home simply doesn’t have anything to set it apart from any other. It ends up feeling more like a showroom than a home where people live and make memories. Clinical and beige (or worse… white!)

The best way to bring some personality into your home is to turn the whole thing into a reflection of who you are. Use your home to show off your own personality, and you’ll be able to turn it into somewhere unique. Luckily, doing that isn’t nearly as complicated as you might think! Here are some easy things that you can do to bring your personality into your home.

Show off your interests and personality

What’s more, personal that your own memories and experiences? Nothing brings life and personality into a home faster than collections of pictures of friends and loved ones. Not only does it provide you with a great way to decorate your home but it also lets you hold onto and enjoy those precious memories as much as possible. When you have kids, frame their drawings and display them throughout the house as well to show them how much they mean to you. I’ll be honest, my kitchen doesn’t do framed art by the kids. Every cupboard had school projects blue-tacked onto the cupboards and doors.

My house is full of books. My living room has a growing number of shelves going up full of books. We love books. Knitting, gardening, child development, parenting, sewing, animal kingdom, farming, and vintage living books fill the walls. I have an old fashioned (hand made) book cabinet full of novels. The books spill up the stairs and onto the landing- history books, and board game rule books, our bedroom always has the current reading list on the bedside tables. You could make a bookcase filled with your favourite authors into the centerpiece of your living room, or you could cover the walls in artwork and framed posters from your favourite movies or TV shows. The great thing is, it’s your home, so there’s no one who can tell you whether or not your choices are right or wrong. As long as it reflects who you are, then go for it!

Our handmade bookcase is 100 years old and was FREE! Stuffed with novels.
Our handmade bookcase is 100 years old and was FREE! Stuffed with novels.

I have a corner of the lounge dedicated to my crochet, knitting and sewing. Wool nearly as high as the ceiling surrounds my arm chair. Little cubby holes all over the house hide board games, some rare some common.

The kitchen is full of pickling jars, recipe books and tools for preserving our food.

And I would still consider us experts at decluttering… we do need another big declutter session soon though.

Go unique

There are few things that can make a home seem totally generic than having the same furniture or decorations as everyone else. The rise of chain homeware stores has meant that far too many of us simply end up with the same stuff, leaving our homes looking totally interchangeable. If you want to avoid this, then go the extra mile and find places that sell unique and interesting decoration ideas. There are plenty of places online that do this and, if you make a trip to your local town or city, you’re pretty likely to find some smaller stores that sell things that you’d never be able to find anywhere else.

Hidey holes all around the house hide board games!
Hidey holes all around the house hide board games!

We have a local warehouse that sells home furnishings, clothes, textiles and bric-a-brac that is all completely unique and old fashioned. I have a 1940’s wardrobe that cost a tenner, and even my fireplace came from there. I had a guess that it’s from the 1930’s, and I don’t know anyone else who has the same fireplace as us!

People have come to my home and likened it to a living museum, or even a little farm cottage… it’s just a 1920’s council house! People love exploring my shelves and borrowing books. Many hours I have spent with friends sat around the fireplace knitting. I certainly do not have a generic show home house!

 

Whipping up an Aunt Ruby’s pudding on the #vintage kitchenette. #1940s #retro #cooking #baking

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