Should Your Child Be on a Learning Schedule?
by Sarah Forrest | 31 May 2018
One of the key ways parents can become more engaged in their child’s learning is to take a more proactive role in their schoolwork. Life coach and former learning specialist Elizabeth Colella Frank champions this sentiment, explaining that parents need to be proactive advocates for their children. It can feel easy to blame teachers or the system when your child is struggling, and then feel helpless to make a change. But there are ways to be solution-focused, a term we use a lot at Helping Children to Read because it’s both positive and proactive — the two qualities that can make the most difference to a child’s learning outcomes.
Finding the right learning routine
Part of being solution-focused requires finding a good learning schedule. Or maybe “routine” is a better word, because the idea is more about consistency than it is cramming your already busy calendar! Sticking to your word can be tough, especially when your child is upset and frustrated.
A consistent routine is essential for your child to learn at a healthy rate. Sporadically dipping in and out of learning programs, or working on supported reading practice only a day or two a week will not yield results, and is ultimately unfair to your child.
It can be tough to get started if you have a struggling learner who is frustrated or stressed. For that reason we strongly encourage short-but-sweet sessions, where quality, rather than length, of learning experience is maximized. With a tough task like learning to read, doing too much in each session can lead to slower progress. By “short”, we mean 10-15 minutes max, once a day.
Collaborating with educational partners
It is also helpful to collaborate with school staff and other local educational resources. Staff and parents can work together to identify student strengths, prioritize learning weaknesses and set realistic goals for your child. Sometimes, it is easy to get frustrated by the limitations of the system. And it can be quite frustrating! But we find it is always worth maintaining a positive relationship with the school team, whatever may be felt about the situation. Everyone is almost certainly doing their best, based on their personal knowledge and the resources available.
Picking the right materials
For early learners especially, sometimes that 15-minute reading practice daily is all you need to see improvement. When a child is struggling, however, you may find you need a more supported intervention. We run the Easyread system, which is a one-of-a-kind tailored reading program that provides online lessons and personal tutoring to see turnaround in 2-3 months of daily lessons. There are offline options out there too, or the school may have a recommendation.
The key here is to find something that your child enjoys. Otherwise the learning rhythm will never get off the ground as you battle your child to sit down and do it! Whatever you pick, make sure it’s short, fun, and research-proven. Then find a learning rhythm that will help your child flourish!
Sarah Forrest is an Easyread System Manager for David Morgan Education, and contributor at Helping Children to Read. She lives in the sunny south of the United States with her two kiddos who choose to sleep with books on their pillow!