Observing Children Learning: What to Look For

Though your child may spend a great deal of time working on homework assignments, it can be challenging to assess how well he's practicing the material presented to him in school. Continue reading for tips to help you observe whether your child is absorbing his study topics.

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Observing Children Learning

To observe whether your child is making progress with her studies, look over her homework problems periodically. Notice if she tends to get the same problems wrong. If she struggles with different types of problems over time, she is likely learning concepts at school and through at-home study. It's common for students to feel challenged as they work to grasp new material throughout the year.

What to Look for at Home

When children have an active outlet for engaged learning at home, they're often more likely to digest the content presented at school. Create learning opportunities at home and take note of your child's interest level and frustration level. If you notice your child getting frustrated frequently, then you may need to provide additional support. In addition, become engaged in your child's learning by frequently asking questions about her schoolwork and suggesting that she explain the topics aloud.

Active storytelling can encourage vocabulary-building and communication skills. Ask your child to tell real or imaginative stories she's made up. Reading aloud to children can also play a key role in helping them strengthen linguistic skills. So, if your child doesn't naturally like to make up stories, consider telling her a story and asking her to provide the ending.

Involving children in everyday activities around the house, such as measuring cooking ingredients, watering the plants or charting changes in the environment, can help them develop concentration and develop a sense of responsibility. Such tasks can provide a foundation for math and reading skills that will be taught in the classroom.

Create a Study Environment

Helping your child arrange a study environment in his room or in a quiet corner of the house can be a great support for learning. Ask him to place insightful elements in his study environment, such as pictures that relate to what he's learning at school, photographs he's taken or riddles that are hard to solve. An environment that your child can actively interact with can make studying less arduous; think about hanging up a chart with stars for achievements that he makes throughout the year.

When your child is doing homework, you might sit beside him and complete your own work tasks. Children are influenced by what their parents do; thus, your child may feel supported if you complete work assignments or record-keeping tasks while he completes his homework. This arrangement is also useful if he tends to have questions about homework problems because you will be right there to provide support.

Develop Study Skills

To help children develop strong study skills, notice what they're interested in and find creative ways to help them investigate these topics. For example, if they're curious about the environment, take them to a science museum. Another fun way to investigate new information is to explore alternative meanings for words your child is learning in school, which can broaden her communication skills.

To improve language skills, consider doing riddles or playing word games with your child. To play a simple, effective vocabulary game, ask him to create sentences with new words throughout the week. For added fun, have him use the new words in a story that he writes or shares aloud. Finally, consider keeping math-oriented games, such as a Rubik's cube or math board games around the house.

Tips for Assessing Progress

To help a struggling child, speak with his teacher about his progress and ask for exercises that might support what he struggles with most. Consider having him read passages aloud at night. Sporadically return to passages that previously frustrated him and point out areas of improvement. Returning to similar reading or math exercises each month and discussing how your child's skills have improved can boost his confidence and help you assess how much he continues to struggle. If he doesn't make sufficient progress over time, consider hiring a tutor for extra support.

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