How to Encourage Your Child to Learn Beyond the Classroom
Most of the learning for children can happen outside the classroom. Surprised? Read on to find out how.
By Hannah S Mathew
With the increasingly memory-based learning happening in classrooms, are you worried about whether or not your child knows how to involve in intelligence-boosting activities? The classroom is only a part of the arena of learning that life has to offer your child. To ensure that he grows up to be all that he can be, you can’t rely on academics alone. His attitudes, aesthetic awareness, life skills and depth of understanding are as important as his academics. These are precious keys to success in the competitive world that awaits him. For your child to gain access to these keys, it is necessary for you to work in collaboration with him and lead him to learning experiences outside the classroom.
Here are fifteen ways by which you can encourage your child to learn outside the classroom:
- Playing with educational toys, both mechanical and electronic, inspire learning, regardless of your child’s age. These are available in a wide variety and the right ones can cater for your child’s personality and strengths. These toys can sustain his interest for much longer than classroom lessons can.
- For older children, using mini DIY kits such as carpentry or gardening tools is another hands-on way to learn outside the classroom. Tools and their functions easily initiate their thought processes around physics and the world of mechanics.
- Discussing faith, family origin, belief systems and tradition with him can prove to be a well-spring of topics for his exploration outside of academics. These kindle his eagerness to understand himself better.
- Why should exploratory field trips be only for schools? Ensure you plan such family trips just as you do family picnics. This is a sure-fire way to kindle your child’s curiosity of the great outdoors.
- Travel together with your children to ignite their inquisitiveness. Conversations on topics about the places and things you see on your travels are fertile ground for studying various phenomena.
- Make everyday chores with your child avenues for experiential learning. Routine work like cleaning, baking, watering plants and painting furniture involve science. Chores won’t seem so mundane to her anymore!
- Visiting museums and exhibitions are superb outdoor activities for children of all ages. They will love these goldmines of information about history, science, economics and so much more.
- Going to the public library may not sound like much, but public libraries are storehouses of information on your local history. Also, they prove to be treasure-houses offering a wide variety of books to read. Encouraging your child to read will expand her knowledge.
- Take your child shopping. A trip to the supermarket is an invaluable out-of-academics classroom where she can learn to read the nutritional facts. This could encourage her to create some wholesome meal menus. Shopping can also offer practical lessons on accounting and budget.
- Watch educational videos, Internet downloads and television programmes. Show your child how choosing the right show can cater for his intelligence as well as his entertainment.
- Go on a trip to the zoo with your toddler, probably at feeding time. The wonderful experience of such proximity to the animals will prove to be a perfect ground to spark off his interest in life sciences.
- Bird-watching is a fine way to bring your child’s observation skills to the forefront. She will enjoy the time she spends watching birds and their behaviour. It will be a unique and memorable way for her to learn.
- Organise a day at a local dairy farm. The functions of cattle-rearing, milk production and storing of milk products might create in your child an interest in more of such learning experiences.
- Camping with your pre-teen is an opportunity to view the stars. Things can be a lot more interesting if you carry a telescope with you.
- Make the most of Bonsai gardens, bee farms and fish culture ponds in your area. These accessible, yet, out-of-the-ordinary places can expand your child’s perception of learning outside the school.
As you can see, learning outside the classroom has a hoard of rewards. It offers engagement and relevance that the classroom may not offer. Most importantly, it builds a bridge to higher order learning that will help your child develop a career for himself.
Hannah S Mathew is a freelance teacher, trainer and certified diagnostic counsellor.
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