Now that our children are homebound due to the Movement Control Order (MCO), are you worried about the progress of their education? Read on to find out how you can alleviate your worries and still ensure your children are learning.
When schools close, does the learning stop for our children? It depends. Children in government schools are kept occupied with homework enough to fill up their time for one week but is that really effective? What happens to the following week then? Parents are at a loss because all activities including dance, tuition, and sports are stopped and they are worried about how to occupy their children time.
If you haven’t realised it already, know this: the traditional education system is static. Its content in each syllabus consists of information which is old. According to Richard Culatta from the US Department of Education (Telegraph, 15 July 2015) “...textbooks are outdated as soon as they are printed...”* In a fast-paced, ever-changing world, this is true. This is the problem with the education system nowadays not just locally but on a global scale. Needless to say, the best way to get kids to learn about the world is to allow them to explore information online.
Understandably, you, as a parent, would have a lot to fear when your child surfs the internet. What are they going to see online? What if your child gets addicted to the internet? While you definitely have valid reasons to fear this, this problem can be easily solved if your child’s online activities are monitored or done together as a parent-and-child project.
In fact, encouraging your child to learn online opens opportunities for both you and your child to bond on a deeper level while developing an open communication culture within the family. Here are some ways your child can get engaged with interesting content when surfing online:
1. Learn to Cook
By getting your child interested in cooking, not only do they benefit from learning this essential life skill, but also pick up other soft skills such as learning to follow instructions, getting to know the ingredients, and learning to cook them with different methods. Cooking is in fact Science. Talking about cooking too helps to cultivate curiosity, encourage learning, and promote courage to explore in unknown territories.
2. YouTube Education
When your child watches content that piques their interest via YouTube, they are also learning the spoken language. Learning languages after all involves the basic communication process of listening, speaking, reading, then writing. Repeated exposure to the language helps your child familiarise with it until it becomes merely second nature. Besides, when they do watch educational content such as art demonstrations and documentaries, they will pick up additional hobbies or venture into experimental art projects.
3. Talk about Pets
Talk about unusual pets people have in general such as shrimps, ants, hedgehogs, skunks, or tarantulas. Often, parents are afraid of talking about pets because conversations that take place may end up with their child pestering them to get a new pet. There is nothing wrong with talking about it. In fact, that opens up a conversation about practicality and the importance of taking care of a life. You could reason with your child if having a pet is unsuitable such as - it’s too expensive, it’s too time-consuming, and also in future, when they do go overseas to continue their studies, who will care for the pet? By doing this, your child learns to reason and it’s a higher order learning skill. By having open conversations as such, children learn so much more. Usually, children pester their parents and they give in in the end then children always get their way. Do not engage or respond when your child pesters but come back to it another day and ask, “Do you know why I did not respond that day? This is why…”
4. Explore 'Math Playground'
Do you know that your child can also learn math online? Instead of worrying about them going online, you can redirect it to become a learning tool instead of a toy. We highly recommend a powerful online platform to learn math called 'Math Playground' (www.mathplayground.com). Explore it. As long as you keep resources as such at hand, there is no need to fear having your child go online because they will learn so much more than they ever will from textbooks.
All in all, learning does not necessarily have to stop for your child even though they are home. In fact, spending more time at home not only gives you more opportunity to learn with your child, but also builds a special and irreplaceable bond with them that can never be taken away from you. After all, these are the usual practices conducted in our ACE EdVenture Schools (Sri Emas International School and Dwi Emas International School) and are tried, proven, and effective methods to keep your child engaged in the learning process while still having fun.
Do stay at home with your family. Practise safe hygiene and social distancing if you have to go out for daily essentials. Together, united as a nation, we can overcome this global crisis.