GEORGE NEWS - With South Africa in lockdown and parents having to take responsibility for their children's schoolwork, Ponnie Moodley, director of Nkowa Education, takes a look at how parents can help their children stay on top of their schoolwork.
Begin with goal-setting
Beginning with the end in mind, sets your child up for success.
• Formulate a to-do list.
• Include school assignments and home management issues and chores.
• Having a general list for the family as well as for individual family members will ensure everyone contributes to keeping your home organised.
• Prioritise tasks from most important to least important.
• Review and update your list at the end of the day or week, delegating new tasks if and when needed.
Establish a daily routine
Children need consistency where they can predict what is expected of them on a daily basis.
• It facilitates quick transition between one activity and another.
• It sets a tone to instil self-discipline and self-motivation.
• Follow the normal school timetable and roster as closely as possible to help things run smoothly during this time of uncertainty.
• Include a variety of activities that target physical, emotional and mental health activities.
• Make changes and adapt the routine to the needs of your family and individual members.
Formulate a self-discipline plan
Aim to make your child self-disciplined, taking charge of their own education.
• Help your child to be intrinsically motivated by encouraging and praising them.
• List a maximum of five realistic expectations and have them posted on a wall for constant referral.
• Discuss incentives and rewards that are awarded at the end of the week as opposed to on a daily basis.
• Make it visual and fun for young children, in order for them to be motivated and inspired.
• Include school and household expectations that are tangible, realistic and age appropriate.
Address the needs of the whole child
The physical, psychological, emotional and social development will impact the academic development of your child.
• Establish a sense of community and be aware of nuances, accents and body language.
• Giving clear boundaries, including what are acceptable and unacceptable behaviour, will set the tone for family life.
• Model positive verbal and non-verbal behaviour, as children mirror adults' mannerisms.
• Celebrate diversity and complement the different learning styles and characteristics of your children with appropriate activities.
• Incorporate different pathways to learning, integrate individual talents and challenge your children.
Set up an ideal study space
Have a designated area for your child to study as it brings an academic atmosphere into your home.
• Find a peaceful, quiet area either in a communal space or a more private room.
• Remove all distractions like phones and loud music, while keeping other digital devices for study purposes only.
• Play calm or classical music that will help concentration and not interfere with studying.
• Consider lighting and temperature that will enhance comfort and focus.
• Have all your supplies at hand as this will prevent unnecessary movement.
• Personalise the space to fit your needs and display motivating or informational posters on the surrounding walls.
• Be organised and clean up between activities and at the end of each day.
Master the basic skills
Before venturing onto more complex concepts, it is very important that children master the required basic skills first.
• Simple Mental Maths that target single digit addition, subtraction, multiplication and division will help build the necessary foundation.
• Once mastered, older children can move onto double-digit Mental Maths exercises, formulas and theorems.
• For language skills, concentrate on phonics and syllabication as this will help your child read more fluently and understand what they read.
• Reading aloud and to each other will help children enunciate, use a variety of tones and know when to pause.
• Exploring various character education traits will help children understand the importance of being honest, having integrity and using effective communication skills.
• Note-taking and study strategies and exploring mind maps will give children more control over their studies.
Develop good work ethic
Instilling good work ethic is the most important indicator of career success and future excellence.
• Try to stick to your daily schedule as much as possible.
• Practise punctuality and cultivate the need for self-discipline, integrity and good values.
• Avoid distractions like social media and checking e-mails. Reserve those for designated times and during breaks.
• Be task- and not time-oriented, while also managing your time wisely.
• Take responsibility for your words and actions, as these have consequences.
• Be prepared to receive back from others and always spend time on self-reflection.
• Stay balanced by getting enough sleep, exercise, relaxation and following a good diet.
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