Creative Learning Strategies Parents Can Practice with Kids at Home

Nia Hendricks
Ever felt like there was just something in school you couldn’t quite get the hang of? How about for your child? Discover three tested strategies that will improve your child’s listening and learning skills that you can practice at home!

When it comes to learning, we all have areas of strengths and weaknesses. Never fear—there are strategies that can be applied to help us overcome our deficits so that what once held us back may even one day become something that pushes us forward.

The ESE (exceptional student education) department at Calvary Christian Academy took an intensive 4-day training with All Kinds Of Minds, a program dedicated to reforming modern education to accommodate the different ways students learn. The training equipped teachers to maximize students’ growth by understanding their learning needs, creating a climate that honors differences, and applying strategies that help develop strengths and weaknesses.

Debbie Hornsby, a Learning Strategies Teacher at CCA, shared some of the tools she picked up during the training that parents can implement at home.

  1. Active Listening Acronym
    Many children struggle with staying alert and focused in the classroom as well as at home. Mrs. Hornsby made an acronym out of three skills that she thought were a must to help her students pay attention. She implements these three basics of active listening through the acronym LCD.

    • Look at the teacher as long as he or she is talking.
      “Gestures and body language are an important part of communication. I ask my kids to look at me if they are not.”

    • Check your posture.
      “I want the [students] to sit up straight, facing me or anyone speaking to them.”

    • Don’t be distracted.
      “Don’t be distracted by other conversation or other things and don’t be a distractor yourself. I will periodically remind my class, ‘I need for you to give me some LCD right now,’ and they know what I’m talking about and will usually put on their best listening eyes and ears.”

    Create your own acronym or use this one to consistently implement listening tools to help your child focus at home.

  2. Identifying Strengths and Weaknesses
    Asking questions specifically related to learning can give you a better understanding of how children think. A great place to start is with their affinities. You can then leverage these affinities to their benefit and discover their strengths. The All Kinds of Minds training provided the following questions to help teachers learn more about the way their students learn. Parents can ask children these questions at home as well!

    • What parts of school are easiest for you? (Science? Art? Reading?)

    • If you were to design the perfect day, what would you be doing?

    • What do you enjoy learning about?

    This last question can really help you identify what learning methods your student enjoys. Just substitute the subject with whatever your child fancies.

    • Wow! You know a lot about birds. How did you learn so much about birds? (Reading, watching an educational show, field trip, etc.)

    It’s beneficial to then dig a little deeper to discover what subject areas or learning techniques are a struggle. If your child is performing poorly in a specific area, you might be able to help them improve if you know the reasons why. As you observe your child, you can ask questions that will reveal their areas of weakness. Here are some examples:

    • I noticed that you seem to get frustrated while doing Math homework. Can you tell me about what bothers you?

    • You spent a lot of time on your project display and it looks great! I noticed that your written report does not have as much information. Is writing sometimes difficult for you?

  3. Guided Conversational Technique
    All Kinds of Minds has not only enhanced the current ESE curriculum at CCA, but revitalized it. As we provided opportunities to hear from our students and assess their needs, we discovered that many of them felt weak in their area of social cognition. Mrs. Hornsby began implementing a daily lesson on conversational technique by grouping students together and encouraging them to talk.

    “The students were embarrassed at first, but they so enjoyed conversing with each other and learning the steps to being a stronger conversationalist. They were excited to work on this daily! I would choose the topic and they all had to be involved with the conversation. They had so much fun with it, and so did their teacher!”

    At home, parents can create focused time of conversation by giving their child a specific topic and guiding them through the conversation. Ask questions to keep them engaged and on topic. Over time, their skills will improve and they will feel more confident when they interact with other people.

Lifelong Learners

Every child is a unique person with different strengths and weaknesses. One of the best things you can do to develop your child’s learning abilities is to observe them! Pay attention to what they do at home and how they do it. Education should be about so much more than just memorizing information and regurgitating it on a test. The way in which students learn is just as important as what they learn—that’s what inspired our faculty to undergo the All Kinds of Minds training. When we encourage what makes children special, and give them opportunities to flourish in their strengths, we are preparing them to become confident lifelong learners!
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