Home learning isn’t as daunting as some parents fear it to be! It is not the same as home schooling where the onus is on the parent to guide the teaching. Home learning really means scaffolding the learning from school, giving your child more chances to make sense of that. I talked last week about the sorts of general resources you can have in the home for your child to use alongside their lockdown learning.
Home learning games are just brilliant for reinforcing those educational concepts in a fun and family friendly way. As well as giving your child the opportunity to show you what they know (or teach you if possible!) there are all those wonderful social skills (e.g. co-operation, turn taking, being a good loser) and cognitive skills (e.g. memory, logic and reasoning, processing, attention). Playing games is a super opportunity for learning once the lessons have ended and very few children will turn down the opportunity to spend time with their family – playing games!
Home learning games can take all manner of guises. I particularly like Rory’s Story Cubes for a quick after tea or before bed game of storytelling. This is something that transcends age! My mother loves to use the cubes to remind her of stories of her own life - always surprising when a pirate pops up! For all ages, this is a great way to encourage literacy skills and can be linked to whatever they are learning in their lessons. The absence of words makes this a truly accessible resource and really delves into the imagination – oh what stories those young minds can create!
Learning times tables has long been a stumbling block for some children – however it is really worth the struggle to learn them. Memorising times tables makes it far quicker and easier for children to work out maths problems in their heads. Once mastered, multiplication facts can become second nature to a child and are fundamental in day-to-day life. The ability to fully understand multiplication and have fluency and instant recall will boost your child’s confidence in the subject. Times Tables Heroes is a brilliant game for helping those tricky facts sink in and it is fun to play – children don’t feel as though they are learning, they just get engaged in the game and the learning happens naturally!
For young children struggling with the confines of lockdown and maybe finding it hard to convey how they feel, I absolutely love this How We Are Made game! Ostensibly, a game to learn about the different parts of the body (taking its inspiration from the Montessori method which is based on self-directed activity, hands-on learning and collaborative play), the game also lends itself well to drawing out emotions and feelings from your youngsters. Use the game as a conversation starter and allow your child to lead it – they will learn about themselves and also have the comfort of talking with you. They also get to draw on the little whiteboard and we all know how much fun that is!
Battleships will never go out of date! It is such a great game for logic and critical thinking – skills which your child will use in all areas of their learning. I love the level of trust that is put into your opponent to be honest about whether you have hit them – some children really struggle with this as they want to win at all costs. Some great life lessons to be had here as well as reinforcing reading a grid, memory skills, fine motor skills (if you are playing on one of those sets with teeny pegs!) and much more. My children like to play as a pair against me. They usually win – apparently I am really predictable about where I place my ships!
by Allie White, educational consultant to BrightMinds
As a parent and former-teacher, Allie has a hands-on approach to home learning, believing that the best learning is done together in a relaxed environment.
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