Thursday 25 March 2021

Supporting my kids learning now they are back at school

Woman and daughter learning

It's so good to have the kids back at school.  I know that being able to send my autistic kids to school for at least some of the time during lockdown was important for them (and us), but it's so good for them all to be back.  My daughter has always been a quick learner and enjoys this part of being back at school.  Like many she's missed friends, but has then also struggled with getting on with peers again.  Even though they are all back to learning at school, we can still support them at home with this - especially if they've fallen behind when they could be.  

We can focus on a specific subject they need support with or are interested in, or help them develop their reading, verbal writing skills. So what can we do?

Read with them

All children are different, some like to read and some do not. Those that do, may not enjoy the prospect of reading alone. Whether or not they enjoy reading, we try to read with them.

There are different reading milestones by age and by ability so how we read with them differs. Either way, reading with them at home help us understand where they are at and how we can encourage their reading at other times, whether it's the instructions for a game or a number in a cook book.

 There is no specific or right age that your child should master reading skills, every child is different. You can read to children of any age if they like it - just because they are getting older doesn't mean they don't benefit from being read to.   There is nothing like an example to help learn things like pronunciation, definitions of words or how to interpret punctuation.  The Twinkl symbols resource can also help if you are breaking down stories. 

There are also a variety of illustrated novels and books for a range of ages that can help with those who don't usually engage with reading.    Sometimes our kids engage with these more because it feels like less pressure too.   Books can also help with supporting them and promoting ideas such as inclusion.  

Enhance their mathematical skills

Logical-mathematical intelligence consists of the capacity to analyse problems logically, carry out mathematical operations and investigate issues scientifically. It entails the ability to detect patterns, reason deductively, and think logically. 

When we do this it's simple and often involves food.  With Jane we can have fun and practice finding and reading recipes, measuring and multiplying when cooking. Cooking and baking with our kids can involve numbers and can be as simple as counting out two eggs or 12 cupcake cases. The kids always listen as they are excited to get the yummy food when it's ready. 

Engage them in music

Exposing children to music during early development helps them learn the sounds and meanings of words. Dancing to music helps children build motor skills while allowing them to practice self-expression. For children and adults, music helps strengthen memory skills. In addition to the developmental benefits, simply put: music brings us joy.  Music works in so many ways for our family

Teaching them to use their body to solve problems

Solving problems with body parts is also known as bodily-kinesthetic intelligence. This entails the potential of using one’s whole body or parts of the body to solve problems. It is the ability to use mental abilities to coordinate bodily movements. Movement serves as an aid to their memory and they remember movement from others as well as their own. They may seek out touching and manipulating objects when learning about them. Bodily-kinesthetic learners enjoy creating work with their hands, may have a lot of energy and need to move, and maybe talented athletes.

The act of writing can also help them retain and process the information they are writing about. Writing an answer to a question before saying it out loud may be of value to some, particularly our Jane. However, interacting with a computer or keyboard is more interesting to our eldest son than reading to him.  He needs engaging in technological ways most of the time. 

Get them to read your emotions or their own

Interpersonal intelligence is concerned with the capacity to understand the intentions, motivations, and desires of other people. Helping them understand needs and emotions will help them.  It allows people to work effectively with others and practicing this at home is a safe environment to do so. 

When we think of emotional intelligence, we usually think of it as a skill that adults need, but emotional intelligence begins to develop in childhood. Nurturing emotional intelligence in children is important for their success in interpersonal and social relationships in adulthood. 

To further their skills in this area, you can work on practicing what emotions mean and how they are often portrayed. We've seen a few card games that help with this.  Teaching children emotional intelligence means teaching them how to recognise their feelings, express them constructively, and identify what is causing these feelings. As I see it, this will only help Jane with friendships at school and that's going to lead to a happier pupil and a smiley girl when I collect her at the end of the day. 

This post is part of Twinkl’s Symbols Campaign, and this blog is featured in their 

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