Helping your Child with Learning
Helping your Child with Learning
In this section, there is advice on how to support your child at home with the academic and effective study habits that they need in order to embed their learning from lessons. There is also guidance on the activities and strategies you can use at home to develop the skills and confidence that all young people need to succeed in school and beyond.
Effective Learning Habits and Study Skills
The hints and tips on the helpsheet below offer what we know to be the most effective strategies for embedding knowledge in students’ long-term memories. These strategies should be used at home by students in all years in order to avoid forgetting essential knowledge and to link different pieces of knowledge together. These are successful revision techniques, but there are also activities that all students can use when completing their homework.
Parental Support at Home
Parental engagement in the educational development of your children improves attainment more than any other single factor. Parents can help their child most by having regular and meaningful conversations with them, by setting high aspirations and by demonstrating their own interest in and support of learning at home and at school.
In recent years, research has made it clear that parent engagement makes a significant contribution to children’s achievement. The more parents and children talk to each other about meaningful subjects, the better students achieve; home conversation really matters. Other studies have shown how parents can positively influence attitudes to studies. One of the most influential pieces of research carried out in the UK concluded that when it comes to comparing the impact of parent engagement to the role of school: “Parent involvement [is] a much bigger factor than school in shaping achievement.”
A range of constructive activities at home helps to create successful learners. These include:
- the use of interesting and complex vocabulary
- discussions about school progress
- conversations about external events
- encouragement to read for a range of purposes
- cultural activities such as visiting libraries, museums and historic sites
- encouragement to develop hobbies
- encouragement to question
- encouragement to try out new things
- opportunities to undertake everyday household tasks
Monitoring the amount of time spent watching television, playing computer games, using smart phones and social media is incredibly important. Time spent in the company of adults who demonstrate their own interest in learning new things is demonstrably helpful.
In order to prepare your children for their future beyond school, it is also important to develop the following skills:
Practical ways to support your child’s learning
- Demonstrate your own interest in learning
- Model some of the skills in the table above
- Invest time in having good conversations with your child about their progress, your beliefs, expectations and feelings, making sure to listen to what is being said!
- Be clear about your high expectations
- Look ahead and help your child to set goals
- Make clear your belief that all children can get smarter and learn more effectively through effort and positive thinking
- Show affection and warmth while at the same time maintaining consistent boundaries of expected behaviour
- Set clear routines for the time before and after school and for weekends and encourage your child to be involved in a reasonable amount of regular extracurricular activity
- Use mealtimes as opportunities to talk
- Set aside time to read with your child and to look at their school and homework
- Create space for your child to tell you when s/he is under stress or worried
Opportunity to Learn
- Ensure your home has lots of games, puzzles and books
- Make sure that your child has a quiet place to study
- Find things to learn together on a regular basis, ideally with parents sometimes creating special one-to-one time with each child
- Use everyday activities, cooking, gardening, making things, reading the newspaper to do things together and get to know one another more
- Celebrate effort and hard work whenever possible
- Tune in to the way your child learns, providing hands on experiences where possible and also opportunities to reflect
- Teach your child to practice – setting aside time, setting goals, repeating the hard bits, watching experts etc
- Make it clear that learning involves making mistakes and requires effort
- Encourage your child’s questioning!
- Notice what your child loves doing and be on the lookout for their emerging passions
- Talk about times when they are finding something difficult and what they are doing to cope
- Talk about your own learning, successes, frustrations, times you have had to persist at something
- Take the opportunity to share your passions and show how you make time to do things that matter to you
- Talk about people you admire
This guidance is a summary of research from the Centre for Real World Learning at the University of Winchester in collaboration with GEMS Education.