Creating The Home Learning Environment
by Aminisha Black
While schools are designated official institutions and attendance is mandated by law, the time is long overdue for parents and guardians to take responsibility for preparing their children to, first of all, survive the madness that is taking the lives of our youngsters on America’s streets or in wars being fought in other countries. And it is long past due for parents and guardians to declare the home as the primary place for growing and nurturing our children.
Some years ago I launched a section of the Parents Notebook Newsletter “The Parent’s Forum” asking a specific question. I’d like to ask readers who are parents to answer this question. In today’s America and Brooklyn, New York what do you see as your primary job as a parent? What do we owe our children?
At that time I wrote “My primary job is twofold and of equal importance. I must live within a philosophy that supports me in creating my life anew ongoing and I must teach my children to take responsibility for their lives. Creating my life involves handling my emotional past so that I can relate to my children from who they are rather than as who my past allows them to be or how it allows me to interact with them. I am a descendent of slaves with a mentality for scarcity in all areas of my life. I do not want that trait passed on. People who take responsibility for the things that happen in their lives are powerful people. I want my children to be powerful. Therefore no one gets to sleaze out of taking responsibility for their actions by finding someone else to blame.” (1987)
As the 2013-2014 School year begins SMART parents will identify the intelligences of their child. This is done by having the child take a simplified multiple intelligence test which will show the areas wherein the child has strongest interest. Knowing that guides the parents in involving the child in related activities. The Parents Notebook uses a simplified M.I. test and a list of activities for each intelligence. (To receive the test, email PN at email@example.com giving the age of child.) The steps are simple 1) Have child take test 2) Total the number checked under each intelligence 3) Refer to Activities sheet for types of activities. And share your results with OTP parents.
Fun Activities done with the family at home reinforces academics learned in school. It also motivates the child to learn since he/she can see practical application of the theory learned.
Word Games – We are told that vocabularies increase by 5,000 words between 9 and 11 years of age. Mastery of language is essential to mastery in other areas. In SCRABBLE youngsters can play utilizing words they know. Because of crosswords, it sharpens the child’s ability to combine consonants and vowels. This game doubles as a math reinforcer because players must multiply and add to get and record their scores. The versions on the internet allow players to play from different locations but don’t provide the math experience.
Other Activities – Have child:
• make an inventory sheet listing groceries usually kept on hand. Each week have the child take inventory and list the needed items.
• calculate the amount of savings and discuss how the savings can be used.
• check the utility company’s math. In the process the child will learn more about utilities, rates and language.
• assist you in reconciling your bank statement. Excellent way to show where money goes and the responsibility of adulthood as well as demonstrate how math is used outside the classroom.
Write A Story – Make up titles or plots and place them in a box. Have children draw from the box. The child must write a story and share it with the family. This activity allows for originality and creativity to surface and be acknowledged.
A scavenger hunt might include: find the name of your city, another state, a three syllable word, a compound word, the weather report and on and on. This activity can reinforce social studies and language arts. Youngsters can also make up the scavenger list which requires them to know what’s in the newspaper.
Next week we will focus on 13-18