6 ways to get involved in the education of your Kindergarten child

By Dr. Vani Vijayaraj, Endodontist and Cosmetic Surgeon

I like to play a very important role in the education of my four year old child. There is an old Chinese saying.

” Give a seed to a potter and you shall have a bonsai”

If we depend only on the school curriculum to enrich our child’s knowledge, then we are not entirely nurturing the child’s mind, body and spirit.

Photo credit: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/992545

In the early years, children spend most of their time outside of school. Parents should provide meaningful learning activities at home for their children, prepare, support and enhance what is taught at school.

When I was teaching my then three year old about the different professionals, we took her to a fire station, met with a policeman, a dentist, a doctor, cab driver, gardner, maid, engineer etc. She can now relate to all of them and this provides a stimulating experience.

Here are the six ways you as a parent can get involved.

1. Maintain a daily and weekly family routine

For example, every Sunday evening we have a family routine. We as a family sit in our garden on our respective comfortable chairs along with our own books and have our coffees, fruits and milk spending quality time and as we read our books we even discuss the books. Have a clutter free desk for your child to study everyday. Set a fixed time each day for study and homework and do not negotiate. Read to your child every night, reading aloud is the most important activity that parents can do to increase their child’s chance of reading successfully.

2. Regularly communicate with the school

Informal discussions with school staff is the most useful way to find out about children’s progress in school. It can help us focus on things that the child needs help with.

3. Monitor after school activities

Make sure your child is always supervised, arrange for after school activities like group work on science projects (a group of parents can take turns to help the children), music, dance, sports , literary activities etc. These will help in the development of the child’s social skills.

4. Plan Field trips

Plan field trips with either with a group of your child’s friends or just the family. Field trips give your children the opportunity to touch, hold, see, taste and live what they are learning from books. Plan a trip to the farm, a wild life sanctuary, planetarium etc.

5. Involve yourself in your child’s project work

When you help your child with their project, give a lot of input, help them browse the internet for the best information, take them to the libraries and help them present the project in a excellent manner, which gets appreciated at school and makes the child want to do more.

6. Talk to your children about what they are learning at school

It is important to ask your child about school, be it a Kindergartner or a high schooler . Always ask open-ended questions about their class work —questions that can’t be answered with a “yes” or ‘no.” Make sure you share any knowledge you have and if required read the textbooks or browse the net for more information.

I want to share my experience on how I got involved with my child’s project work. The month’s topic in my daughter’s school was seasons. I taught my daughter her seasons, by not just showing her pictures, but by making a diorama with her helping out. We used scrub pads to make the leaves.

  • Spring: Blooms everywhere with the big yellow sun and butterflies
  • Summer: Blooms turning into fruits, with thirsty birds on a bird bath.
  • Autumn: Yellow and orange leaves falling, rain and also a rake.
  • Winter: Snow and snow man. No leaves on the branches and the sun farthest away.

 

 

I created a chart to show all four seasons in one. She learnt quickly and the teachers told me she did a wonderful job explaining the seasons in class during Show and Tell.

Do you have any tips on how to participate in the education of  a 3-5 year old?  Please share.

About the Author:

Dr. Vani Vijayaraj is the Founder and Director of Impressions Dental Clinic, Whitefield, Bangalore. She is an Endodontist and Cosmetic Surgeon by profession.

About Learnhive: 

Learnhive is a leading provider of technology based learning solutions for K12 students, parents, and tutors. Our goal is to make curriculum based learning more effective and fun. We specialize in providing after school learning solutions for students and parents. Our flagship product, Personal Concept Tutor™ gives students the flexibility to learn concepts at their own pace using a wide variety of materials and resources suited for their individual needs. Our technology is compatible with multiple device formats such as desktops, laptops, tablets and smart phones to make learning more fun, interactive and available to students anywhere and at anytime. Signup for free to access the learning materials (lessons and exercises).

3 ways to help your children learn better and 5 tips to make home work effective

By Captain Unni Krishnan, Founder, Learnhive

Reinforcing learning in our child is something all of us are very keen about.  By virtue of my few years as an educationist and as a parent of a growing boy, I experienced and noted a few interesting ways to help the process of learning including completing school homework which I found quite successful and thought would share.

Tips to help your child learn

1. Teach reading of maps

Photo credit: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/193524

Reading a map is a skill that is of great help and can be made very interesting. Along with your child, try and create a small map of the house and your immediate locality and mark the places the child visits every day. Create interesting signs to depict information and then make a legend of the same. You can mark as much information as possible on the map so that it is used during discussions at home. Now when you get a real map the child will find following the map much easy.

2. Discuss recent purchases

In the next step, take up discussions based on things that are bought and then relate them to their place of origin. For example if you buy a new mobile phone, discuss about the country where it was made, the capital of that country, the language spoken in that country, cities that you know of in that country and so on. These discussions are a wealth of information for the child and will remain with them.

3. Ask requests in writing

Writing is again something which all of us find the new generation to be reluctant about – to improve this, try to get them to write a request for what they want.  Instead of shouting/ punishing them, ask them to write an explanation about why they made the mistake. An apology letter is also a constructive punishment

Tips on making home work effective

  1. Have a regular schedule i.e. Fixed time and place for doing homework.
  2. No TV or radio during home work time.
  3. Try and be with your child during home work time and preferably read/ catch up with your work – it is a great motivation for the child.
  4. Try and get your child to teach you what was done as home work – ‘you learn better when you teach’.
  5. Prioritize difficult homework over easy ones, as the child wouldn’t be stressed while doing easy homework if it gets late.

Appreciation, Attention, Affection and Acceptance are key factors in developing a learning culture among children and parents play a key role in this.

Different children respond differently and even same child responds differently at different times, I am sure parents would have successfully tried a number of methods to help their children, please feel free to share your tips as it will help others as well.

About the Author:

Captain Unni Krishnan is a Founder and Director of LearnHive; he is also the Founder and Managing Trustee of Primus Public School, Bangalore. Prior to that he was the Founder and Trustee of Indus International School. At Primus, he has been instrumental in implementation of new teaching pedagogies. He has seamlessly integrated the International and Indian syllabi to help prepare students for higher studies both in India and Overseas. Capt. is a ‘Sword of Honor’ from the prestigious Officers Training Academy of the Indian Army.

About Learnhive: 

Learnhive is a leading provider of technology based learning solutions for K12 students, parents, and tutors. Our goal is to make curriculum based learning more effective and fun. We specialize in providing after school learning solutions for students and parents. Our flagship product, Personal Concept Tutor™ gives students the flexibility to learn concepts at their own pace using a wide variety of materials and resources suited for their individual needs. Our technology is compatible with multiple device formats such as desktops, laptops, tablets and smart phones to make learning more fun, interactive and available to students anywhere and at anytime. Signup for free to access the learning materials (lessons and exercises).

The secret to understanding fractions

By Arindam Nag, Founder, Learnhive

So your child can easily share half his cake or a third of his chocolate, but when confronted with adding 1/2 + 1/3, comes up with 2/5 ? Welcome to one of the most common mistakes that children (and perhaps even grown ups) tend to do while dealing with fractions.

Why are fractions so important?

World’s resources are limited and they have to be shared. We use fractions to do that. Fractions is the basis for mathematical concepts such as rational numbers, percentages, ratios, and proportions. Understanding of fractions and decimals is crucial for calculating simple and compound interest problems. Solving algebraic expressions requires knowldege of fractions. In Geometry, calculation of area and volume for any shape other than a square or rectangle requires knowledge of fractions. Fractions are an integral part of our day to day lives.

When do children learn about fractions?

In most curricula, the concept of fractions is introduced as early as Grade 2. It is repeated with increasing complexity every year until about Grade 7. The notation to represent fractions and categorization into different types of fractions is taught in Grade 4. Operations on fractions is done in Grades 5 and 6. Decimal notation of fractions is introduced around Grade 5.

What are the common mistakes with use of proper fractions?

The concept is usually introduced to children by showing them how to share a cake or pizza or chapati (Indian bread) which is pretty well comprehended by children. In this form, fraction is represented as part of a whole, a proper fraction.

Difficulty usually creeps in when the number notation is introduced. Is 1/3 more or less than 1/4? Children may divide something  like a sheet of paper into 3 parts and another one into 4 parts and count these parts and incorrectly say that 1/4 is greater than 1/3. What is important to explain is that they need to compare the resultant (as in size) and see which one is bigger or smaller.

When you compare natural numbers, you are comparing how many (count).

How many?

When you compare fractions, you compare how much (size or amount).

How much?

A similar complication arises while adding proper fractions. The most common mistake done by children is to add the numerators and the denominators separately treating them similar to natural numbers. Once the how many versus how much is well explained, they can then easily grasp why it is necessary to convert the various fractions being added to like fractions (denominator is same) . Multiplication throws up another interesting challenge. When you multiply natural numbers, the result is larger. Multiplying proper fractions gives you a smaller result.

How to explain improper and mixed fractions?

Improper (3/2) and mixed (1 1/2) fractions are explained best by giving another definition of fraction: as part of a collection. You have 3 slices of cake. How would you divide that amongst 2 siblings? Intuitively they know that can share one slice each and the third slice needs to be divided equally amongst them.

So, sound understanding of fractions is absolutely essential for children since not only does it form a pivotal basis for many of the other math topics, it is something they will use in their everyday lives.

What are other misconceptions have you seen children having with fractions?

About the Author:

Arindam Nag is a  Founder and Director at Learnhive; he has over 15 years experience in information technology. He worked for over 13 years at one of the world’s leading investment banks, Goldman Sachs in various engineering and technology leadership roles. He has a Masters in Computer Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin. He is a recipient of National Talent Search Scholarship. He is a staunch believer in using technology to bridge the gap in the educational divide that exists not just in India but the world over.

About Learnhive: 

Learnhive is a leading provider of technology based learning solutions for K12 students, parents, and tutors. Our goal is to make curriculum based learning more effective and fun. We specialize in providing after school learning solutions for students and parents. Our flagship product, Personal Concept Tutor™ gives students the flexibility to learn concepts at their own pace using a wide variety of materials and resources suited for their individual needs. Our technology is compatible with multiple device formats such as desktops, laptops, tablets and smart phones to make learning more fun, interactive and available to students anywhere and at anytime. Signup for free to access the learning materials (lessons and exercises).

 

How involved are you in your kid’s education?

By Tajinder Singh

Do you know which subjects your kid is taking at school? Do you know which of them your kid loves the most? Do you know the name of your kid’s best friend in school?

Photo Credit: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/495427

School going kids spend 60-70% of their waking hours, including the weekends and holidays, outside of their school. Time and again it has been seen, the more the parents gets involved with their kid’s education and school, the better their school results have been. The parent’s active involvement helps in emphasizing in the kid’s mind, that the home and school are inter-connected.

There are several ways you can get involved. As my wife and I go about parenting our 2 kids, who are in the 10th and 7th class, here are few tips (that we got from others) that are working for us.

Show consistent interest in what they are doing in school. We continue to learn a thing or two from our kids or sometimes have a good laugh, when they come home excited to tell what happened in school today. This conveys to them that you value what is happening in school.

Get passionate and learn up about any sport, activity, hobby that your kid is crazy about, and participate whole heartedly in it. Yes, it can be an online/video game too! The enthusiasm and camaraderie that you will build here will help you have better conversations around their learning and education.

Sometimes, have conversations with them on what they don’t like about their school education or what worries them. It will identify issues that you might be in a position to help and fix. However, be mindful that there will be some lame excuses here!

And of course, visit their school regularly, especially when they are participating in any school activity or sport. That goes a long way in boosting their confidence.

So how are you involved? Do share your thoughts, and we would love to learn from your tips.

About the Author:

Tajinder Singh Sidhu is a Founder and Director at Learnhive. He has over 20 years of experience in various leadership roles designing and managing complex technology solutions. Prior to Learnhive, he worked for over 14 years at Goldman Sachs in New York. He holds a BTech degree in Computer Science & Engg from IIT, Delhi, and a Master’s in Computer Science from College of William & Mary, Virginia. He has taught students as part of the NSS scheme in India, and currently is a volunteer teacher with the Literacy Volunteers of America.

About Learnhive: 

Learnhive is a leading provider of technology based learning solutions for K12 students, parents, and tutors. Our goal is to make curriculum based learning more effective and fun. We specialize in providing after school learning solutions for students and parents. Our flagship product, Personal Concept Tutor™ gives students the flexibility to learn concepts at their own pace using a wide variety of materials and resources suited for their individual needs. Our technology is compatible with multiple device formats such as desktops, laptops, tablets and smart phones to make learning more fun, interactive and available to students anywhere and at anytime. Signup for free to access the learning materials (lessons and exercises).

 

Is preparing for IIT entrance exams stressing you?

By Captain Unni Krishnan

preparing for exams

Photo credit: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1102366

The most debated topic these days is the entrance methodology to IIT. While this requires a lot of deliberation but there is a section of the society that is thinking about making the selection process stress free for students. If I have understood the situation in our country right, it is almost impossible to find an easy way to get into the IIT. We all know that India as a country has the largest population of youth and thus the number of children graduating from schools is increasing every year. Consequently, the number of aspirants who wish to join the prestigious IITs is dramatically increasing every year. When the competition is fierce how can selection become easier?

The current discussion is only to find ways and means to get the right quality of students from within the system into these prestigious institutions. The selection system being devised is trying to align the existing school assessment criteria to be a part of the screening process and revamp the selection process to ensure the best students get the opportunity to benefit from this cluster of high quality institution. The selection to an IIT will remain highly competitive, will need long hours of preparation and is going to be extremely stressful.

Probably one way ahead is to have more institutions that can match up to the standards of quality of education offered at IIT thus providing a larger spectrum of alternatives for the students.  Till then if you wish to get into an IIT you must work really hard and must be ready to handle the pressure/ stress. Remember there is no short cut to success!

How did you remain stress free when preparing for exams? Please feel free to share it here.

About the Author:
Captain Unni Krishnan is a Founder and Director of LearnHive; he is also the Founder and Managing Trustee of Primus Public School, Bangalore. Prior to that he was the Founder and Trustee of Indus International School. At Primus, he has been instrumental in implementation of new teaching pedagogies. He has seamlessly integrated the International and Indian syllabi to help prepare students for higher studies both in India and Overseas. Capt. is a ‘Sword of Honor’ from the prestigious Officers Training Academy of the Indian Army.

About Learnhive: 

Learnhive is a leading provider of technology based learning solutions for K12 students, parents, and tutors. Our goal is to make curriculum based learning more effective and fun. We specialize in providing after school learning solutions for students and parents. Our flagship product, Personal Concept Tutor™ gives students the flexibility to learn concepts at their own pace using a wide variety of materials and resources suited for their individual needs. Our technology is compatible with multiple device formats such as desktops, laptops, tablets and smart phones to make learning more fun, interactive and available to students anywhere and at anytime. Signup for free to access the learning materials (lessons and exercises).