Teachable Moments

I just wanted to remind myself (and perhaps you too) that some of the best learning that takes place is away from the formal lessons. I can get caught up in teaching and making sure my lessons are “just right” and be disappointed when things just don’t seem to be clicking. Then a funny thing happens, something else happens that reinforces what I have just been trying to teach. The lights go off and my students say, “I just found out about ______!”

Funny, that’s what I have been teaching this whole time! Most of the time our children are going to get the lesson from other sources that our class time and that’s okay! The more exposure, opportunities to hear, and ways to interact with a new concept, the more we understand. Here is what I have learned helps me to teach and also learn.

Take your time– New concepts may take days, months, maybe even longer for your child to understand. Knowledge is built one idea at a time. Think about when you learned to drive. You just didn’t take off and get on the highway. The first time my oldest drove he was going about 10 miles an hour and said, “Boy! This is fast!”  It took a bit of time for him to feel comfortable to drive on the interstate. 🙂 No, this isn’t our car, but I DO love sports cars, especially red ones!

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Small steps Taking learning in small, bite-sized pieces is better than throwing the whole lesson with new ideas at your son/daughter and expecting the material to be understood right away. You can’t eat a plate of spaghetti in one gulp, neither can your student learn to multiply 2×8 if they don’t know that it is really 2 sets of 8 items is the same thing.

Partner Learning thrives when we partner with our child.  We do it, we do it, you do it, is what my boss says when I am tutoring a student. In order to build understanding and confidence, a LOT of partnering needs to take place. There are still going to be mistakes made as your daughter learns something new. Reminding her of where she began and what she can do now helps her to continue on.  I helped my mom make brownies a dozen times before I got to make them myself. I was never so disappointed when I read the recipe incorrectly and added an extra cup of water to the mix! I think I needed just one more time with my mom before I did it myself… maybe not! lol

Step away It’s okay to put that lesson away and come back to it another time.  Just because your curriculum says the next lesson is about adjectives, don’t teach it if your son is still not understanding nouns. Add some hands-on activities before introducing adjectives.  (find nouns in the store ads, identify objects in the kitchen, build a model, make a list of favorite characters, games, foods,etc.)

Review It is important to review the concept/ idea you have been studying before moving on. If things are still unclear, don’t move forward until you feel they can be given more information without being overwhelmed.

Have a great week! ~Lisa~

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