Raising smart kids is actually really easy. You just have to do one thing;
Take the Time.
You don’t need any fancy toys or gadgets, you just need yourself and your child and everything else is truly optional.
The First Step is to start early. Repetition is the father of learning. This is how we learn things, and it takes a great deal of repetition to learn a concept, especially more complex ones.
Never underestimate your, or your child’s, ability to learn.
Even the most complex ideas are fundamentally easy once you are familiar with them. Consider learning a new language. All the foreign sounds and characters, yet after a good deal of repetition, you find yourself flowing through the sounds and words. You are learning an entirely new concept! The same is true for math, science, and any other subject. It may appear difficult at first, but once it is broken down it is simple.
Given this knowledge, start early! Beginning concepts with a child at just a few months of age familiarizes him with them and removes intimidation. It also gives him a subconscious base for learning the subject.
For example, chemistry may appear complex, and the idea of teaching it to a young child outrageous, yet, what is the difficulty in learning chemistry when a child learns to master the alphabet full of 26 different characters, actually 52 with upper and lowercase, and each making a different sound- then building them up to make words!
Our brains are amazing. We can break down almost any conceivable idea and make it ‘workable’. Perhaps if our brains cannot handle an idea we may not be able to perceive it, for as far as I can see, every idea- even the most complex one- has the ability to be broken down into a simple concept.
Step Two- use multiple angles of attack. Regardless of the concept use multiple angles of attack. Watch a Youtube show on the subject, or a TV show, then, perhaps the next day, take out crayons and use your body to illustrate the concept (coloring page, or simply coloring over, or highlighting the topic), talk about it, go to the library with this topic in mind- regardless of the quality of information that may come from going there. Take other field trips related to the topic. Use objects to illustrate the idea (an alligator toy, this animal starts with the letter A), Print out pictures, sing songs, dance the ABCS, do a play, throw a football at the letter A, get crafty!
When using your eyes, ears, and body, to illustrate and learn an idea, it will be much much easier to learn. The full body gets to experience the idea. It sinks into the subconscious, and with persistence, it becomes information.
When teaching a child, or yourself even, a complex idea starting at a younger age than normally acceptable- Do not trouble yourself with imbuing the idea into concrete knowledge, it is as important as the concept itself to associate the new topic with positivity and fun. The subject itself will become simple henceforth.
That brings me to: Step Three- Fun! Believe me when I say the primary goal here is not to teach the entire concept, yet to make it fun. Once this occurs, the learning will happen naturally. If a concept becomes cumbersome, disliked or even hated, there will be no learning! There will only be resistance.
If this happens to you, take a break on the subject. Let it go for now! Reintroduce it at a later date, in a different manner.
The best way to prevent this dislike from occurring is to go with your child. If he can only endure 2 minutes of a lesson at this point, only teach 2 minutes! Doing more so is fruitless! And never underestimate a child’s mind, 2 minutes daily will teach your child so much more than you may realize!
I have personally used a new word, and defined it once to my son, and lo and behold, a few days later he used the word! How incredible is that!
Children’s brains absorb information at a tremendous rate. In fact, you can also learn information at a tremendous rate if you keep your brain muscle continuously exercised!
Step Four- Take the time. Everyday, everyday! It can only be a few minutes literally out your day, say fifteen minutes, and it will make a huge difference.
Step Five- Be Present. There is nothing worse than a distracted teacher. Be there when your there! Use 100% of your focus. Listen to your child, observe, interact, and be a child when you are there with him. Understand his thoughts and capabilities, and understand how to challenge him without frustrating him, and how to guide him in a positive, entertaining manner.
And obviously, if your going to actually teach your child something, please turn off the TV… You may be surprised at how distracting music and the television can be when trying to focus. I personally love music, but when trying to teach something, like the ABCs, I find that my son cannot concentrate fully while there is music playing or any other distraction. I also become a better teacher without distractions.
You will be so rewarded in love and happiness when you spend 1 on 1 time with your kids, with no distractions. It is actually de-stressing!
TIPS- Make sure your kids aren’t hungry while you are trying to teach. And remember that a lot of carbohydrate foods cause Brain Fog.
Places like Walmart have great one or two dollar items such as flashcards or workbooks; These are great to work with, they’re cheap, fun, and easily replaceable. You can let your child go HAM with them 🙂
Have Fun and Happy Learning!