Yorkshire Crafts

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Yorkshire Crafts
Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Designer/maker of hand knitted, hand crafted, handmade items, avid collector and reluctant seller of vintage china, mum, home-educator and book lover. Blogging about our crafts and makes, our home education journey, and reviews of books we use.
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Vintage Watering Can

Vintage Watering Can

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Spring Flowers
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Saturday, 28 April 2012

A Eureka! moment

I read a great post the other day over on a fellow home-edder's blog, which tells us that if the child can't learn the way we teach, then we need to find a different way to teach the child.  Unfortunately, that doesn't happen at school.

I have a love/hate relationship with Fridays.  I love them because on Fridays we pick up Young Sir from school and he spends the weekend with us, much to the delight of little Junior who adores his big brother.  I hate them because with Friday comes homework, and the temper tantrums that come with it.

Personally I can't see the point of forced homework, and I certainly don't remember ever having any at his age (he's 7).  School insists the work is done, and so do most parents.  I can't help wondering how many parents insist on it just so they don't get into trouble, without giving any real thought as to whether the child is learning anything or not.  Just so long as the homework is done, that's all that seems to matter, apparently.

To my mind though all that this ends up achieving is a frustrated, bitter and resentful child who actually learns nothing from the experience but more frustration, bitterness and resentment.  He certainly doesn't retain or appreciate what the homework was supposed to be about, and certainly has no feelings of endearment towards schoolwork.  There's nothing fun about it whatsoever.

Homework also leads to extremely frustrated adults as we struggle to try and find ways to explain things to a child who has slammed up the "this is schoolwork" barriers and doesn't want to listen.  For us personally, this leaves us feeling we've failed Young Sir in some way.  Sadly, I know of parents who shrug their shoulders and say it's not their job, it's up to the teacher to teach the child.

Part of the problem is that I believe Young Sir is a visual learner, so no amount of worksheet written instruction sent by school is going to work for him.  He just doesn't "get" written instructions, and spoken ones are easy to shut out, but that's the way school does it so YS switches off.  Aaaaaaaaargh!

Last night's homework was, to most adults, what should be very simple fractions - halves and quarters.  Try as he might, Young Sir could not relate the written instructions to what he was seeing on the sheet of paper, and we ended up with the usual shut down.

This afternoon, Junior was doing his maths on the computer.  I use the word "doing" loosely as he doesn't really understand any methodology, he's not 3 yet , but he has worked out how to do most of the exercises and he gets great enjoyment from getting them right.

We use Starfall, which is an American site, but one which we find very useful.  We found it a few years ago and used it to encourage Young Sir to read, and the site has added so much more in the intervening years, including the maths, that we have bought a year's membership as Junior really enjoys it.

Young Sir was watching, and I could tell from his face that he was itching to have a go as well.  Junior treats the whole thing as a game, not realising he's actually learning the whole time.  Mr YC set YS up on his computer, and we left him having fun with maths for a while until I had that Eureka! moment.

I googled for 'fractions games' and found "Maths Games Online".  Bingo!  There were lots of different links listed, including one for designing your own flag using fractions.  Perfect.  Because Young Sir was already having fun, he was quite happy to move on to the new site and play with the flags.

He did look a bit bored, but he was actually enjoying himself and concentrating hard.  Within a very short space of time, halves and quarters were going swimmingly.  Eureka!  Young Sir appeared to have got it.  The test though, was to put the abandoned homework in front of him, which he was happy to have another go at.  Homework done in three minutes flat.

Now that's what I call a result!


Lisa White said...

Thanks for the mention :)

I love how you found a way to help your son with his homework. That's exactly what I meant on my post about finding another way! Reading about homework struggles it does make you wonder why, especially as young as 7 years old, they don't make learning things like fractions more fun. There are so many ways of teaching too! Well done you making it easier on your Young sir xxx

Yorkshire Crafts said...

Thanks Lisa. It's a struggle to fathom school's way sometimes, for all of us! xx

Annie said...

Great post! I'm so glad that you were able to find another way to help your son. So many parents feel stuck with the way school tells them to help their kids learn. It's so important, particularly when they're young, that we don't let them get bored with their learning. If we lose them now...