Nothing like a good blast in the fresh air to clear the dross!
I can sit in comfort at the laptop writing nothing. Give up and go out with the dog to do battle with the wind and the thunderstorms and ideas start leaping up at me so fast I’m forced to stop, huddle by a bush and write while paper rattles. The physicality of it works out the blockage every time.
It’s exactly the same for kids – although we tend to forget that. We tend to think that they have to be sat down, sat still, sitting inside paying attention, in order for them to learn best.
That’s not the case.
They learn best when they are stimulated. They learn best when their learning has practical or physical elements to it – that’s what stimulates them. They often learn best if they’re moving. They learn best when they’re engaged and enjoying themselves.
You can’t possibly ensure they are enjoying themselves all the time. This wouldn’t be realistic. You can’t always make their learning practical or physical. But you can do so much more than you first think.
You can take them outside at any time whatever the weather, whatever they’re doing. They can read, draw, count, write, study, in a park, playground, urban bench, beach, town centre, anywhere.
And you can make their learning much more practical than you perhaps realise even when you’re confined to the house.
Maths doesn’t have to be always academic – make it relevant, use real stuff, solve real problems, leave the workbook and make the maths real. English isn’t about boring grammatical exercises and spelling – it’s about language and communication and literature. Get communicating with real people. The more children communicate the more their vocabulary develops. Get into the habit of reading out and about – always carry a book (in whatever format!) for boring waiting times. With science it is the most practical subject of all; science is about understanding the world. Get out in the world and use it, observe it, discuss it. Whatever topic you’re studying make it real and physical. How often does anyone study a manual in order to understand how to use their new mobile phone or Ipad? Not very… it can be the same with so many things that we want children to understand too.
Schools have narrowed down learning almost to stagnation point. And conditioned us to practice educational activities in that stilted sedentary way. But leaping around singing times tables, for example, will reinforce the learning of them far more than sitting still! Naming the parts of a plant will mean far more if you’re outdoors dissecting one.
See how much physicality you can get into your parenting and your home schooling days. Children’s little brains will be all the more stimulated for it. And a stimulated brain is a brain that’s getting educated.