Learning at Home Projects
‘Homework’ is always a fascinating point of debate in primary schools.
The way the New Zealand system is set up relies on quality learning happening both at school and at home. The types of learning that occur in these places need to be different but complimentary, making the most of the unique contexts and the specialised skills and knowledge that each context provides.
I often think that if parents facilitate the very dull and the very interesting at home, and we do everything in the middle at school, the children will be in the perfect position for effective learning.
By the very dull, I mean things like learning basic maths facts and practising spelling words. There are lots of ways to make these fun and interesting at home, but essentially practise is the most effective way to commit a spelling word to memory. Rote learning activities can be done just as effectively by you at home as we can do them at school. Spending this time at home to learn these basics though allows more time at school for the teachers and children to focus on the more complex application of this knowledge, which is where the deep learning takes place. Your role in helping your children to practice basic sight words, spelling words, number identification and basic facts is vital to their learning. We will be focussing on ways that you can do this throughout the term.
By the very interesting, I mean the wonderful learning experiences that you can do with your child every day that we simply can’t do within the school context. Taking your children on a bush walk, cooking a cake or going to the museum with them, are all highly valuable learning experiences. In these contexts children are able to develop curiosity and wonder, and they can inquire into the things that interest them. These skills and attitudes are important for developing life-long learners.
Our Learning at Home projects have been designed to allow for this type of learning to happen. In these projects you, as the adult, are the facilitators of learning. When your child chooses their project sit down with them and develop an action plan that will allow them to complete the project to a high standard. Once you have developed the plan, have a discussion with them about what they will need to learn at each stage of the project in order to achieve success. A project like developing a vegetable garden at home will require a lot of learning about soil composition, vitamins and minerals, weather patterns, life cycles, decomposition, insects in soil, insects that eat plants, conditions needed for different plants to grow etc etc. The process of learning for a specific reason is a powerful one. In your context at home you have the ability to really hone in on the interests of your child and encourage them in their individual gifts and talents.
To enhance the depth and quality of your child’s learning, they need to be learning both at home and at school. We need to work together to see success.
Come along to our Informative Morning tea tomorrow (Tuesday) for some specific help on how to facilitate your child’s learning with the project they have chosen.