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How Can You Help Your Kids Become Smarter?

How Can You Help Your Kids Become Smarter?

According to a study from Genetics Home Reference, only 50% of a child’s intelligence is passed down from the parents, while the remaining 50% can be attributed to a child’s environment, availability of learning resources, nutrition, parenting, and education.

A study by psychologist Robert Sternberg concluded that kids’ skills and knowledge are usually the result of one’s family. However, it is not just genetic relation, but rather, an educational one. He further explained that children inherit practical intelligence from their parents which is the knowledge that comes from the way your parents communicate with their kids.

Most parents are probably wondering that if IQ is not just purely genetics, how do you help your kid’s IQ development? The process could actually start while the child is in the mother’s womb.

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1. Prolong the period of breastfeeding.

As a parent, there are several ways you can interact with your child that will help with his/her brain development starting as early as the day the child is being conceived. There were also several studies linking breastfeeding with brain development. A recent study shows that a longer duration of breastfeeding is linked to smarter adults and higher chances of earning more during adulthood.

Dr Bernardo Lessa Horta, the lead author of the said study explained that, “The effects of breastfeeding on brain development and child intelligence is well established. Our study provides the first evidence that prolonged breastfeeding not only increases intelligence until at least the age of 30 years, but also has an impact both at an individual and societal level by improving educational attainment and earning ability”.

2. Encourage children to play with blocks and video games.

In a study at University of Washington in Seattle, they discovered that playing with blocks encourages and actually improves language abilities in toddlers in a duration of over a 6 months. Also, by enrolling your child to any of the creative arts activities such as painting, playing an instrument, or singing, based on the child’s early interests, it helps nurture his/her ability in that area.

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While it’s understandable that most parents may be worried that kids may fall into addictive activities such as excessive use of the computer or the Internet, a study at Queen Mary University of London and University College School shows that certain types of video games can actually help improve the child’s strategic thinking and help train the brain to become more alert.

3. Learn through video conferencing.

During the early stages of the child, it is important to expose them to activities that will eventually help develop their cognitive skills, such as video conferencing. Elisabeth McClure, researcher from Georgetown University explained that, “Babies who are pretty young are able to pick up, in particular, whether or not an adult is actually responding to them in real time.

Video conferencing can be used in various ways to help engage a child, while making sure that you are also giving them an opportunity to learn. Playing guessing games, or reading stories on video calls, or play drawing games are some activities you can encourage. In a blog post at Bloomwell called Give Your Kid the Upper Hand With These IQ Boosting Tips, they’ve compiled studies that shows that even certain video games such as StarCraft could help the kids develop quick tactical and strategic thinking.

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4. Imbibe positivity.

A positive mental frame can dramatically enhance intellectual performance. Teach your child to practice positive responses and positivity. Make sure that your child doesn’t become hopeless or negative under any circumstances.

5. Encourage the practice of meditation for better mental health.

Another efficient and effective method for stimulating a child’s mental faculties and performance is controlled breathing. Research shows that schoolchildren can increase their grades if they do breathing exercises prior to tests or assignments.

6. Indulge in mentally stimulating board games.

Mental games such as chess, checkers, crossword puzzles, scrabble, and mathematical puzzles go a long way to stimulate the mind. They enhance a child’s verbal skills, concentration, perception, and reasoning.

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7. Allow them go outdoors.

Physical activity, including playing sports, boosts blood flow to all parts of the body, including the brain. When the brain is supplied with freshly oxygenated blood, concentration, thinking speed, and complex reasoning are all enhanced. These activities promote clear thinking, stimulate the brain’s learning capabilities, increase energy and concentration.

8. Encourage reading.

Reading to your child when he is young and encouraging him to read later is a great way to expose your child to the wonderful world of storytelling and knowledge. Reading is particularly important if you want to boost the IQ of your children.

Certain brain foods such as citrus fruits, eggs, fish, lean meats are said to improve memory, prevents mental fatigue, and contribute to overall mental health of the child.

The human brain is not static. Several studies show that while some of your child’s mental abilities may be influenced by genetics, the ability to learn and improve can be trained.

Featured photo credit: hugrakk via flic.kr

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Published on November 7, 2018

How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

How to Homeschool in the 21st Century (For All Types of Parents & Kids)

In 2016, it was estimated that 1.7 million children were being homeschooled in the U.S, roughly 3.3% of all school-aged children.[1] Although this may not sound like a big portion of the population, the growth rate of homeschooling has been 7 to15% per year for the last two decades.

The burgeoning numbers are not a coincidence. There are tremendous benefits to homeschooling, including one-on-one teaching, adaptability to individual needs and learning styles, a safe learning environment, encouraging learning for knowledge rather than grades, and tailoring a curriculum to the child’s interests.

Is homeschooling something that you have been considering for your family? With all of the tools and resources available for homeschoolers in the 21st century, it may be easier than you think.

How to Homeschool (Getting Started)

After thinking it through, you’ve decided that homeschooling is the right step for you and your family. Now what? Here are the first things you should do to get your homeschooling journey started on the right track.

Figure Out the Laws

Homeschooling is regulated by the state, not the federal government. The first step is to find the current and accurate legal requirements mandated by your state in order to educate your child legally.[2]

The regulations can vary widely, from strict guidelines to no guidelines at all. However, don’t be overwhelmed by the legal jargon. There are many resources and local communities for homeschooling families that can help you figure out the logistics.

Decide on an Approach

Every child’s needs are different. This is your chance to choose the homeschooling style or combination of styles that best fits your child’s learning style and interests. A brief description of seven different homeschooling methods are listed below.

Supplies/Resources

Often times, purchasing a homeschooling curriculum is done too early in the planning process, resulting in buyer’s remorse.

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A curriculum is not always needed for homeschooling, and other types of free or less structured resources are readily available.

Find a Community

Getting connected with a community of homeschoolers is one of the most important parts of building a successful and thriving homeschool environment for your kids.

Look for communities online for virtual support or a local group that you and your kids can interact with. Partnering with others fosters better socialization skills for the students and provides opportunities for field trips, classes, and outings that wouldn’t have otherwise been a part of the homeschooling experience.

7 Different Homeschooling Methods

1. School-At-Home

Also known as Traditional homeschool, School-At-Home uses essentially the same curriculum as the local private or public school but at home.

The lessons can be completed independently, but more commonly, they are administered by a parent or a teacher-facilitated online school.

  • Benefits: formal standards, wide selection of curricula, same pace as peers, short-term friendly
  • Drawbacks: expensive, inflexible, time consuming, parent can get easily burnt out
  • Resources: K12, Time4Learning, Abeka

2. Classical

One of the most popular homeschooling methods used, it borrows educational practices from Ancient Greece and Rome. Subject areas are studied chronologically so that students can understand the consequence of ideas over time.

Socratic dialogue fosters effective discussions and debate to achieve beyond mere comprehension. There is often a strong emphasis on Great Books[3] as well as Greek and Latin.

3. Unit Studies

Rather than breaking up education into subjects, unit studies approach each topic as a whole, studying it from the perspective of each subject area.

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For example, a unit study about animals could include reading books about animals, learning about the classification of animals, figuring out which animals live on which continents, etc. This method is often used as a technique in other more comprehensive educational methodologies.

  • Benefits: promotes thinking about concepts as a whole, not monotonous or redundant, student-directed, bolsters weaker subject areas, beneficial for teaching multi-age students
  • Drawbacks: incomplete, knowledge gaps, curriculum-dependent
  • Resources: Unit Study, Unit Studies, Unit Studies Made Easy, Konos

4. Charlotte Mason

This Christian homeschooling style utilizes shorts periods of study (15-20 minute max for elementary, 45 minute max for high school), along with nature walks and history portfolios.

Students are encouraged to practice observation, memorization, and narration often. With a focus on “living books” (stories with heroes, life lessons, socio-ethical implications), reading plays a big role in this student-paced teaching style.

5. Montessori

Maria Montessori developed this method through working with special needs children in the early 20th century.

With a primary focus on the student setting the pace and indirect instruction from the teacher, this approach includes free movement, large unstructured time blocks (up to 3 hours), multi-grade classes, and individualized learning plans based on interests.

6. Unschooling

Unschooling is a learning model largely based on the work of John Holt.[4] The teaching style focuses mainly on the students’ interests, putting priority on experiential, activity-based, and learn as you go approaches.

For basic skills such as reading, writing, and math, a systematic technique is employed, but testing and evaluations are typically not utilized. Teachers, in general, play more of a facilitator role.

7. Eclectic/Relaxed

As the most popular method of homeschool, eclectic homeschooling is child-directed, resourceful, and non-curriculum based.

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Parents can sample any combination of homeschooling methods and styles or resources. One growing sector of eclectic homeschooling combines part homeschooling with part traditional schooling.

How to Facilitate Homeschooling with Technology

One of the reasons homeschooling is more feasible than ever before is due to the accessibility of tools and resources to enhance the learning process.

Email

Email is a tool that has really stood the test of time. Invented in 1972, it is still used today as a primary means of communicating on the Internet.

It is a great way to share assignments, links, and videos between parent and student.

Google Drive/Calendar

Google Drive offers a multitude of essential programs that can come in handy for homeschoolers, such as Docs, Sheets, Slides, and more.

With its sharing capabilities, easy accessibility, and auto-save ability, it’s easier than ever to organize and complete assignments. It will improve students’ writing and typing skills, as well as eliminate the need for paper.

Google Calendar is an excellent tool for tracking assignment due dates, planning field trips and activities, and developing time management skills.

Ebooks

Rather than invest in physical copies of books, ebooks are a wonderful option for saving money and space. There are plenty of places that offer a free or paid subscription to a wide selection of ebooks:

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E-Courses

When a structured curriculum is necessary for teaching a certain topic, an e-course is the way to go.

From watercolors to calculus, there are e-courses available about almost everything. Including different teaching styles that vary from the parents will encourage students to learn in different ways.

The visual and auditory stimulation will also be beneficial in helping students understand and retain the concepts being taught.

Some recommendations:

Youtube

Youtube is not just a platform for music videos and cats doing funny things. There are a number of Youtube channels that produce quality educational videos, free of charge.

Creating a playlist of videos for various topics is a great way to supplement a homeschool education.

Some recommendations:

Final Thoughts

Homeschooling in the current age looks much different than it did ten years ago. There are more options and more flexibility when it comes to educating kids at home.

Don’t be overwhelmed by the idea of homeschooling your children if it could make a positive impact on your family.

Featured photo credit: Hal Gatewood via unsplash.com

Reference

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