Giving Kids the Tools to Succeed

When children start learning, there is so much that they are going to need help with. As they grow and learn, they will slowly become more independent and be able to do things either by themselves or with less parental assistance then before. There will also come an age when the children will be able to help each other more.

Today as I was working with my first grader he asked me how to spell purple. Obviously this would be a super easy thing to just give him the answer. P-U-R-P-L-E. However, I much prefer to teach them that when they want to know something, they have ways to learn what they want to, without asking for a parent, as we are not always available. With five children, there are times when one will need to wait to have a question answered, but if they have the tools, they can answer it for himself.

So instead of spelling the word out, I asked him what he could think of that might have the word purple on it. He eventually came up with markers as an answer, and when he did, his excitement was palpable. He jumped off the couch and ran for our zipper pouch of markers, easily finding the one he needed. Several minutes later, I again saw him digging through the zipper pouch, so I asked him what he was doing. His response was black, and I saw him get the black marker and start writing that for a different problem in his workbook.

He had added another tool to his belt, making him a little more independent.

Though this is fairly simple, knowing where to find the spellings of colors or other common words, the main concept is much bigger. If students know where they can find the answer they are looking for, they often can and will. Another resource we use is the children also have an encyclopedia on their computer that allows them to look up information for themselves without accessing the Internet.

I am sure in your home you will have your own distinct resources for your children, but the key here is to give them the resources they need to learn when they are in that mode.

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