1) Explain how the lesson applies to real-life situations. This will deepen the learning and improve retention.
2) Make sure the child understands the concept and focuses on how to solve the problem over memorization. Reinforce that knowing how to get the answer is more important than the answer itself.
3) Demonstrate how to “read between the lines” and evaluate the meaning of what is being said. Ask what else could this mean? Is the source or author biased in any way? Help point out what was not said or written. This builds inferential reasoning skills. Also point out that assumptions, although often necessary, can lead to poor conclusions so it’s always best to ask whenever possible.
4) Encourage your child’s natural curiosity by modeling your own. For example, during dinner share your own interests such as what you’ve learned recently. Talk about what’s happening in the world. Then engage them in the conversation. This will instill a love of learning.
5) Praise effort not smartness. Say “Great job. You must have worked really hard!” instead of “Great job. You must be really smart!” When we are told that we are “so smart,” or “a good student,” this kind of praise implies that traits like smartness and goodness are qualities you either have or you don’t. The net result: when learning something new is truly difficult, smart-praise kids take it as a sign that they aren’t “good” and “smart,” rather than as a sign to pay attention and try harder.
Read more about praise from Harvard Business Review.
About The Critical Thinking Co.
The Critical Thinking Co.’s products have helped millions of homeschool and public school students of all abilities achieve better grades and higher test scores with highly effective lessons that sharpen the mind. They do not teach through drill and memorization or teach to the tests—they empower the mind! Each activity requires students to analyze, synthesize, and apply what they learn. The more students think about what they are learning, the more students understand what they are learning. You can download thousands of free printables or play their free software demos to see their approach.
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