Friday, August 1, 2008

Back to School

Kids everywhere -- or at least their parents -- are getting ready to go back to school.
Grandparents have a role to play in the education of their grandchildren. I just wrote about this for the SpringfieldMoms On-line Newsletter. You can read the article Grandma’s House: Help Your Grandkids Love Learning at Every Age here.
Here are some other tips for playing a role in your grandchild's education:
Model an attitude of excitement about learning – your enthusiasm is contagious.
* Let him know you're still interested in learning new things. Let him in on your learning projects and keep him up on your progress.
* If you collect something, share that collection with him. Explain why you find it fascinating in a way that will interest him.
* Express your own curiosity. Ask questions and show interest in the why and how of things, and seek answers.
Find a way to share what you're interested in with your grandchild in an age-appropriate way.
* Share what you're learning with him at a level he can understand and be interested in.
* Don't overwhelm him with facts and figures, or opportunities he's not ready for or interested in.
* Having fun is appropriate at every age. If you enjoy something, just share your pleasure in it. Your grandchild will catch on!
Create a relationship that encourages interest and allows exploration.
* Listen to her questions. Respond in a way that communicates that you take her seriously.
* Show her where to find answers, whether that's in books, reference materials, or online. Introduce her to people you know who have expertise in what she wants to learn about.
Affirm your grandchild's curiosity.
* Respect her interests, even if you don't share them. Don't laugh at her for having questions, or for not knowing something.
* Encourage her to learn more about the things she's most interested in.
* Ask her questions of your own. Often you can direct her curiosity by the questions you ask.
Express confidence in your grandchild's ability to learn.
* Take his efforts to learn seriously.
* Let him know you believe his interests are worthwhile. If you aren't sure that they are, express your doubt respectfully, and offer an alternative.
* Help him locate the tools he needs to learn, whether it's a good dictionary or some kind of tool he needs to carry out his projects.
If you love learning, if you have things to share with your grandchildren -- make the time, take the opportunities to encourage them to love learning, too.

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