I am traveling /speaking in Asia this week - Tokyo, Jakarta and Singapore. My friends here reminded me yesterday that this is the home of the "Tiger Mom." Parents here are very concerned with school success. Although I do not believe that pressuring children to do well in school guarantees success as an adult, the parents here are models for instilling a respect for education and a strong academic work ethic. Taking school seriously does not have to mean drudgery and drill. Your child's brain is a learning machine so as a parent it can be relatively easy to build a 'love of learning' atmosphere in the home that will carry over in school. Below are suggestions I shared with parents in Singapore and Jakarta this week.
Hang learning reminders in visible areas around the home. Last week I suggested having a calendar where you and your child can post important assignment due dates to help keep them in mind. Below are two other ways to keep school topics like vocabulary and grammar visible reminders that 'learning' goes on everywhere, all the time.
· Hang a “New-Word Board - All school ages
– List each family member down the left side in permanent marker
– Each day, before dinner, using erasable marker, each family member can write their favorite new word of the day next to their name
– At dinner – each family member can take turns talking about their new word - where they saw or heard it, what it means, why they thought it was an interesting word
· Grammar Detective Stars – Grades 5-12
– Grammar is one of those areas that seems important in school but not necessarily at home or on the playground – so to enable your student to understand why grammar counts try adding stars to names on the New-Word Board for catching grammatical errors on TV, in movies or videos, or really anywhere
– Whoever catches the most mistakes during a week gets a star next to their name on the “New-Word Board” for the week
– At dinner – a parent can make a grammatical error and see which grammar detective discovers it
– Examples younger children - “Dad took I to school yesterday; there is the toys; The cat and the mouse is playing; ”
– Examples for older children – “She saw the boy he was running; I like to reading each day”
– When you watch a T.V. program as a family (reality TV is often a good place to catch mistakes), make a game out of trying to catch grammatical errors– note who catches it first
- Mom and Dad test your own grammar sleuth capacities to see if you can catch grammatical or vocabulary errors in politicians' campaign sound bites
Tip 39 - School subjects are not just about school – learning goes on all around us all the time. So keep learning alive at home and Put A Tiger in Your Think Tank