Ideas for Enhancing the Learning Environment
© Beverley Paine
The following is an exerpt from Getting Started with Homeschooling Practical Considerations for Parents of School Age Children
In addition to changing the physical environment to enhance learning, there are several things you can do to adjust the attitudes prevalent in the home. Positive self talk is essential for success in any endeavor. Children pick this up much faster when parents exhibit this behaviour. Practice saying positive things around your children, about yourself, about them, about what is happening, about the environment. Learning to rephrase anything you say in a positive light can be hard, but ultimately very rewarding.
Mediation or guided visualization is also becoming more popular, or for some families prayer might fulfill the same role. Just sitting quietly and contemplating anything for a while gives the child time to totally relax. No one needs to be on the go all the time, although children are often expected to be continuously busy, and inactivity, or 'thinking time' is frowned. Change that perception and see that your children are only mediating, or reflecting upon and consolidating their recent learning - stop dismissing this time as simply 'day dreaming'. Value quiet, still times.
Many people are very sensitive to noise and have definite preferences when it comes to listening to music. Allow you children to pick their favourite music and play I often, but insist on a variety, introducing slow, regular rhythmic music as a general background pattern, especially during times of stress or when clam is required such as when studying.
The daily practice of a discipline such as yoga or gentle martial arts, music or dance is also calming and conducive to generally enhanced learning in all areas, provided unnecessary competition or stress is not introduced in to these activities.
For older children learning study techniques and skills to accelerate learning can be very helpful. These include brain gym exercises and Educational Kinesiology activities. There are many books available on these topics, or you find one of the many consultants now practicing in most large Australian cities. These consultants are familiar with accelerated learning techniques and regularly counsel gifted and talented students, as well as students with learning difficulties.
So far the focus has been on the immediate environment of the child a - the home. However, the context in which the learning occurs is of crucial importance. Contact includes the immediate learning environment, but more importantly takes into account culture; the society the family lives in, with its values, both current and historical. What and how we learn are derived from our culture, and our thoughts are tempered and framed by our cultural perspective. By keeping an open and questioning mind you model acceptance of diversity and challenge traditional cultural perceptions, which can often lead to exciting new learning opportunities for all the family.
see also Preparing the Learning Environment
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Beverley Paine with her children, and their home educated children, relaxing at home.
Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active support of national, state, regional and local home education groups.
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We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine
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