Thinking Outside the Classroom: Tips for supporting real-world applications at home

By: John C. Farrell

Promoting a learning environment away from school is often just as important as what your child is learning in class. Incorporating real-world applications at home can reinforce the lessons your child is learning at school, and oftentimes can help him remember a skill better than if he were sitting in a traditional classroom. Below are eight pointers to ensure your child’s learning experience is positive and beneficial. 

Relate Lessons to Everyday Life

If you take a moment to look around, you’ll quickly realize many real-world opportunities occur during the day to which you can apply important and timely lessons. Whether you’re following a recipe in the kitchen, setting your budget, or filling out an application for a new credit card, you don’t have to look far for ways to incorporate your child’s classroom learning into what’s going on at home. Carson-Dellosa’s Real World Mats are ideal for parents who want to provide children with different types of authentic learning experiences that encourage them to apply skills they’ve learned to real-world scenarios.

Practice Accountability & Foster Positivity

Instilling a sense of accountability in your child and allowing him to make his own mistakes is an important step in helping him develop critical thinking skills. Oftentimes children learn more from making mistakes than from getting something right the first time. Additionally, the process a child takes to correct a mistake will likely stick with him longer. You will want to observe the process or steps your child takes to reach a specific outcome and help him understand what went wrong and how to adjust the approach accordingly.

Everyone makes mistakes, and everyone learns at a different pace. Hold back on criticism and allow your child to make his own mistakes. Oftentimes, it’s in the mistake that real learning takes place. Use that opportunity to apply it to real-world situations and scenarios.

Follow the Curriculum

Reinforcing the lessons your child learns in school with complementary activities at home is a great way for you to help your child better understand the principles of the classroom. If your child’s class is studying how to compare and order numbers in math and he needs more practice, it makes sense that you give him an activity on this specific topic that incorporates real-world applications to aid in better skill retention. Don’t fret; you don’t have to come up with your own activities. Carson-Dellosa has you covered with the successful line of Interactive Notebooks for math, science, and language arts.

Encourage Creativity and Fun

Some students learn better when they’re allowed to express their own creativity and have fun with a given assignment. By adapting teachable moments to include real-world applications, your child can easily tap into his creative side. If you let your child take an active role in selecting at-home activities, he is more likely to select what appeals to him and allows him to express himself creatively. If you’re using a workbook or worksheet that already provides guidelines and steps, encourage your child to come up with his own variations to inject the project with his own creativity. 

Include Interactive and Hands-On Activities

To maintain interest and involvement with at-home learning, it is important to stimulate your child’s mind with interactive and hands-on activities. While incorporating interactive activities that correlate to real-world applications, your child may better retain the skill or concept you’re reviewing than he would in a traditional classroom setting. For ideas on various interactive activities in science and math, check out Carson-Dellosa’s line of STEM Labs and STEM Workbooks.

Make It Personal

It’s important to foster an environment conducive to your child’s learning style. What works for one child, does not always work for another. It’s important to find activities that appeal to each child’s individual learning style. Because of various learning styles, you may have to adapt what you teach to maximize each child’s learning potential. Adaptability is key. If you want to reinforce a specific lesson your child is learning in class, you will find more success with an activity that plays to his interests.

Teach Patience and Perseverance Through Practice

Patience and perseverance can come in handy when your child is struggling to understand a new concept or skill. Although a new concept or skill may be difficult for your child to master at first, helping him remain patient and not give up is integral to the learning process. Carson-Dellosa’s Math Connections Workbooks are a wonderful tool to help students practice skills that align with current state standards and national standards.

No matter what you do, the most important thing is to create a fun and memorable learning experience for your child. Learning doesn’t have to be structured or rigid; learning opportunities are available at every turn.