Today's Tip for Families

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Teach Your Child to Be an Independent Learner

It usually starts with a simple question. Your child asks: "How do you spell Illinois?" And before you realize it, you've spent the next 20 minutes answering all the questions in your student's assignment.

Whether it's geography or the times tables, schoolwork often involves finding and learning facts. And learning the process for finding the information is as important for students as learning the facts.

So help your child learn to how find the necessary information without asking you. First, make a rule that your student has to try to answer all the assignment questions alone before asking for help. Have your child start with the easy questions, and skip over any that present problems. Next, your child should go back and think again about the challenging questions.

Then, and only then, can your child ask you for help. When that happens, keep your goal in mind. You don't just want your child to get the right answer. You want your student to learn how to get the right answer independently.

Suppose your child asks you to spell Illinois. Instead of rattling off the spelling, you might say, "Where could you find that?" Then get out the dictionary or a map and have your child find it. This way, your child learns about the silent s at the end of the word, and also learns how to use a dictionary and a map.

Guiding children with questions, rather than providing answers, helps them learn facts now and prepares them to learn other facts in the future.

Brought to you by:

West Point Consolidated School District

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