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Keeping pace with your child

By Charles Hopkins Published 06/2/2006 | Education

The child is initiated into schooling with the kindergarten classes. These are exploratory years where the child learns to identify colors and shapes, create patterns, learns to recognize letters and numbers and a few rhymes. The child learns faster if the parents take interest in the child's learning. This interest should be limited to encouraging the child to share his learning. The child should never be pushed to learn more.

Grade one signifies a heavier academic load and this keeps increasing as the child graduates from one class to another. The child learns writing and reading skills and is able to focus on a single activity for a longer period of time. Back at home, the child should be allowed to play outdoors. Getting free time will energize the child.

Comprehension skills and fluency in language will be mastered by the time the child finishes the second grade. Several new subjects like mathematics and maps will be included in the curriculum. It is likely that the child may show special interest in one or two subjects. If so, you should encourage the child to give more time to those subjects.

The child's learning should be continued at home by creating playful situations that supplement his knowledge.  For instance, the child may be given measuring cups and asked to work out materials for a recipe. They may even be asked to measure their room, and then calculate the area. The informal learning is very helpful in reinforcing concepts.

The writing skills, use of grammar, punctuation and spelling are honed as the child moves into higher classes Tests and assignments become common. The load and homework also increases. Classroom exercises include multiplication and division, storytelling and story comprehension, taking notes and visiting the school library. At this stage, you need to teach the child the use of the dictionary and atlas. Pronunciation and spelling practice is also very helpful.

The pivotal year for your child is Class Four. As the syllabi increases, the responsibility of finishing home work on time becomes a priority. The course now includes current affairs and history too. It is essential that you support the child and help him with school work. The child may also be given a separate room or a quiet corner where he can focus on his work.

The middle school is an even bigger challenge. The child starts taking part in various extra curricular activities and may take special interest in certain subjects. Encourage him to work on his favorite subject but ensure that he does not neglect other subjects. The academics tend to be harder than earlier years and neglecting any subject can affect the overall grade. At home help the child in the weak areas.

The pattern of teaching too changes in the middle school. Instead of one teacher taking care of the entire curriculum, different teachers handle different subjects. The subjects start getting more elaborate and the assignments become research-oriented. At this stage, you must give the child an opportunity to explore and help him to pursue specific interests.