AFRICANGLOBE – Here are five easy steps that you can take to supercharge your, and your child’s, learning that will cost you absolutely nothing!
. . . Watch TV . . . Khanacademy.org . . . Look at What U Pay Attention 2 . . . Read Like Your Life Depends On It . . . Listen to Music
WATCH TELEVISION – Whenever small children are watching TV, activate the “closed caption” capability. If they are going to watch TV why not let them see in print on the bottom of the screen what each character is saying? Thus, they will learn to read, automatically, unconsciously. Anyone can learn a foreign language in similar fashion. Pick out one of your favorite DVDs. Activate both the closed caption capability and the foreign language option. Hear those familiar lines spoken in a different language with the English translation printed on the bottom screen. You will be surprised at how many words and phrases you will quickly learn.
KHANACDEMY.ORG – Salman Khan is a young MIT trained engineer who gave up a brilliant career to devote his life to producing 2,000 videos on every conceivable math topic from simple addition to advanced calculus. He takes you through every single step of the mathematical enterprise in a clear, relaxed, engaging manner. And all of it is free. Every teacher, student and parent should visit, and use, this wonderful site, and we all need to spread the word; visit Khan Academy here.
LOOK AT WHAT YOU PAY ATTENTION TO – Your child follows the example you set. If you do not spend time reading, or in thoughtful discussion, do not be surprised if your child follows suit. But that’s not to say you can’t enjoy yourself and foster learning too. For example, every child who loves sports knows the stats of their favorite players and teams. Discuss with them how batting averages, shooting percentages earned run averages, etc. are compiled. Join a fantasy league and together develop a strategy for picking players based on a mix of complementary stats.
READ LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT – Children who read extensively excel in school. They read well above their grade level, and so their textbooks are a breeze. Also, spelling and writing come easily thanks to their familiarity with the written word. Read to small children at night to put them to sleep, whenever you can. Watch TV with them with the closed caption button turned on, and hang out with them at the library and the bookstore.
LISTEN TO MUSIC – Yes, classical music is good for the child’s developing brain, but so is jazz or any musical composition with a complex structure. Listening to complex music stimulates various parts of the brain and encourages them to work in synch, thereby expanding your ability to understand not just music, but everything.
These are just some basic ideas briefly sketched out. If you would like more information, or have tips of your own, write and let us know so that we can pass them on.
By: Dr. Arthur Lewin
Dr. Lewin was born in Harlem, New York. His parents hail from Jamaica and Cuba. His research has included topics in Jamaican political history, charismatic leadership in African America, Africa and the Caribbean and the class structure in Black America. He is the author of the popular book Africa Is Not a Country: It’s a Continent