It can be immensely rewarding and useful to encourage curiosity in your child outside of traditional scholastic structures, particularly if they aren’t naturally drawn to the structured kind of learning offered there. Schools can’t always cater to every child’s particular interests and needs – a Cardiff and Vale tutor can provide the flexibility and knowledge to take your child’s education off the trodden path. In part 1 of this Blog we’ll take a look at what Humanities related activities can be recommended for extra-curricular development, and in the later part 2 we’ll look at Maths and Scientific subject areas.
Reading, reading, reading
It is hard to overstate the positive impact that regular reading has on a child or young adult. It doesn’t even matter enormously what they read. Almost all literature, from the most dry and serious history books to whacky fantastical fiction, is written by adults who are immersed in a world and skilled at expressing it to a reader. Reading regularly puts a child in contact with new information and ideas, as well as exposing them to the multitude of ways ideas can be expressed. It’s as much about knowledge as it is about ways of thinking. If your child is a reluctant reader, Cardiff & Vale Tutors heartily recommend visiting your local bookshop or library for something that might engage them. It may mean dedicating some time to reading with your child or hiring a Cardiff & Vale Literacy tutor to help. Setting up rewards when they’ve hit reading targets is also a good method. Absolutely nothing compares to the educational hunger that being an eager reader affords.
O brave new world, that has such people in it!
Around GCSE level, children often start to develop a political and historical consciousness. They might become interested in government and curious about the news, even ‘fake news’. If you see these signs, be ready to engage in mature debate! Children often have surprisingly fresh and agile minds, because they haven’t yet decided what they think about the world. Don’t offer conclusions; ask questions. One great way of encouraging an interest in history, culture and politics is through feature documentaries. With modern entertainment services like Netflix, there’s been a huge boom in high-quality documentaries, particularly on these subject areas. And if you’re curious too, watch with them and discuss afterwards. Documentaries tend to be films about trying to learn or understand: watching them is a great way to encourage the same tendencies in a child.
Getting their hands dirty
Drawing, painting, pottery, textiles, cooking, woodwork, gardening… sometimes we think of practical subjects as an alternative to academic study. There’s an element of truth in this – certainly if your child struggles with traditional academic tasks, practical tasks can help build skills and confidence. But generally, we shouldn’t make this distinction. The skills we need to draw well, or make a good cake, or sew neatly, are applicable to most areas of life, including studying. Yes they foster creativity, but they also demand sustained attention to detail, to instruction, to method and technique. These skills are timeless and universal. There’s a good quote about Leonardo da Vinci that sums it up: “Leonardo drew so well because he knew about things; in fact he knew about things because he drew so well.” Our Cardiff & Vale Tutors will encourage students’ practical engagement; it’s fun and extremely productive.