Make a 'Fridgesite'
I don't have much time. What's one simple thing I can do at home to help my
child focus on learning?
For most families, the refrigerator is "command central" for
all kinds of family activities, from schedules to spirit-lifting. It's the
perfect spot for a frequent reminder of scheduled tests, big homework
assignments that are coming due, and special school events and activities that
the whole family should know about.
It can also be a place to provide a daily dose of at-home
learning that will support your child's regular schoolwork, or add to it without
your child really being aware that he or she is learning.
Homework can seem like drudgery. You need to support your
child's teachers and schoolwork, but you have a lot more freedom and
flexibility to provide your own style of "homework" for your child to learn
from. Best of all, this kind of "homework" has no grades - no tests -- no
pressure - so it's pure learning enjoyment for you all.
Here's what you do: instead of a website on a computer,
create a "fridgesite" on your refrigerator. All it takes is some kind of a
frame, such as a piece of colorful construction paper or even a nice, mortised
mat, perhaps 8-inch by 10-inch. Your child might want to decorate this
background frame. You probably already have a set of kitchen magnets, or buy
new ones for this purpose.
Besides posting the "big days" such as tests and project due
dates for school so that everyone in the family is aware of it, "post" a new
piece of "news" or a conversation piece or an item of curiosity or a learning
tool on your "fridgesite" each day. Examples:
vocabulary word written on an index card complete with its definition and the
pronunciation copied out of the dictionary.
article or paragraph clipped out of a newspaper or magazine.
postcard from a friend.
quote from a famous person.
child's test paper, report card, book report or artwork.
It doesn't matter what you choose, because your family will
come to enjoy finding out what's new every day. The fridgesite may quickly turn
into a revolving responsibility for everyone to share.
Meanwhile, they'll be practicing their reading skills,
learning to analyze, building their memories and vocabularies, and having fun
learning - out of school - simply by your faithfulness in putting up something
new each day to capture their interest.
Each day, you might take yesterday's posting down and tape
it into a spiral notebook for future reference. Then replace it with something
new and fabulous for that day's "posting."
One thing about fridgesites: they make learning COOL!
Homework: One of the best vocabulary-builders
for middle-schoolers and older is A.Word.A.Day, a free daily email from www.wordsmith.org It would be a good
source of content for your "fridgesite."